When running a large-scale BPO operation, the maintenance of a healthy, happy workforce is not just about providing nice break room facilities or free snacks, you must also be mindful of the challenges individuals face in their personal lives, which can often be debilitating and affect performance at work.
While chaplains are one of the lesser-known roles in large Latin American BPO, they can play a vital role in both developing team members and supporting them through rough times outside of the workplace. Chaplains are trained to either an undergraduate or graduate level in the area of human sciences, encompassing subjects such as theology, philosophy, psychology, and counseling. This background qualifies them for helping people in their emotional, spiritual, and integral development.
One such chaplain is Enrique de la Cruz, who works exclusively for Qualfon in Mexico City. Enrique initially studied philosophy for four years with the goal of becoming a missionary, but switched to psychology for an additional five-year term in the state of Sonora. At this point, he also began working at an orphanage to provide support and care to the orphans. After university, Enrique returned home to Mexico City with a desire to help people in a psychological and spiritual way, which led him to a career at Qualfon.
A Day in the Life
When Enrique arrives at the office, his first stop is the small, built-in chapel in the hallway—a space for quiet reflection and prayer. “I stop here because it provides me with the serenity I need in order to provide care and assistance to the team,” he said. “It’s very important for me to be able to transmit this serenity to others.”
After that, he tours the facility to visit employees at their workstations and gain awareness of the problems people are facing. “This can be an opportunity to hear their concerns and support them both emotionally and spiritually at the start of their work day,” Enrique explained. “In some cases, employees will use this chance to schedule a one-on-one care session with me.”
Chaplains schedule workshops and talks where employees can receive information related to human development issues. This service is provided in the workplace, outside the workplace, and by telephone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The chaplain will also attend funerals, hospitals, or prisons to offer support to employees and their family members during troubling times.
During the confidential one-on-one discussions with employees, Enrique encourages them to open up about any problems they or their immediate family members are facing. These can include marriage, divorce, serious illness, caring for aging parents, death and grief recovery, parenting, and other related issues. Enrique supports the employees with active listening and reflection, which, he says, helps individuals to better understand their inner thoughts and experiences.
“Our holistic understanding of people, combined with approachability and grace, brings us into contact with their brokenness,” he explained. “Wholly and truly, healthy individuals can bring creativity and efficiency in their work, so we find the time to respond to their needs and foster sustained emotional wholeness. We are committed to know the lives of people and help them get through crises.”
This counseling also extends to life plan sessions, where Enrique helps team members to uncover their purpose in life. “We help them explore possibilities in things like learning, career, relationship, finance, lifestyle, spirituality, health, recreation, and family,” he said. “We then identify their top priorities and discuss ways to put them into action. These interactions bring out realization and transformed behavior.”
Management Support & Training
Upon request, chaplains will advise members of the management team on matters of leadership, ethics and morale. “Managers make an impact on the workplace and company as a whole, so we assist supervisors in developing a coping ability in facing challenges, handling conflicts, and enhancing teamwork,” said Enrique.
The chaplains also facilitate focus group discussions with new hires, keeping them motivated and helping them cope with challenges in the training. “As part of the commitment to the complete care of staff, chaplains offers a suite of tools for training leaders in life and work skills,” explained Enrique. “Our workshops are designed to improve performance in a number of areas through practical steps. Personal decision-making is a central focus, and all workshops are tailored to individual and group requirements.”
“When you find the right vocation, you only have two options: answer the calling, or ignore it,” Enrique explained. “For me, this calling was really strong and I believe that I’m helping in the correct place, which makes me extremely happy and allows me to help others to discover that calling.”