Sarah Nicastro: Welcome, to The Future of Field Service podcast. I’m your host Sarah Nicastro. Today, we are going to be taking a look into Bureau Veritas’s take charge approach to the future of work. I feel like every second or third headline you read in the news today is talking about what the future of work is going to look like and it’s a conversation that is top of mind for many of our listeners. I’m excited to welcome to the podcast today, Maggie Laureano, who’s the Vice President of Human Resources Americas at Bureau Veritas. Maggie, welcome to The Future of Field Service podcast.

Maggie Laureano: Thank you so much, Sarah, and I am really delighted to be here. Thanks for the invite.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, thanks for being here. Okay, so before we dig into the topic at hand, tell our listeners a bit about yourself, your background, and your role at Bureau Veritas.

Maggie Laureano: Great, I’m happy to do that. So Sarah, I’m going to go back a little bit in time and so while I’m a resident of Florida now and have been for a number of years, I’m originally from New York, New York City. And went to college at Fordham University where I fully expected that I was going to, beyond my undergraduate in psychology, I fully expected that I was going to continue into a masters and potentially a PhD and be a psychologist or at the very least a therapist. And after I got my undergrad in psych, I decided to take a year off and get some experience under my belt, and then go back to school. Well, P.S., I won’t tell you how many years later, but I did not go back to school and my first job out of college was as an HR Assistant at a bank. As you know, New York City is ripe with all kinds of financial service organizations so that’s kind of where my career started.

Maggie Laureano: Unlike most people coming out of college where typically you spend just a few years in your first job, I actually spent about eight years at that Hearst organization and the reason I did so was because I was given an incredible amount of opportunities to learn, and grow within in HR, and do different things. And so within that eight year span, I started as an HR Assistant, I moved into benefits administration, I worked in payroll, I did recruiting, I did employee relations, I did training facilitation, and so really I got a really, really good foundation. And I think part of that, Sarah, was I was very inquisitive and so I would ask a lot of questions, I wanted to know about what that area did, what the other area did, and so I think my manager at the time was really impressed with that intellectual curiosity and I was given lots of opportunities.

Maggie Laureano: But after that, I evolved into or I moved into other roles in HR at other financial institutions also in New York and then I transferred to Florida. Throughout my career, in financial services in particular, I was really a generalist most of the time, but I did have stints where I was in a recruiting function or in an employee relations function and I managed those two functions as well in different companies. And then in 2006, I transitioned to logistics. I worked with DHL for a couple of years and then after that I moved into aviation with Embraer and I was with that company for 11 years. And then in 2018, I came to Bureau Veritas and the one thing about human resources that I have found is that it’s a very transferrable skill and you can learn the industry, you can learn your internal customers, and the business that you support because really the skills that go into HR you can apply in any industry.

Maggie Laureano: And the other thing that I love about being at Bureau Veritas is the ability to really help transform the HR function, which I’m happy to go into a little bit, a little bit later.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Cool.

Maggie Laureano: But that’s a little bit about me and my career.

Sarah Nicastro: I love it. Okay, and real quick before we go on, for listeners that maybe aren’t familiar with Bureau Veritas can you talk a little bit about the organization? You guys have a very cool video that I’ve come across and I’m going to see if I can find the link to it to put in the show notes because it talks about how many interactions with Bureau Veritas happen in a day, but people maybe don’t recognize the brand by name. So can you give folks a sense of what the company does? [ view video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9Sq4YvXnO8]

Maggie Laureano: Absolutely, and you make a great point and I’m happy to just talk about that video a little bit more because I love it. So Bureau Veritas is about a 200 year old company that started Europe. It is actually headquartered out of Paris and it started in the marine industry. And over the years, it has expanded to much more and we are a leader in testing, inspection, and certification services. And so when you talk about that video, Sarah, that’s one of the things that I loved when I was going through the interview process with Bureau Veritas, watching that video and it was so eye opening because it takes a gentleman through the entire day from the time he wakes up, to taking his daughter to school, driving to work, picking up his coffee, going into his office, and then on, and on until he returns home in the evening and you have these pop ups throughout the video that show all the different touchpoints.

Maggie Laureano: And so Bureau Veritas inspects food, it inspects toys, so think in a McDonald’s Happy Meal for your kid, as a matter of fact, I use extra virgin olive oil and when I was interviewing for BV I saw that it was inspected by Bureau Veritas. But we also do a lot in the infrastructure space, so for example here in North America we have contracts with municipalities, with different cities where we certify that their building codes are up to par, where we certify and inspect bridges, we do elevator inspections. We’re into the energy sector now and of course, oil and gas is a big part of our business. Yeah, it’s really… We are the company that, especially in North America we’re not very well known, but a company that really touches all of our lives without even us realizing it.

