In our business, you have to be ready for anything. Teleperformance
BREAKING NEWS The past week has proven Aurélie Naudé right: by announcing its intention to acquire Majorel, for 3 billion euros, Teleperformance has shown that in BPO and with Daniel Julien, you have to be ready for anything.
Starting from almost nothing in France and managing to become the world's number 1 in its business, outsourced customer experience and BPO, is rare, even more so in service activities and businesses. Daniel Julien achieved this performance, accompanied by managers and employees who all say that their time in Paris, on rue Firmin Gillot (which was once the historic headquarters of Teleperformance in France), has left a lasting impression on their minds and their professional practices.
For the past two years, En Contact has been interviewing these former or current employees and has asked them the same series of questions. "I Learned So Much on Rue Firmin Gillot" is a series of portraits, from which nothing or almost nothing* has been expunged, which is rare for companies belonging to the CAC 40. ( *only information related to clients and some manufacturing secrets are left out)
The portrait of the month illustrates the point perfectly. If certain standards or ratios are almost considered the norm or an unwritten law in the sector, it is thanks to a few suggestions from Aurélie or her team. When, as this year, we have to introduce the new standards of the decree governing telephone canvassing, there is some work and exegesis to be done on the texts. When you are the number one provider of crisis management operations (and the questions they raise in the French population) on behalf of the SIG (the government information service), compliance and data security cannot be allowed to be imprecise. And when you are number 1, you are observed, watched, audited, sometimes attacked in tweets.
"In our profession, you have to be ready for anything," Aurélie Naudé.
Behind an innocuous job title, there are issues and situations, sometimes extraordinary: compliance, legal, which sometimes lead you to imagine standards or to receive certain visitors, without an invitation card! Portrait of a certain Aurélie Naudé, Legal and Compliance Director at Teleperformance FSM (French-speaking market). This portrait completes the series J'ai tant appris rue Firmin Gillot.
Step 1: The woman from Toulouse discovers the profession, not the law, and moves to Paris.
When did you start working at TP and what positions did you hold?
Aurélie Naudé: I have been working at TP since December 2007, when I first joined as Legal Manager for the Midi Aquitaine region. I then moved to the same position, but at the French level and then FSM (French Speaking Market) before becoming FSM Legal and Compliance Director.
How were you recruited and in what context?
Aurélie Naudé: I am a lawyer by training, with a DJCE and a DESS in business law from Toulouse. After a first experience of five years, training, in the distribution sector, I was recruited at Teleperformance by Thierry Leto (who was then the financial director of Teleperformance Midi Aquitaine and who is now, still within the group, the director of purchasing for the EMEA region) and Alison Junoy, who was then the legal director of the Teleperformance group. I remember my telephone conversation with her from Portugal, where I was on holiday. I had come from the retail sector and I was very keen to try out service provision. I knew nothing about customer relations, which is still a sector of activity that is not well known to the general public.
So, in order to understand the challenges of our activities, I spent a few hours on the production floor when I was hired and it was very useful: there really is a world of difference between telesales and customer service and you can understand why the profiles sought are not the same, just like the regulations and risks associated with these activities, which are quite different. The need to have and show real self-control is common to both jobs, however.
The job was based in the Toulouse region, Thierry Leto still lives there but I don't: I moved to the Paris region in 2014, making the journey in the opposite direction to the thirty-somethings who were already starting to leave Paris and migrate to the provinces.
Step 2: Arrival on rue Firmin Gillot.
AN: I worked in several sites in the Toulouse region, the headquarters of Teleperformance Midi Aquitaine, then of Teleperformance Grand Sud, having changed several times, from Labège to Blagnac, via Fidelio, which constitutes a large geographical triangle for those who know. Fortunately, teleworking was already part of the company's practices at the time. I used to travel occasionally to rue Firmin Gillot, which I therefore knew before the move to Asnières, where I arrived in 2014. The manager I worked with longest at Teleperformance was Frédéric Proville, first CFO and then Deputy CEO and Chairman of TP FSM, who left the company two years ago. It was he who positioned the legal and compliance function on the management committee, as is now increasingly the case in many companies. The people I talk to are now mostly women, in this case Corinne Schamber and Karine Jan in particular.
Step 3: When you have to leave your comfort zone.
What exactly is your job and function?
AN: I am the legal and compliance director. Compliance came naturally and gradually to be added to the initial legal perimeter, in the face of growing challenges in terms of personal data protection and ethics. But what was more unexpected was the proposal in 2016 by Lucio Apollonj Ghetti and Frédéric Proville to entrust me with external certifications, including the ISO 9001 certification project and the implementation of an integrated management system! I knew nothing about quality and CSR labels, I had to leave my comfort zone and I learned a lot. Today, our IMS includes several CSR labels and assessments (Engagé RSE, Human for Client, Verego, Ecovadis), 4 ISO standards (18295-1, 9001, 27001, 27701) and others that are planned in the short or medium term. It is an effective compliance tool and a guarantee of probity for our partners. In reality, the transformation of the company is accompanied each year by new legal challenges, which requires constant updating of knowledge and understanding of the issues at stake in order to secure the activities as much as possible. The customer relations sector has not been spared in recent years, whether in terms of personal data protection, legislation on canvassing, or changes to the ARCEP numbering plan: canvassing is the focus of criticism, but it is ping calls, messages referring to a premium rate server and other fraudulent practices that are the main cause of this annoyance and against which measures remain ineffective at this stage.
