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50 years of Hays: “A culture of flexibility, passion, continual improvement, and collaboration are at the core of the Hays success story”

Posted by Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President , on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2018

Hays 50th Anniversary interview with Bernie BillingsHow did you start with Hays and how has your career progressed?
It was quite by accident that I came to work at Hays. When my previous job ended due to acquisition, I contacted a friend who was one of the original members of the Hays back office team, and asked him to review my CV before I started my job search…I was offered a position with Hays the same day. Starting in the Payroll & Billing Dept., I was promoted from Supervisor to Operations Manager where I spent several years, responsible for the Payroll & Billing, Contract Admin, and Credit & Collections departments. During my time in Operations, we implemented numerous new processes, automations, integrations, and systems, which enabled us to handle increased volumes and complexity in service delivery to better meet the changing demands of the business. Being involved in optimization projects become a main focus and eventually evolved into a full-time opportunity, so in March of 2017 I moved into the role of Solutions Manager for Canada. I now dedicate 100% of my time to projects relating to the overall health and efficiency of our back office processes and systems.

How has the company changed since you started?
So much has changed over the past 10 years, but the growth of the business, the complexity of our services, and ever-changing technology, have definitely been the areas where I’ve seen the most dramatic changes. When I started in 2008, our temp workers were submitting their hours on manual timesheets, we had a back office team of approximately 15 people, several of our processes were still quite manual, and it was a pretty straight-forward temp and perm business. Today we have close to 8 times the number of temp/contract workers who now use various VMS tools for timekeeping, our head count in the Delivery Centre is currently 30, and we have a full blown Talent Solutions business. Pretty impressive growth! Our back office processes and systems have developed and matured along with the business, and I’m proud to have played a part in those developments. Throughout the journey, continual training and additional resources have always been made available, and any opportunity for my own professional development has been encouraged and supported 100%.

What makes Hays a great place for you to build your long-term career?
Career progression, hands down. When I first joined Hays it quickly became clear to me that this was a young company on the cusp of bigger and better things, and along with that came new challenges and opportunities not just for the business, but also for my own professional development. Neither the Operations Manager role or my current position of Solutions Manager previously existed, but as the company grew and evolved so did the need to establish and fill those positions. That translated directly into opportunities to develop my skills and progress my career. I’m now working in a position which I had never envisioned when I joined Hays…and as it turns out, it’s my passion! As far as long-term career…there are some very exciting and aggressive growth plans in place for the business over the next few years, and with that comes opportunities for learning and professional development while helping deliver on those plans. And then who knows what the next opportunity may be, but I do know it will be both challenging and rewarding!

What do you think has helped make Hays successful over 50 years?
A culture of flexibility, passion, continual improvement, collaboration, and being industry-leading visionaries have all, in my opinion, been at the core of the Hays success story. Nobody in this organization thinks they have all of the answers, and this is what drives us to develop new and creative solutions, and improve on what we deliver to our clients and candidates each and every day. 

Please share your favourite business-related Hays stories from throughout the years…
A large disaster restoration company franchisee in Edmonton AB won a large contract to restore area schools to a useable state after they were destroyed by the Fort McMurray wildfires in May of 2016. Our VP of Finance received a call on a Friday evening from our Calgary office to let him know that Hays had won the contract to fill 650+ temp positions for general labourers, site supervisors and OH&S professionals…and it was happening immediately. This was substantially increasing our temp/contract workforce in a matter of a few short weeks. Numbers were crunched all weekend long, and by Monday morning it was a go-ahead. Within days the Calgary and Edmonton offices had rallied and were recruiting and sending busloads of people almost every day, to camps in northern Alberta where they would live for the duration of their assignments, and to start undertaking the work. We in the back office were a smaller team at the time and yet we managed to find quick and effective solutions to successfully handle volumes and complexities like we had never seen before. The contract continued for close to 1-year and by the time it ended we had processed more than 1000 temp/contract placements. Although it was an ominous task, we conquered it with vision, focus, determination and teamwork.  It was one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever been involved in.

Read Rowan O'Grady's thoughts on 50 years of Hays, or find out more about working at Hays.
 

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