Maggie Laureano: And we’re built on safety and that is one of our absolutes, safety and ethics, which are critically important because we provide services to our customers that they must rely on our expertise that we provide, and safety and ethics are clearly very, very important in what we do.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now, to give people a context for the size of the organization, how many employees do you have either globally or specific to North America?

Maggie Laureano: Yeah, so I’ll give you both, Sarah. So about 75,000 globally and in North America we have about 6,300 and that is primarily in Canada and the U.S., but we also have operations in Mexico and in the Caribbean.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, so you might not know the Bureau Veritas name, but you have undoubtedly interacted with something the company has inspected or something along the way, so I’ll see if I can find that video and put it in the show notes.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay, so in researching for this episode, Maggie, what stood out to me is that you get stuff done. I think that’s likely the New Yorker in you, but the other thing that I want… So what I wanted to kind of talk about is, you get things done, right? But sometimes taking real action isn’t about what’s fast or what’s easy to tackle, but digging deep and understanding how to make the biggest impact. So we’re going to talk a little bit about when you joined BV and you realized sort of the talent shortage and some of the things that are facing not only your company, but the industry at large. We’re going to talk about that, we’re going to talk about some of the steps that you all have taken to address that challenge, but before we get into sort of the tactical conversation I’d like to just talk for a moment about this balance of depth, and speed, and why taking shortcuts often doesn’t pay off.

Maggie Laureano: Yeah, sure and it was a really interesting experience for me, Sarah, because having come into this role with a million years of experience, I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been, but I’ve been in HR for a long time and I have seen what works and what doesn’t work. And so I came in with my own preconceived notions of how I would have wanted to set up the HR organization and the types of things that we could do to impact the employee experience and that sort of thing. But one of the most important things, I think, for any HR professional is to really get to understand your company, and your internal customers, and their business, and how do they make money, and what’s important to them, and that sort of thing, right?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maggie Laureano: And so in doing that what I realized was that I couldn’t just jump in and make the changes that I thought would be impactful and important. I really had to step back and listen to my customers because they were in different places. One of things about BV that is kind of neat, it’s a very entrepreneurial organization and so it’s not the kind of place where one size fits all and where you can dictate okay, this is what we’re going to do and every business is going to do it. And so for me, that digging deep and spending time meeting with my internal customers, getting to understand their business, getting to understand their needs, helped to inform how I was going to make changes because whereas at other organization where I’ve worked I had the ability to make kind of a blanket change for all, at Bureau Veritas it just did not work that way. And had I done that, I would have failed miserably.

Maggie Laureano: And so I think my lesson there was you need to listen, you need to understand, and even though you may come to the table with expertise and experience that you can offer, but it needs to fit I guess is the best way I can say it. It needs to fit. So I’ve been at Bureau Veritas now for almost three years and the things that we do, what I like to do is provide a framework for my internal customers that kind of an umbrella approach, right? So these are the minimum things that we will do, but certainly each business leader has the ability to customize it further to fit their needs.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that makes sense and I think that’s really good advice not specifically to anything to do with HR, but just for leaders in general that are seeking to make change within a business, right? And what I liked about how you described it, and this is where you can tell that you took that time and you did that digging with the right intention, because you said you used what you learned to inform your strategy and your plan not to pacify people for whom you were going to change something, right? And so I think when you start to talk about leading through change and the need to understand internal stakeholders, I think one of the mistakes that gets made is really related to intent, so some people kind of take certain actions, listening, getting feedback, talking to check a box rather than to actually consume that perspective and let it, like you said, influence what the plan is going to be. Does that make sense?

Maggie Laureano: Yeah, it makes absolute sense and if I had taken that approach of listening just to check the box, like I said, it would not have been successful. And as I said, the business, we’re a very entrepreneurial organization and it just would never have passed muster, if you will.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So there’s a couple themes that I want to talk about before we get into the specifics of the talent shortage and what you have done about that. The first is kind of what I just mentioned, which is this authenticity, right? And so in some of the articles that you’ve been a part of that I read prior to our interview, you talk about the importance of communication, which everyone talks about, but there is this level of emphasis on honesty and authenticity that you have. And I’m hoping you can just speak for a moment about how that helps you build trust, how that helps you make connections with your workforce that have a big impact when it comes to engagement and retention, which is part of the equation of this talent shortage, right?

