It’s About the People
Being relatively new to the Compass team, I've spent the most of my time trying to understand the nature of the business and what its purpose is.
Initially, I was somewhat shocked at the sheer amount of technical know-how the employees have. From the first day, I've been bombarded by new concepts like 'Ess-Que-Ell Servers' and 'Special Calc Scripts' (I still don't know what an SQL Server is, but I'm making progress on Special Calcs). The experience has been a scramble to keep my head above water with the vast array of working terms and practices.
I think I've reached a reasonable conclusion that I can express in human terms:
Compass is all about Human Interest.
Considering the amount of IT jargon they fling left, right and centre, it might surprise you to find that the team here hold human interest at heart. It seems they're much more suited to computers than people, and, in those rare moments when it's not about computers, it's about Taxes - I can feel my soul slipping away from me just a little bit more at every mention of ITAS.
It's true, however. Human Interest is the heartbeat of Compass. It permeates every facet of the company, and bleeds into every choice made and every action done.
This interest goes beyond internal human capital, or clients. While I'll touch on those subjects in future posts, I'd like to focus on the reach Compass tries to employ in this one - the employees of our clients.
So, what is Compass?
Compass Employee Management Solutions (CEMS for short, or just Compass, if you want a world adventure) is a Business to Business organisation. We sell products, support and services to other companies in order to assist them to better help employees, down to the very last one.
Employees are more than just their numbers and identification documents - more than just their influence on the bottom line. Compass aims to increase the quality of workflow, provide honest and fair metrics, and offer industry expert advice and services for Financial and Human Resources support.
I'll be conducting interviews with all members of staff in future blogs. For now, let's take a holistic look at the company:
Compass is comprised of five fabulous women (and l'il ol’ me) who bring remarkably interesting narratives and skillsets to the team. I'll bring you, dear reader, the insight on them over the coming weeks because it is my sincere belief that we're not just selling products, but we're selling people (in a perfectly legal way - think movie stars instead of human trafficking).
So, who is Compass?
When I had my interview for this position (loosely defined as 'That Media Guy'), I met most of the team. It was an amazing experience. It started off with nervous me being gently shepherded into the boardroom, offered a politely declined cup of coffee, and a one-minute wait for the team to collect. The ordeal started off as one might expect - professional questions, a basic overview of what the company does and, inexplicably, it descended into a fun chat. Pretty soon, we were gossiping about…well that’s just it, gossip, ranting about media and programming languages, and joking about how I needed to find myself a man with medical aid. I felt like we were old friends sipping sundowners on the roof.
I was given the opportunity to consider whether I felt I would be a fit for the position and the company, and I was encouraged to honestly think it over. I nodded and agreed, but as I left the building, I knew I wanted to work here. It was almost a universal truism, stemming from one simple variable - The People.
That interview lasted short of an hour, and I was so deeply affected by the personalities presented in that boardroom. I sent an email following the event, and in that email, I expressed it well. "The deciding factor, ultimately, has been the positive atmosphere."
The people responsible for this atmosphere are the people we are selling. I've conducted internal research to gain a better understanding of what the company is and who the people are. I believe it's time for you to meet them:
Amanda Nell is the head honcho, the Big Boss, the ride and die of PeopleWare and People. Her primary view of what Compass should be is all about Security for clients, having used terms such as Reliability, Confidence, Helpfulness, Growth and Knowledge. She's also my boss, so I have to be nice about her, though I struggle for anything scandalous to say anyway, other than she's a cyclist and somehow that is infinitely worse than anything I could make up.
Elzabé Lintvelt is the Main Man, the Loud and Raucous, the Master of SmartHR and Business. From her interview, I gather that she focuses on providing Simplicity, Innovation, Openness, Insight and Passion to the work she does. She's my other boss, and a pro at this Ultimate Productivity Hack. She can be scary, even when you get to know her.
Lorma Möller is the IT Brain who has some sort of arcane understanding about computers that mortals like me can only dream of. She primarily works with client support and indicates qualities of Understanding, Adaptability, Wisdom and Boldness. She's been trying her very best to teach me. I think she's doing well. I managed to switch on my PC without frustration this morning.
Beverley Cloete manages the Bureau Services. She's a quick on the uptake and has a wicked sense of humour. She answers all my questions without having to think hard and I think the two of us have the most inside jokes, so I find it no surprise that she's Crafty, Knowledgeable and Helpful.
Ruska Jarvis is the smiling face that heads Client Care. She's the Curious, Expressive and Opinionated first contact that I suspect knows more about what we do than anybody else.
Then there's me, René, and I do this. I'm the new blood on the team and the scapegoat for anything that goes awry. I often hear "It's your fault!" jokingly yelled into the office and like a trooper, I bare that burden proudly.
With the Who's Who of Compass done, what can we expect in future posts?
This campaign will focus on that afore mentioned Human Interest, and I'll be providing (scandalous?) exposés on each of the team members, their beliefs, their operations, and insight into Employee Management based on years of dedicated experience and knowledge. For the time being, rest assured that Compass is all about the People.
I'd love to hear your feedback on this article, to help with future pieces.
You can comment opinions or questions, insight or your recent experience with bicycles right here to help me tailor these articles to your interests and needs.
Until then, watch out for those cyclists!