Making 'champion' employees

Posted February 17, 2020 in Afni News

For someone who has been in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry for more than a decade, Erwin Tawat knows too well how difficult his job can be. From assisting a customer in solving a technical problem to creating a meaningful interaction with him/her, being a call center agent can be one of the toughest jobs out there.  

But despite the challenging role that comes with the pressure of daily targets and third shift working hours, Erwin gave a stellar performance last year, with scores that exceeded marks and impressive commendations from supervisors. He continues to be motivated and committed and his company gave him a heartfelt recognition for all his hard work.  

Afni, where Erwin has been working for two years, knows and practices effective employee recognition. Considering the number of rewards initiatives and employee engagement programs it lines up annually, it is easy to see how Afni puts top importance on what it calls the “Afni family.”  

But its signature Philippines recognition event is the Afni Champion Employee (ACE), held annually to award the best of the best performers from the previous year.


Employee recognition boosts morale, productivity, retention  

“I always wanted to be a top performer, but I never expected that I’d be recognized as one of the top agents in my account,” Erwin said. “But that [recognition] was a turning point for me because when my hard work was acknowledged, I was inspired to do an even better job.”  

According to U.S.-based analytics and advisory company Gallup, “Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment, and makes employees feel valued for their work.”  

Recognition makes employees feel good overall. Harvard University psychology researcher and author Shawn Achor said, “People who cultivate a positive mindset perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the ‘happiness advantage’ – every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive.”  

At Afni, employee satisfaction resulting in better work performance appears to show in the company’s overall growth, especially in its foothold in Metro Manila.  

“… Last year, [we] not only grew by 43% but we also reduced our attrition by 15 points,” said Vice President for Operations Khalid Khursheed. “To us, retention is the number one indicator that shows how well we treat our employees.”  

“At Afni, we want you to understand that you matter to us,” said Senior Director for Operations Alain Katigbac during the ACE recognition night on February 29. “Your wonderful performance makes our success possible.”  

“We’re all amazing because of all of you,” added Senior Director for Operations Barbara Ann De Jesus. “So, as we grow stronger as a team … I hope you thank your teams that they’re part of this Afnimazing family.”


Servant leadership at work  

“Our employees are the future of Afni,” said Senior Director for Operations Support Ricky Aquino.  

To take care of a business’ “future” does not stop in recognition. At Afni, it is also about rewarding benefits, career development, and what it refers to as “servant leadership.”  

And it appears to be demonstrated by the ACE honorees themselves.  

Al Alarma, a project coach who won an ACE award, said he wants to extend the “overwhelming joy” of recognition to his team members.

He said, “I want to keep showing my team members that I’m grateful for their work and by doing so, I hope they will follow and do the same when it’s their time to lead.”  

Another ACE honoree, Operations Manager Myra Hawod, said she wants to share the award to her team who “made it all possible.”                

“This award is a symbol of our team’s hard work, collaboration, continued learning, and a unified goal of exceeding expectations,” Myra said. “It stands as an inspiration to those who are here and to those who will come after us.”


More honorees  

A total of 42 awards were given during the ACE recognition night. The awards were divided into three major categories and two special categories. The winners were carefully chosen based on a set of criteria that includes the Afni core values of act with integrity; always be thinking; be honest and respectful; fuel our passion; and pursue change.

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