Maggie Laureano: Absolutely. And Sarah, to me, communication in the workplace and with our employees is no different than communication in a person relationship, right? It needs to be honest, it needs to be genuine, it needs to be transparent, it needs to be two way, right?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maggie Laureano: And so I bring that same kind of philosophy to the work place and my brand, if you will, my personal brand is important to me and I don’t ever want that to be tarnished by someone thinking that I’ve lied, or I’ve led them astray in any way, or that I’m hiding information. Now, to be clear, there are things organizationally that you just cannot disclose to employees, confidential information or what have you, but short of that I think open and honest communication is critical. And as an example, and I’ll come to Bureau Veritas in just a minute, but in my prior organization I used to host town halls probably on a quarterly basis and it was my CEO and myself that would kind of partner to do the town halls. And over time, I mean I was there for 10 years, and over time the respect and the trust that I had from employees and the things that they would come to me with absolutely astounding and it was because they knew that I was going to tell it like it is, right?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maggie Laureano: They knew that I wasn’t sugar coating the message, I was going to be very direct and honest with them. And I’ve brought that same approach to Bureau Veritas and the pandemic, 2020 was a perfect example and not just myself, but also our CEO, Natalia, and some of our other leaders we hosted town halls with pretty difficult messages to the employees and we were always very honest about the message. There was hope in the message despite some negativity that might have been included, but there was hope and then there was always follow up, right?

Maggie Laureano: And making sure that if we were taking an action we would then follow up and talk about how it was going and if we were going to change directions. And the other piece is getting feedback from the employees is really important, how are they feeling, what are they thinking, what’s important to them, so again, Sarah, I go back to it’s no different than a personal relationship. If it’s going to work, it’s got to be authentic, honest, transparent, and really it’s got to come from a good place.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I think that’s an important point and the other point before we talk a bit about how to bring in new talent is… The other point that I wanted to talk to you a little bit about is the importance of empowerment, right? And so you mentioned the culture at BV is very entrepreneurial and so in that type of environment the role of empowerment is important and probably in some ways expected. But I think that empowerment is something that is underutilized in a lot of businesses as it relates to looking at ways to foster greater employee engagement and satisfaction, right? We bring these people in because they’re talented and then we don’t want to trust or empower them to do what we’ve brought them in to do, right? So can you talk a little bit about the importance of empowerment?

Maggie Laureano: Yeah, absolutely and it reminds me of many, many years ago I remember being a training class and it was all about empowering employees and so forth. And I remember the facilitator said, “You don’t want to have empowerment with a leash.” Right?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maggie Laureano: And so pretend empowerment essentially, yeah, yeah, yeah you can do that, but then if you make a mistake, boom, you’re pulled back and you’re penalized in some way. So one of the philosophies of our CEO is fail fast and you don’t have to have all the information you need in order to make a decision. And so in her mind, 75-80% of the information needed to take a decision is fine and then if that doesn’t work okay, that’s great, we can course correct, and come back, and make it better. And I think that’s a really important message for all of our employees because if you’ve got the skills, you’ve got the experience, and the know-how, as a new employee obviously you’ve got to learn the ropes, you’ve got to learn the company, the way we do things, and things like that, but we hired you for a reason, right?

Maggie Laureano: And so it’s important to be able to give employees the opportunity to show what they have, what they’ve done, what they can do and it’s okay to make mistakes. And I think that’s what I really love about BV, that making a mistake is not catastrophic, making a mistake is a way to learn, it’s a way to improve, and it’s like a child, right?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maggie Laureano: You can’t put your arms around a child and not allow them to explore their surroundings because they just won’t know what to do when you release them, right? So it’s similar to employees, right? You’ve got to let them go, you’ve got to let them do, and I think an empowered workforce is a much more productive workforce and a more satisfied workforce overall and we certainly encourage that here.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. No, I think it’s very, very important for companies to start digging into the, I’m going to call it the retention side of this equation, but it’s not just retention, it’s also engagement and satisfaction. And it’s if this talent shortage is real, and it is, then part of it is where does the new talent come from, but a big part of it also needs to be how do you treat the talent you have and are you maximizing their potential, which is where I think the idea of empowerment really comes into play.

