As featured in Ulster Business Magazine, November 2016
Name: Laura Hourican
Position: Vice-President Human Resources, UK, for Firstsource Solutions
How did you start out in business?
I started out with the company ten years ago this month, as a Human Resource Manager for the Derry/Londonderry centre. This was hugely exciting because it coincided with the launch of Firstsource’s second Northern Ireland site. Northern Ireland was the only country back then with a presence outside of India – where the business is headquartered. Today, the company has 45 centres worldwide. It was also a fantastic boost and investment for the North West region. We started out with just 26 staff in Derry. The site is now fully operational; in excess of 1,000 staff and supports four clients.
What did you find the most challenging during your years in business?
My motto is if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you and I can safely say the last 10 years have thrown a few challenges along the way. I have experienced working in a fast-paced sector that has grown tremendously and with that you expect all sorts of challengers. Having a strong team to rely on through the tough days has been my saving grace!
How would you describe your management style?
Good question, probably better asking my team! I am very open, supportive and encouraging. I would have trust in my team and been fortunate to work with the majority of them for ten years. I think the tenure of staff is also a testament to the success of Firstsource. We aim to nurture employees at all levels and carve out long-term careers. Investing in our staff is a key priority but that also has its business dividends too. A happier, engaged workforce enables us to continue to provide high quality and advanced services for key Northern Ireland clients such as Sky and giffgaff.
What would you change if you could go back and do it all again?
Honestly, nothing! I am, by nature, “look forward and don’t look back” kind of person. In this sector, a positive, progressive attitude is essential. You can always learn from the past but it’s about making that learning count and helping others learn from past experiences. I try to share this approach with colleagues too and that really does help us perform as a solid team.
Have you done it all on your own?
Of course not, and, not to have an Oscar moment, but I owe an awful lot to my parents who have supported and encouraged me throughout my education. They are local business owners and their work ethic provided me with immense inspiration to be ambitious in my own career path.
I also need to give a shout out to my long-suffering husband. We have three young daughters and working full time in a demanding role that can be based anywhere in the UK or even India means it’s a delicate balance between work and family life. My husband is great, very supportive and I wouldn’t have achieved half as much without him – I am very lucky.
How would you like your business career to be remembered?
I am very passionate about corporate responsibility and believe all organisations no matter how small or large can contribute to the wider community. I would like to continue to drive this agenda for Firstsource across the UK and support our local communities.