Staying on top of Covid-19 announcements is all in a day’s work for Tracy, who is XLN’s longest-standing female employee, with more than 11 years’ service under her belt. Ahead of XLN’s 20th birthday celebrations she explains why she likes being here so much.
How long have you worked at XLN?
I joined XLN in December 2010.
Why did you apply for a job here?
I used to work as an administrator for the NHS, then I moved to Spain for three and a half years. When I returned one of my husband’s friends worked at XLN and said they were looking for people, so I gave him my CV.
What was your role when you joined?
I joined as a Credit Control agent and was awful at it. I just didn’t get it, all the billing cycles and the direct debit dates, and I was literally given a month to pull my socks up. My poor boss was sick of me asking the same questions over and over again. Then fortunately an opening came up in the Faults department, trying to fix people’s phone lines, so I asked if I could apply for that. My manager was like, please do, and I never looked back.
I loved working in Faults, and then an opening came up for a receptionist in our old building in Vauxhall. After being the receptionist for a while I was made Office Manager and was part of the relocation team moving the company to our current location in Millbank. Then I became Facilities Manager of our London and Sheffield offices, coming into the London office at least once a week during the first lockdown to make sure there were no leaks or problems. Prior to our phased return to work, with my manager I organised additional cleaning, sanitisers, signage and so on for both offices so we could be sure they were as safe as possible for staff to return.
What is your role now?
I am the Health and Safety Manager and am responsible for the health and safety of roughly 350 employees across both offices and Field Sales. I am the ‘go-to’ person for any health and safety queries and I carry out risk assessments for pregnant employees, and for employees who have health issues. I am also the single point of contact for all things Covid, which means keeping up to date with what is going on, liaising with the directors, and keeping employees informed about the latest Covid policies, for example on social distancing, isolation and what tests to take and when. I am the key contact for the national and local health authorities that XLN has been working with throughout the pandemic to ensure we are Covid-19 compliant. I still deal with other facility-related issues such as security, key holding, vending machines, and cleaning with the support of two very effective Office Administrators.
What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
Meeting people from all walks of life and at all different levels, from the Chairman to new starters. I also really like going on courses to improve my skills.
What is the most challenging aspect of it?
Trying to get across how important health and safety is without talking down to people, and doing it in a way that keeps a balance between business continuity and staff safety. Dealing with Covid has obviously been a big challenge – when I sent a copy of our first Covid-19 site risk assessment to our Building Managers I wrote at the bottom of the email, “let’s hope we are not having the same conversation this time next year” – and here we are nearly two years later having exactly the same conversation!
How has the business changed since you started?
There is more interaction between departments now. When I first joined, I didn’t really know anyone from other departments, but now everyone ‘mucks in’ and has a real can-do attitude.
Why have you stayed at XLN so long?
Because I feel it is a good fit for me, and I feel like I am still learning new things all the time, especially with the pandemic. I enjoy my role; there’s so much to do at XLN and I know I can add real value in supporting the business.
What is XLN like to work for?
It is really fast-paced and super-friendly, and there are many different roles so there is room for growth. When I started as a Credit Control agent, I was ready to leave because I couldn’t do it and knew it wasn’t the job for me. It just goes to show that just because you are not enjoying what you are doing, it doesn’t mean it is the company you are not enjoying, it could just be the role.