TP is the world leader in its sector, faced with constant changes in its business and even with very violent denigration or media campaigns. How can we react, or even anticipate or respond to questions raised by new, little-known professions and the associated risks?
AN: Prior to the launch of any new activity, a risk analysis is carried out covering operational, legal and social aspects. Whether it is for new or traditional activities, we must always be on the lookout. Furthermore, as regulations cannot cover everything, we sometimes have to define a framework which then becomes a practice. If we take the example of quality monitoring, nowhere is it specified how many conversations can be monitored. The CNIL stipulates that recordings and listening must not be permanent or systematic. But what percentage should be adopted?
The law is a school of rules, of rigour. Did you develop these qualities and inclinations at TP?
AN: All of this has been reinforced with an addition: the obsession with indicators. The company's culture is very much focused on customer satisfaction and results, but also on people, with all these items being translated into indicators, monitoring, and controlled steering, all in a continuous improvement loop. I already had a rigorous profile by nature, as is generally the case for people who occupy positions like mine, but all this has certainly only strengthened it.
If you had to remember three key moments of your career in the company, what would they be?
AN: The arrival of Frédéric Proville as FSM CFO in 2012. When he arrived, I must admit that I was a bit tired of having to prove myself again: it was my fourth manager in five years, following the movements generated by the mergers at the time. But then it was much more stable as I had the pleasure of having him as my manager for almost nine years. The six months leading up to the entry into force of the RGPD remain another key moment in my career: we were in a real race against the clock. The satisfaction of reaching the goal was equal to the enormous investment made and a birth that was painful in a way. The first half of 2020 and the covid crisis are the last ones that come to mind: the crisis unit was mobilised 7/7 to manage the situation locally.
Step 4: When you receive visitors from the state, without an appointment.
I've heard it all before. I'm sure there are other, more juicy memories, worthy of an American thriller?
AN: In my job, we may have to receive agents of control authorities, out of the blue. It's a funny thing, but it doesn't happen quite like in American films (smiles). In our profession and our sector, you have to expect everything, be ready for everything!
What expressions have you heard or learned the most during your career in the company, what jargon do you remember?
AN: Two expressions: Perception is reality and inspired to be the best. We've seen recently how true this maxim is. With the explosion of social networks, the flood of fake news, of misappropriated real information, perception can quickly change. And that is why I agreed to testify, because it is important for me to share the reality of my experience within the Teleperformance company. Inspired to be the best is one of TP's maxims that sums up one of the company's values, commitment. Being passionate and committed to delivering the best.
“Self-control is essential in our professions”
Lawyers don't often talk about themselves, if not the media criminal lawyers. Why did the busy director I had the opportunity to meet, who was always precise and busy, punctual, take up some of her time?
AN: I am not very comfortable talking about myself, but if I accepted, it was to illustrate and testify to the perspectives offered by a group such as Teleperformance. I have been part of it for fifteen years and can therefore testify to the opportunities offered to committed people who share its values. Even though, unlike Karine and many others, I didn't start out as a client advisor, I have been able to expand my scope and responsibilities over the years. Of course, the company is demanding, and this qualifier comes out in all the portraits you have already done, but it is really based on values and a strong awareness of its social, societal and environmental responsibility. And I wanted to emphasise this as well: Teleperformance's sustainable development policy is extremely clear, concrete: major actions have been undertaken in recent years by the group, such as a US$6 million partnership with Unicef to improve education programmes in India and the Philippines and to provide emergency aid in the event of disasters around the world, such as in Ukraine, or recently the partnership with One Tree Planted to finance the planting of 500,000 trees around the world as part of the group's commitment to the fight against global warming. There are many opportunities for employees to take positive action as well through the actions available to them.
Apart from HR and social law issues, all legal and compliance matters end up or will end up on the PC or desk of Aurélie and her small team, such as the recent changes in the regulation of telephone canvassing or the new numbering plan. There is no risk of falling asleep or becoming sclerotic.
More portraits in the series can be found in En-Contact magazine or here. They will be the subject of a book, published at the end of 2023, bringing together the careers of former or current employees of the world's number one BPO and outsourced customer experience company.
Teleperformance's Global Trust and Safety Director is Akash Pugalia, based in California.
Interview by Manuel Jacquinet.
Photos by Edouard Jacquinet.