Maggie Laureano: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And Sarah, we do a lot of… We’re very focused on our talent, on their development, on giving them opportunities to grow, to develop within the company. I mean, it’s one thing, yes of course we can hire externally, and we do of course, but yes, with the talent shortage it’s become even more critical for companies and for us to look internally and see. I mean, in North America we’ve got about 6,300 employees. Let’s develop them, let’s understand what their desires are in terms of their career, and what we can do and work together to help them get there. We may have a diamond in the rough buried somewhere in our organization that we need to uncover and we need to help grow, and nurture, and support them in their development. And so that’s one of the things that we’ve been doing for several years is a very deep dive into our talent looking at who we’ve got, assessing them, working on individual development plans. So growing our own, if you will, has kind of been one of our missions in the last couple of years.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. Good. All right, so let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about… Okay, so you joined Bureau Veritas, you started taking a look and digging into okay, what’s the state of things, what needs addressed, what are the challenges, what are the opportunities, and your recognition of the talent shortage was one of the big things that came out of that work. So let’s talk about some of the actions you’ve taken to help address that challenge.

Maggie Laureano: Yeah, so early on when we saw the market start getting really, really competitive, and even before that, we’ve got pockets in our organization where historically it’s been very difficult to find talent. And so we started exploring could we create internships, could we create apprenticeships because some of our positions require certain certifications and you need to be overseen by an experienced professional in that particular area, and so we started to explore how can we again, grow our own, right? So hire more entry level junior people and help them grow, and get certified, and get the experience that they need. So we worked on that, we partnered with a number of different schools to do that.

Maggie Laureano: We also started tapping into very niche kind of publications and organizations for some of these positions and we became active with them. Well, let me before I go into it, I was going to talk about a management training program that we started, but even before that, so we started to take steps to see how we could build up our talent pool. But it became very clear that we needed really much more attention in that area and so to that end I hired an experienced talent acquisition leader and he joined us in January of this year. And Sarah, the transformation has been absolutely incredible and it’s come in a number of different ways. So his philosophy is he’s got a very unique way and methodology in which he and his team recruit. There’s a lot of data and analytics attached to it and so at any given moment you could see where the different candidates are in the process.

Maggie Laureano: Are they all residing with the recruiters being sourced? Or have the moved on to the hiring manager? Or are they in final interview stage or in offer stage? And on a daily basis you could see that graph moving. We have introduced artificial intelligence in order to do a lot of the sourcing for us and also, to provide us with market intelligence for different geographies and for different positions. And that has really been a game changer with our leaders because now, the recruiters have become more consultative with them. And so if we are hiring for someone at, I’m just going to make this up, at $18.00 an hour and the market is telling us with the data that we have that market rate is $22.00 an hour, and therefore we’re not really able attract talent, we need to pivot. We need to do something different.

Maggie Laureano: And that is exactly what has happened with us internally, our recruiters have become much more consultative because of the analytics that they have and we have been able to make some decisions internally about increasing starting salaries, increasing the salaries of our incumbents to become more competitive in the market. That’s been another way in which we’ve addressed this talent shortage is by bringing in some additional talent on the talent acquisition team that has really shifted the paradigm with regards to how even our leaders are looking the talent acquisition process. Now, we are much more partners and everybody has skin in the game, the hiring managers, the recruiters, everyone, and so we’re in it together.

Maggie Laureano: As I said, we’ve created a management training program. We’re partnering with the military to recruit from their databases. We’re focusing on a lot more on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we’ve got some KPIs associated with that, and we’re also creating our own kind of a ready talent pool for different types of positions in different geographies, so kind of hiring folks into this pool that we will tap into when the need arises. So a lot that we’ve done and I’ve rambled on for way too long on it, but I think it’s really helped us to turn the corner and I don’t know that we’re necessarily ahead of the curve, but we’re certainly not completely behind it. And a lot of the things that we’ve put into place are not necessarily going to bear fruit today or tomorrow, but they’re setting us up for success in the future.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Well, and I think this challenge is one where you have to take a long game approach and I think that’s part of the lesson folks are learning is in instances where you maybe used to be able to have success hiring based off of we want X years of experience doing this work, if those folks aren’t available then to your point, how do you get creative when it comes to growing your own experienced workforce? Right? So how can you look for certain skills, aptitudes, characteristics, et cetera that you can bring in and provide with the training and experience that will get them to the level that maybe you were able to hire at before, right? And I think a lot of organizations are just struggling with coming to grips with the amount of work that they have to do to grow talent that they maybe used to be able to get in easier ways.

