Asa Wirsenius, People Director at Autoglass, spoke to us about her new role, and using purpose and culture to engage teams and grow business.
What do you hope to execute in your new role?
It would be fair to say that I am obsessed with purpose and culture; when all of our people live our purpose everyday it unlocks greater success for everyone – our colleagues, customers, partners and shareholders. At Autoglass, living our purpose everyday means making a difference by solving people’s problems with real care. There’s always been a very special and unique family culture in our group and I plan to build from this strong foundation to enable everyone to be their absolute best.
Whilst we are a market leading brand, we can never be satisfied. We have big plans for the coming years, there are always opportunities to improve. Delivering a consistently effortless customer experience can only happen in a business that allows people to take initiative and requires them to continuously grow and develop themselves in a supportive environment.
What are the most important factors you consider when developing a people strategy?
It’s crucial to understand why a business exists in the first place – its purpose in the world. Then, be clear about what kind of business we want to build – its culture, and where we want to go – the vision. How to embed this throughout the business is the key to success, and this is where the leaders are crucial to the strategy. Leaders on all levels need to live and lead the purpose and culture in everything they do for it to come alive.
Autoglass is a strong British service brand and we need to live up to, and exceed, that expectation in every customer interaction. In doing so we need to understand and not to forget how our success was achieved as well as making constant change part of who we are to address changing customer expectations.
Why is it important to offer development opportunities for staff?
In my experience you can only grow a business by growing its people. Growing and developing must be part of everyone’s job as the world is constantly changing. What worked yesterday almost certainly isn’t the way to success in the future.
At Autoglass we place a huge emphasis on learning and development at all levels. Creating opportunities to develop our people has been a real strength and there are loads of really inspirational stories across the business – take for example our Customer and Digital Director, he joined the company over twenty years ago in our Sales and Service Centre and has never looked back.
How does Autoglass ensure staff retention?
Our vision is to be the best place our people will ever work. The way to achieve this is to constantly improve our people experience, embedding and communicating our purpose and by creating a culture that inspires people to join in our success.
By being clear about who we are and where we’re going, we’re able to attract and retain people who share our values here at Autoglass and who want to see them brought to life by making a difference to customers every day.
It’s also really important that we celebrate our people’s success. One way we do this is through a global biannual competition to crown the best technician from across the globe – called Best of Belron. Held internationally (Rome in 2014 and Lisbon in 2016) the competition is fierce, with the top technician winning a year’s salary and the kudos of being crowned the best in the world. It’s a phenomenal and very special event; as our global CEO puts it, ‘we make our people into rock stars’. When you’re constantly making that investment in your people, they’re more willing to come on that journey with you.