Agnese Paegle, CEO of the Latvian lattelecom BPO, was one of the first employers to participate in the project “Fit4jobs”. We bring here a short interview with Agnese to see her view of the project and what was beneficial for employers such as her company in the process.
Could you please tell more about your company and your field of work?
The Lattelecom Group company Lattelecom BPO was established in July, 2005. The company provides a large number of inquiry services, contact centre and SMS services. Currently 180 highly qualified customer service operators, experts and senior specialists are employed throughout the Lattelecom BPO branch offices situated in Rīga, Cēsis, Liepāja and Ventspils. This gives an idea of the scale of operation of the company in the field of contact centre and inquiry services.
Lattelecom BPO possesses modern technology solutions and extensive expertise in providing multimedia contact centre services. Contact centre solutions include the attending to inbound and outbound calls, as well as processing of e-mails, SMS, facsimile messages and data. The services are provided using the applications and databases owned by both the customer and Lattelecom BPO.
Why did you decide to participate in the project “Fit4Jobs” and to provide the opportunity for young people to work as customer service representative in the contact center?
It was an excellent opportunity for the employers to work closely together with the LIKTA association (Fit4Jobs partner in Latvia) and with experts from the ICT field. We basically developed a training program called “Customer service representative in the Contact centre”, while the experts from LIKTA developed ability and skill evaluation tests, which helped us select the best candidates for this position. We were also quite fond of the format that this particular project offered, which allowed to acquire theoretical knowledge and apply it right away in practice.
Is it difficult or easy to find suitable participants for the specific position in this particular region? What are the most common challenges that you face during the process of personnel recruitment?
Taking into considertion that Rezekne has the highest unemployment rate in Latvia, the level of responsiveness was quite high to participate in the training and afterwards to work in our Contact center in Rezeknes group. Due to the expansion of the business we could train the participants and also offer job opportunities to them. During the selection process we used the before mentioned tests in order to select the best and the most suitable candidates. We also evaluated the level of interest and the level of dedication that the participants showed for acquiring new abilities and skills. Within the framework of the project 10 young people were offered a position in our company, and in most cases the decisive factor was the attitude towards work and their colleagues.
How well have the young people adapted themselves in the work environment? What are the most common challenges when working with youth?
Our professional and cooperative colleagues were the ones who helped the participants to adapt well to the work environment and to the daily routine. Some of the most obvious challenges are connected with the fact that for several of the participants this is one of their first work experiences, which means that during the training process the participants learn not only to acquire the knowledge connected with the position and tasks they have to perfom, but they also develop an understanding regarding responsibility towards their work and also regarding the importance of teamwork.
What are the main gains from the perspective of the employer? Would such projects be necessary also in the future?
After the training several young and well-prepared employees have joined our team, who can perform their daily tasks very well. We have received praise from our clients regarding our employees in the Contact center and regarding the level of service provided to them already several times.
This project definitely helps young people to understand and learn the specifics of the customer service representative position. It also helps them to get to know better their employer, even before starting to work in a company. Most importantly, this is a concrete solution to the youth unemployment problem as it offers a valid professional experience to our youth. We are truly glad that we could be part of the solution!