Brand Ambassador – Laura Radu (Episode 9)
The good you do to others will return to you and we are proud of having great colleagues at Office Depot. Laura Radu defines great colleagues as individuals with whom you can talk about anything. If we need something, we feel no obstacle in going and asking for help or information. More details about Laura’s discussion you can find below.
1. Tell us something personal about yourself and about your role.
I would say that I’m a kind person, calm, open towards the others and I think this is how others perceive me too. I enjoy being around people, helping them, I enjoy having fun, and I mostly look for people who are funny rather than being funny myself (but I can also make good jokes).
Now in Office Depot I am Senior Technical Trainer – it means that I do the process trainings for the new hires on the French department and I deliver some soft skills trainings.
2. Now going back at the beginning of your journey in OD, can you share with us what your job title was on the first day?
When I got hired I had the position of Process Assistant for France region. I was assessing orders from customers that were put on hold from various reasons and after assessing them I was taking the decision to let the order go through or keep it on hold. I was doing front office activities – I was talking with customers daily. There were many funny moments in the first days – I had some trouble with understanding what people wanted and what they said because there are two types of languages: the ones you learn at school and the native language. I remember several times I had trouble with understanding what French people said and what I did was asking the person to stay on the line and asking my colleagues: ‘Did anyone hear this phrase before? What should I do with this customer?’ . I joined in the period when the roles were transitioned from France, so everybody was, we all had the same experience and it was funny that we were brainstorming on every situation. It was a really nice team work there. Also, I remember a situation when I was calling one customer. A lady pick up the phone – the customer’s name was a man’s name. I was saying: “I‘m calling you because your husband placed an order”. She replied that he had died few weeks ago, got a bit shocked and then we agreed to just change the name on the order.
3. What do you remember of your first day at OD? Describe some memories of how it was back then.
It was the induction day. We meet at a hotel conference room – as we were around 100 persons to start on the same day. What I also remember is that we had the longest induction ever – almost a week. It was very exciting and interesting to see how things work in an international company (because before I had worked in a small company). It was a comforting feeling that my colleagues were as inexperienced as me and that we would start this journey together.
4. What was the funniest moment which you experienced in the current role? What happened?
There are many funny moments – I just need to pick one… It was a situation from my first on the job training – my first month of being a trainer and I had my first trainee. We went through the part of the procedure and the next step was to place the first call. She prepared her speech. She even thought of expressions to use in French. She was ready and placed the call. We called and she said the introduction part and the person didn’t say anything. And we heard the person slumbering and say that she cannot speak French – she understood a little bit but couldn’t speak. My trainee figured out that the lady was an English person and switch to English. And the funny thing is that she prepared all her speech in French and she delivered it in English. But she did a good job.
5. What was your biggest achievement up until now?
I think it’s quite difficult to level up my achievement but one achievement that I like to think about is going on the floor on the French side and realizing that 90% of the people working there were trained by me. I don’t know if it’s the biggest achievement but it’s one that I’m proud of.
6. Give us some tips on how to achieve success in one’s career.
Working hard is a key ingredient. Then you need to know how to work in a team – even if you have an individual task, this task will be related to tasks that other people do. Also, a very important thing that I’ve learned in OD is to set your limits in terms of what you can achieve and keep a healthy work-life balance. In terms of what you can do – I’ve been there trying to do as many tasks as possible because I wanted to learn as much as possible and I’ve realized that I cannot do everything at the standards that I want to do it.
7. What were the biggest challenges which you faced here? How did you manage to solve them?
The main challenges that I faced came from working with people. On the one hand it is a very nice and attractive thing to work with people because they are different. On the other hand this is that gives us the challenge because you have to adapt all the time to the people you are working with. I feel this more as a challenge as a trainer because I need to adapt the trainings to each trainee and I had times when I found myself in difficulty of how to work with that person in order to get there. What I used to do was talking with that person: ‘Tell me what the best method is, what do you need from me and I will give that to you’. I can say that in most of the cases it worked. Sometimes it was harder but we managed to get there.
8. What are the top 3 things you love about OD?
- People: I will relate to the mentality that people around here have. What I do appreciate here is that there are new people coming but they get fast to this mentality – we work as a team, we get along with each other. I think this what makes people here great people. When I say great people I’m referring to people with whom you can talk about anything. If I need something, I feel no obstacle in going and asking for help or information. This is the feeling that you get when you go on the floor and you see people talking with each other or the way they look at you – like you are home.
- Management: I had the chance of having great managers. What I appreciated about the management I worked with is the availability to help people develop. And I’ve seen this care about how can I keep them motivated and keep developing them.
- Procedures: meaning there is a work-life balance and I can see it – I appreciate very much the fact that overtime is not encouraged, that there are annual leaves and you have to take it. Then, again, this preoccupation for working procedures for every team: every team has measurable targets, so we know how much we are working and where we want to get but at the same time we allow some time for making connections amongst us. We are not here at our office just working but also have other things to talk about and bond. I appreciate the fact that things are done by the book.
9. So what do you think about Office Depot now?
I see that we have a tradition, a legacy, but, at the same time, it’s a legacy that renews with every new employee who comes here. This is the OD way of thinking: somehow traditional but everyone who joins brings something new and for me, this is a great thing to see.
10. What’s your motto?
I think everyone has a set of values they stick to and I don’t know if I picked a motto. There are some things that I believe in and I try to drive my life in that direction. One of them would be that the good you do to others will return to you. Another principle would be that whatever decision I make I want it to be the best thing that I could do at that moment (even if after a time it turns out to not be the best decision). I try to not regret things – to act in such a way that I would not regret later.
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