I joined H Connect as a Financial Process Analyst in March 2013 when the company was just 6 months into operations and had a headcount of only 25 employees. My job entailed establishing a quality assurance function for all finance processes of the company.
As this was at the very inception of the business, my role proved to be somewhat challenging. Being the shared services arm of the Hirdaramani group, we had to lift and shift processes away from multiple locations into a centralized hub. Hence, I had to help establish processes while finding the common ground between H Connect and its customers, while ensuring that proactive controls were established to run a flawless operation. With the Quality Assurance function being a relatively new concept to the workplace at the time, most employees were reluctant to get involved as they viewed it as something that highlights their flaws. This required extra effort from my part to convince them to come aboard. With this in mind, I encouraged employee participation by organizing quality forums, monthly reviews and actively obtaining suggestions to make ERP modifications to customize it to our specific needs.
I did all this while studying for my final year degree, under pressure to further my career and successfully complete my studies.
Having joined the company at such an early stage, I also had the opportunity to be part of multiple cross functional projects. Setting up H Connect’s official website was one such endeavor, where I was involved in content creation, the domain name creation, setting up the infrastructure and working alongside the Group IT. The learning I gained from this was massive and was one of the key steppingstones which helped me eventually take on the additional role of overlooking the IT department of the company.
To add to an already eventful first year with the company, I faced one of the most challenging undertakings to date when I had to lead the ISO 27001 certification project in July 2013. With controls and policies having to be put in place from scratch as there was no inhouse IT department within H Connect at the time, the possibility of obtaining the certification seemed very unlikely. However, with a lot of hard work, commitment and positive attitude my team and I were able to make H Connect the first Shared Services/BPO operation in Sri Lanka to obtain the ISO 27001:2013 certification under the revised standard. I consider this milestone achievement a pivotal moment in my career, as the experience and learning I gained through this project is incomparable.
I also had the privilege of working closely with other support functions while assisting with setting up the BPO operations back in 2014. Attending client meetings and understanding their requirements, documenting processes, conducting trial runs, developing performance dashboards, devising assessments for interviews and training new employees are a few of the many activities I was able to get involved in aside from my core process excellence work. This also gave me the opportunity to work closely with the HR and Project Management (PMO) teams. This also gave me the opportunity to get in-dept knowledge of client processors across the world and over various industries.
In recognition of all my hard work and commitment, in 2014 I was entrusted with the added responsibility of overlooking the IT support function for the company. H Connect being an Information Technology enabled services company, I had to work closely with multiple stakeholders to proactively resolve issues in minimizing delays that would otherwise hinder the operations. Although IT was not part of my core area of academic study, because of my can-do attitude and passion for learning, I took this new function on, as a positive challenge.
This was soon followed by a request from the management for me to take over the PMO team as well. Having two important functions already under my purview I was a bit skeptical at first. However, since I had worked so closely with the PMO team I already had a thorough understanding of the team’s processes, hence, I was able to successfully absorb this as well.
With the BPO operation rapidly picking up its pace, the support of the PMO and Process Excellence functions became a critical factor in ensuring successful client onboardings. This gave me a lot of visibility and learning opportunities as it enabled me to be part of various important business discussions.
Having already taken over three important operations, I was once again entrusted with another. This time it was to oversee the Travel Desk. Although vastly different to the rest, I took on the challenge once again with a positive attitude, knowing very well through past experience that anything is possible if you have the right mindset. Hence, by March 2018 I was heading four critical functions for H Connect – Project Management, Process Excellence, IT and Travel Desk.
To add to the amazing learning curve I have gone through at H Connect, I also had opportunity to develop my technical and soft skills. I have successfully undergone several leadership development initiatives and also had the opportunity to go through training on Neuro Linguistic Programming, which has had a great impact on my personal development.
As I reflect on my career with H Connect, I fondly recall what an eventful and interesting journey it has been. I now see a totally different version of myself. A much improved, matured individual with a positive outlook, all thanks to the many growth opportunities I received at H Connect.