Sarah Nicastro: So I think the grow your own philosophy is a very important one to embrace and take action on, and the sooner that you do that, the better your long term results are going to be. And I think that you’ll probably see that you are ahead of the curve when it comes to making those investments and how they pay off. But I also think the points you made about investing in talent acquisition resources and skills is important, as well as the technology piece, right? Because if you can leverage that technology to get actionable data both on where are we succeeding and why, and where are we struggling and why, that allows you the business intelligence to either replicate success or avoid those challenges and have better overall results. So I think those are all really good points.

Sarah Nicastro: The other thing I wanted to talk with you about is the program that BV has created, the Bureau Veritas Stem Scholars Program. So let’s talk a little bit about what that program is, what its intention is, and what role that plays in all of this.

Maggie Laureano: Yeah. Well, thanks for bringing that up. We’re really excited about that program. So we started that with an organization in New York City where a group of students were selected to go through a program to learn more about BV, what we do. So a lot of our leaders were involved in getting in front of those students and sharing all about our business, but then they were also given a project to work on. And it was incredible the level of engagement, of excitement, and really the outcome of the projects, right? So we’re excited about that. We are going to be expanding it into our other markets probably in Houston because that’s where we have a large presence as well, and so we’re working toward that. But Sarah, I mean, stem overall, as you know, not enough kids are going into those fields, right?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maggie Laureano: In college. And our company, Bureau Veritas is essentially at its core an engineering company and so it’s important. Yes, it’s selfish for us specifically, but I think overall for our country, if I might be so bold as to say that, we really need more students going into these fields and helping. We talked about recruiting and looking at the long term, same thing with this. We need to be a part of, BV needs to be a part of encouraging students going into stem careers and helping them in any way that we can. We’ve given these kids scholarships and we will do that with the next group when we expand this to Houston. It’s important that we lead the way in encouraging students to look at these careers and supporting them. And so I think our leaders having been so involved in the program and really demonstrating to them okay, so academically this is what you learn, but practically this is how it can be used in the workplace. And I think that connection to how it translates into real life is really important.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Now, just to clarify, if I understood this program correctly, you award these students a scholarship, but they do not have to use it to come to BV. Right? I mean, is there a tie for them to come and do anything in exchange?

Maggie Laureano: No, there are no strings attached.

Sarah Nicastro: No, so that was my understanding and I think that it is a long term strategy, right? But it’s an unselfish way to increase the awareness of some of the different career paths that might not be readily presented, right? And so we talked at the beginning of the conversation about how BV is a brand, the services and the outcomes of the organization are everywhere, but the name might not be known, right? And so how does that translate to recruiting if it’s a company that potential candidates are saying, what’s Bureau Veritas? And that’s a similar challenge for a lot of organizations, right?

Sarah Nicastro: And so I think this idea of how do we do different creative things to invest not only in our own bench of talent, but in increasing the overall awareness of career opportunities in this space, I think is a really important and really smart thing to do. And perhaps, more impactful because there isn’t a direct payoff necessarily or a selfish interest, it’s you’re helping young people with their career, and you’re increasing awareness, and those are really good things. I just think that’s a really, really cool initiative and something else that folks could take something from.

Maggie Laureano: Yep. Absolutely. And the other thing, you talk about brand recognition, you’re absolutely right. BV in Europe is very well known, but in North America much less so. And so we’ve tried… Not tried, we are actively working on our brand recognition throughout North America through social media and not just through our own internal marketing department, but even our talent acquisition team putting a lot of content out there in social media, videos, and just commenting, and being thought leaders in terms of what they put out there. And so trying in every way that we can to heighten the awareness of Bureau Veritas and as you said, through programs such as stem and we’re also very committed to corporate social responsibility, and so putting our name out there as well through programs linked to that.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah, very cool. So I know we talked about the fact that this is a long game, but what would you say about what you’ve found from these efforts thus far and sort of what you see on the horizon?

Maggie Laureano: So far what we are… We’re seeing a turnaround, as I said, with regards to our talent acquisition and partly because of the data that we have and the artificial intelligence that we’ve invested in, so that is really paying off. In addition, we’re making it easier, Sarah, for candidates to engage with us. So we’ve automated a lot of our processes for candidates and then new hires, so it’s not cumbersome and it’s not very time consuming to apply, to once their hired to go through the process, and so we’re trying to make it easier and more user friendly on the candidate side. And then internally, talk about growing our own and imagine the retention hopefully that we will have, right?

