Tychy is located 40 kilometers south-east of Gliwice. Former production halls have given way to spacious offices. Snippets of conversations zip through the rooms amidst the clattering of fingers on keyboards. The new Europe People Services Center (EPS) operates from here. It assumed responsibility for providing services to more than 20 Opel-/Vauxhall plants and centers in Europe on 1 April 2015. “We’ve been busy making preparations for months,” explains Agnieszka Zacher-Łanowska, Europe People Services Implementation Manager. She has been conducting interviews with potential employees, planning processes, and organizing the structure of the department since last summer.
The opening of the department is of great importance to the entire city, which was previously only ever considered a production location. The largest Polish brewer has its headquarters here. Hard coal mining and the construction materials and engineering industries also play a big role. But what about the service industry? “Kraków and Łódź are traditionally seen as locations for service activities, not Tychy.” According to Agnieszka Zacher-Łanowska, “The department signals a change in how the city is perceived. We’ve shown that it’s possible to establish a service sector here.”
“That’s why highly qualified employees are so important,” says Zacher-Łanowska. Employees have to be able to speak at least two languages perfectly, including English, and they need to have completed the relevant specialist training. “The internal application procedure allowed us to acquire some employees from automotive production for the new department.” These are expert GMMP employees, who bring both skills and entrepreneurship to the table.
a dedicated Team
Krzysztof Tkaczyk, an expert in production quality, is one of them. He knows how to effectively manage processes in automotive production, but do these skills transfer to the job of a service provider? “Of course,” he says. “You need the same skills here in the office as you do in the plant: commitment, the ability to carry out tasks quickly, and the drive to continually improve processes.” It’s always an exciting challenge to build something from the ground up: “We’re a dedicated team, with an age range from young experts right through to old hands like myself.”
What is EPS tasked with? In a nutshell, it carries out work for the company’s employees in matters relating to salary and personnel. “New employees get their ID number from us, and we calculate salaries and bonuses,” explains Barbara Müller, HR Operations Manager. It doesn’t matter whether it’s payroll accounting for employees in Germany, Poland, or Portugal. “Our employees have to be familiar with local provisions and processes in order to ensure the employee gets the best possible support. Managing salary and personnel tasks is a big responsibility.” Barbara Müller is proud of the fact that a Polish site was selected for this task. “It proves that our skills are valued.”
Two Portuguese employees – Joad Manuel Coelho and Elder Huberto – have settled in to life in Tychy perfectly. Portuguese language skills are essential for communication with customers in Portugal. “We used to live in Katowice and work for Capgemini, which worked for GMMP,”Joao explains. “When GM insourced those operations, we were able to find work here, too.”
Everything is digital
Joao and Elder aren’t afraid of cultural differences. “We live in a digital world where there are firm rules about transmitting and storing information,” says Joao. Digitalization means that the department is able to operate a paperless working environment. There are no filing cabinets, no folders, and no stacks of documents. “Everything is digital, even the processes,” explains Agnieszka Zacher-Łanowska. Why, you ask? “We don’t have time to move stacks of paper from one place to the next. We have to deal with our tasks immediately.”
What does this mean for employees?
Email addresses, phone numbers and the portal on Socrates will stay the same for the time being. The only change is that when calling the Service Center, you will now be connected to one of the new colleagues in Tychy. Within the next three months, we will also implement new Service Center tools and forms as well as a new portal. You will be informed separately about the go-live dates.