For Lauren Howard, Assistant Contact Centre Manager, finding solutions to problems and helping her colleagues is what keeps her going. She shares her experience in different roles in our NHS 111 contact centre with us in this blog.
“A day in the contact centre can never be slow-paced – whether you’re an NHS 111 call handler – we call them Health Advisors – a coach, shift manager, or an assistant manager like me,” emphasises Lauren Howard, as she ticks off a number of essential roles in the team and settles down for this interview.
Lauren started as a part time Health Advisor three years ago working evenings and weekends, which proved to be a launch pad for bigger things. Her next role was shift managing and helping with admin tasks, which gave her an insight into various aspects of the business. As Assistant Contact Centre Manager, she now looks after the day-to-day management of the contact centre, along with other responsibilities.
“HUC has given me that opportunity to understand different areas of the business and progress in my career,” she says, adding, “No two days are the same. It’s a fast-paced, challenging environment. You’ve got to hit the ground running every day and find the answers to support staff members. My role has given me a different approach to dealing with challenges, not just here also outside of work.”
“The job is wonderful: when you work as a team to achieve your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and feel that you have helped change lives, that is very rewarding,” she says, smiling.
“I am grateful to the Health Adviser role because that’s what has led me to be here. It gave me the opportunity to grow as a person, learn the business from the ground, and above all it gave me time with my family because my little boy was young.”
As Lauren’s previous job was unsuitable for her family life, she decided to change her career path. For her, the flexibility at HUC – her shift hours – were perfect for her to fit her home life. She recalls her first day of work and how rigorous the training was. “I was intrigued by how much time was needed to prepare you for this role. When I first came in, I didn’t entirely understand the whole concept of it – I assumed I will take some calls and that’s it.”
“The best part was I always felt supported from the moment I walked into the door, to the moment I went live on the phones, there was someone always there to help. I never felt I was going to take a call without having any support. It was very intense, but for the right reasons, and I felt I was well-equipped to take calls. And it’s so incredibly rewarding and makes you feel good.”
Among all the proud moments at HUC, her memory of being nominated for an award stands out. Lauren bagged the runner-up title for the “Rising Star” category and she couldn’t be happier. “I have only been here for three years and I feel like I’ve achieved and progressed so much. To be nominated for awards and know that people can see I’ve made a difference is humbling,” she says.
“I was very surprised,” she recalls, “as there were some amazing people in that category – some of them I really look up to. And the award itself pushes you to do a bit more and you feel like you want to keep moving forward and finding different ways of working. I don’t know if it’s added pressure… maybe a little bit because I want to keep that up and would love to win next time and not just be the runner-up,” she says.
When asked what makes her think HUC is a great employer, Lauren highlights that its is not just a 9 to 5 job. “There is a strong bond among colleagues, we’re a team. We have some amazing people and you will always find a friend at HUC – especially because you can all relate to what work is like, there is an understanding that everyone here has started from the same position, so we all know what it’s like to start off as a Health Advisor and we can all support those who are starting out.”