It’s clear Leroy Reid believes in his team. Reid, the VP and Jamaica Country Manager at Xerox, is passionate about what the people of Jamaica have to offer, particularly his own employees. “I am so amazed, so pleased with the capacity, the capability and the commitment of our people. Without them, Xerox in Jamaica would not be a success, the BPO sector in Jamaica would not be a success and the government would be struggling to identify a sector that can deliver job creation at the same pace as the BPO industry,” he said.
In an industry notorious for high turnover of staff, Xerox Jamaica has somehow made it work. Of the approximately 17,000 people employed in BPO in Jamaica, 7,000 of them work for Xerox. “We have the lion’s share; outside of government, we are the largest employer in Jamaica,” Reid said. Most significantly, the huge workforce combines loyalty and productivity, boasting the lowest attrition rate among all Xerox locations and consistently high client quality ratings. A recent 98.5% quality rating for a healthcare client, for example, was directly related to driving higher plan enrollment.
Reid sees himself as the crisis manager for the company’s Jamaican operations, but above all he sees himself as living the vision for Xerox in the country and building a supportive, adaptive and flexible environment in which his employees and his clients thrive.
“We undersell the capacity of our people,” he said. Nothing makes Reid prouder than hearing those words from clients when they come for a site visit. “We tell them how great our people are, but once they leave us in the conference room, after they speak to them, after they sit side by side with them, they are just glowing with how great our people are. They tell us that the pace at which they work, the quality at which they work, the complexity and the skill of the work, far outperforms the average in North America.”
For Reid, getting it right in terms of both employee loyalty and productivity means starting at the point of hire. He said it really begins with the recruitment team’s approach and their commitment to finding the right person for the right job. Xerox Jamaica advertises positions via online recruitment portals as well as internal advertisements to provide existing staff the chance to progress. This is coupled with a robust training program once the employee is hired.
“We look for candidates that have good customer service skills and can offer a consistently good experience for the client. Being able to work in a team is vital, as is the ability to manage stress well,” he said.
Retaining those employees once they have been hired is a “never-ending cycle”, according to Reid, who cites the comprehensive learning services program, competitive compensation packages, and a people-centered approach to performance management as the key factors in Xerox’s success in Jamaica. “We have a culture of training, of good mentorship, and of engagement and feedback,” he said.
Having started off his career as a technician in the telecommunications sector in Jamaica in 1984, Reid quickly worked his way up the ranks, moving to a number of managerial and leadership roles supporting the BPO sector before taking up a position at Xerox. His technical experience and love of engineering have stood him in good stead as a leader in a diverse and evolving sector. Xerox itself has BPO operations that run the gamut in terms of simple traditional BPO, stretching all the way to more complex knowledge process outsourcing.
He describes the structure of Xerox Jamaica as an inverted pyramid, with the agents at the top, team leaders in the middle, and management at the bottom. He emphasized that communication is a very strong platform on which to operate, adding that it is about driving accountability all the way down from agents to managers.
“My style has always been that of situational leadership, and I have found, particularly in this job, that this style is very, very useful. It is about recognizing who needs help, who needs support, and who needs to be developed. It is about using your best influencing skills to get everybody focused on delivering business results,” he said.
Situational leadership is a theory developed by professor and author Dr. Paul Hersey and author Ken Blanchard that focuses on using a combination of managerial styles to cater to different people within the same organization. “It is less about me and more about teaming. It is more about a group of people sharing a common vision of seeking to establish Xerox Jamaica as the world’s BPO destination of choice. What gets me up every morning is the opportunity to see our people in Jamaica hired into good, sustainable jobs where they can provide for their families.”
A family man and faithful Church goer – he is a lay preacher in his spare time – Reid lives his passion for young people beyond the board room, often giving motivational talks at schools and other organizations. He enjoys sharing his own journey and success grown out of humble beginnings.
One of the things that Reid has been able to offer in his role as Country Lead in Jamaica is transformative experiences for his staff. With Xerox’s diverse operations from tech support to financial modelling and healthcare support, employees have the opportunity to work in higher value KPO roles that provide greater levels of compensation, but also more challenging and fulfilling roles that require specific skill sets.
Xerox Jamaica’s size means the company has excellent ties with government, which has recognized that the sector is key to economic growth. “We have been able to successfully influence legislation and business process to the benefit of the sector,” said Reid. For the company’s VP and Country Manager, this has been a key opportunity, as he and Xerox Jamaica have been able to work with government towards developing a talent pool that can serve the growing demand of the sector.
“Jamaica has a history of recognizing and rewarding talent, and I think that is something that keeps me here at Xerox,” said Reid. “Every day at work I see talent being recognized, I see people pursuing career paths, and people being promoted. I also see people on the continuum of going towards self-actualization because of the different capabilities at which they operate, as well as the myriad opportunities and experiences that are available here,” he said.
Reid is passionate about his home. “Jamaica is a wonderful place for any company that is challenged with margins to see sustainable business results, either onshore or in other parts of the world,” he said. “They can find employees here in Jamaica that far outperform employees in North America, and they can do this while increasing their profit margins.”