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Maggie Laureano: Because we’re investing in our people, because we’re giving them opportunities, because we’re listening to them to understand what it is that makes them tick and where they want to go in the organization, and so we’re seeing all of that beginning to bear fruit for us.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so I want to do kind of a rapid fire of words of wisdom. So some of these I think will be maybe summarizing or recapping points we’ve touched on, but we’ll just go through. So your advice on different areas of future of work, so number one is, how do we modernize recruiting? So what comes to mind as advice for steps to take to modernize that process?

Maggie Laureano: You know what? I think, and this is pretty selfish because of what we’ve done at BV, but having the right people in those roles. My head of talent acquisition is absolutely amazing. He is a thought leader, he is assertive. Data analytics has been critical for us, being consultative with our clients has been critical, and providing that market intelligence. So I think that all of those aspects of transforming your recruiting function, I think all of that is very, very important. And in a few short months that he has been here we have seen a change in the tide not just in improvement in our results, but also improvement in the collaboration with our hiring managers, and so it’s absolutely critical.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. Are there new roles that are imperative for folks to be considering for today’s landscape?

Maggie Laureano: I mean, I think going back to talent and what we just discussed, I think data scientists would be really, and I would love to have an intern data scientist on my team for a period of time, because business is driven by data and they make decisions based on data. And so the more that we are able to provide that, the more credible we will be, and the better we can make our case. So I think analytics in general is really important.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I agree. Okay, what’s your best piece of advice around retention of today’s workforce and particularly the younger generation?

Maggie Laureano: I think having a sense of purpose. I think the younger generation is really driven by not just the work, but doing good overall. And so I think all of our, for example, our corporate social responsibility efforts, and programs, and what we stand for as a company, I mean, BV as a company stands for, as I said, safety, and ethics, and providing that to our customers and so I think that sense of purpose. But in addition to that, right now, and actually as the pandemic continues to unfold, flexibility. Flexibility in the way in which they work and where they work I think is really, really important. We are finding more and more that when we’re making offers remote work is really important to people, not having to drive in to an office, or not even having to relocate for an opportunity. Obviously, that is not possible for every position, right?

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Maggie Laureano: But where it is possible, companies really ought to consider offering that to their candidates, to their new hires, and even to incumbent employees because that is a real differentiator between somebody choosing your company over another. And at Bureau Veritas we have become quite open and flexible in that regard.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. What would be your number one piece of advice for improving employee engagement and satisfaction?

Maggie Laureano: Sarah, there are many. There are very many, but I will tell you the one lever that I would pull with regards to that is assuming that we’ve got other things that contribute to employee engagement and satisfaction or the overall employee experience, but I would say the leaders. Leaders are the ones that… When an employee talks about the company that they work for, they’re really talking about their leader. They’re talking about the environment and the culture, if you will, that that leader is creating for their team and that could be very, very positive or very, very negative. And so I think having strong leadership, strong leaders that have been trained, that have strong EQ, that understand how they impact their employees, there’s so much that goes into it, but I would say that is the number one thing, in my opinion, that helps to drive a positive employee experience.

Sarah Nicastro: I agree. Okay, what is your top prediction around the future of work over the next five years?

Maggie Laureano: Oh my goodness, I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do think… I do think certainly going back to the issue of flexibility, I mean if that trend is to continue, being flexible in where and how we do work. And then that creates the challenge of measuring work, and performance, and all of that, but we’re facing that today. But I don’t know, Sarah, that would be my best guest.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Yeah. It will be interesting to see what happens and five years is a good chunk of time when you’re talking about these types of things.

Maggie Laureano: It sure is.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. All right, Maggie, last question for today, what is your proudest accomplishment thus far in your time at BV?

Maggie Laureano: Well, I think that we’ve done so many things to help improve the employee experience, which is, in my opinion, kind of the life’s mission of HR no matter where you are in HR. But I think my proudest achievement has been to assemble a team of HR professionals that really are helping to drive the value that HR can bring and working very, very closely, very collaboratively with our internal customers to really again, understand their needs and be flexible in the way that we deliver our services. But I couldn’t do it without the strong team that I have behind me and I think that for me that is probably the greatest accomplishment. I’ve got a great team of people, we’re all moving in the same direction, rowing the boat in the same direction, and we’ve got the same objective that we’re all striving for.

Sarah Nicastro: Yep. That makes a big difference. Well, thank you so much, Maggie. I was impressed in my research in all that you’ve accomplished in less than three years’ time and I appreciate you coming on and sharing some of your lessons learned and actions taken with our listeners.

Maggie Laureano: It’s my pleasure, Sarah. Thank you so much for having me.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. You can find more by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn and Twitter @thefutureoffs. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.