Boomerang’s values align with national celebration
On Saturday the 24th of September the people of South Africa celebrate Heritage Day, a public holiday on which we recognise the wealth and diversity of our Rainbow Nation and our shared national identity. And we’ll do this in a uniquely South African way – around the braai (elsewhere known as a BBQ) with friends.
Our different customs, clothing and language help to forge the meaningful people connections that are intrinsic to the Boomerang SA business offering. In fact, these differences, rather than creating a divide, add spice and interest as we get into the mindset of becoming curious about one another.
Division may be in our past, not to be forgotten, but embracing all races and all genders brightens our present and the many gifts of multicultural sharing of knowledge beckon in the future.
An acknowledgment of national heritage underscores the reason that, taking pride of place in a staff common area at Boomerang, there stands an immersive work of art created in a community NGO project called Intle Art based in the historic harbour village of Hout Bay.
The artwork is a giant portrait of Nelson Mandela, a name synonymous with forging South Africa’s almost miraculous path to healing.
Boomerang CEO, Robert Joubert recalled: “When I spotted and purchased the painting, I remember thinking that Mandela, among many other things, is a symbol of the living heritage of South Africa. To have found such a radiant and intense painting representing the unmistakable likeness of Madiba, and to buy it from an NGO that stood for under-represented people, was an opportunity I simply could not pass up.”
And, like the best collector’s pieces, there is a marvelous story behind this picture. Intle Art is a community youth project that promotes aspiring young artists from the areas of Imizamo Yethu and the Harbour communities, teaching and mentoring them in the development of their artistic and entrepreneurial skills and producing art for sale. From training to conception, painting to selling, it all happens under one roof.
Mark Tondori, an artist and mentor at Intle Art, explains: “The outline of the artwork was created here, and the kids from Intle filled out the colour with our guidance. It formed part of a fundraiser on Mandela Day, where people contributed to ‘paint a square of freedom’. To me, Madiba represents tenacity, courage and the desire for freedom. His goal to liberate his countrymen showed the world that perseverance pays, in any goal you want to achieve.”
Considering the Boomerang SA value of creating meaningful people connections, nothing unites us in our national heritage more than gathering around an open fire and cooking a good meal. For this reason Heritage day is also known as Braai Day, and in a country as diverse as South Africa, this is one activity we all have in common. There’s nothing quite like food, fire and music to bring people together.
Boomerang wishes all its staff and clients a humdinger of a Heritage Day, and while our local staff will be partying around the customary braai, we invite our overseas clients to channel their inner South Africans tomorrow, get in on the celebrations and make a feast of your own.
One hat I wear as a coach is as a facilitator at Boomerang SA with an eye to coaching the contact centre agents on those all-important people skills that are so vital to the customer experience environment.
As such, I was invited to the team building conference. In short, it was a Saturday well spent. Here’s my take on the day:
With Boomerang growing the way it is, new and interesting clients coming on board and staff stepping up into leadership positions across the board, CEO Rob Joubert reckoned the best thing to do was to get everyone together under one roof, for a weekend team-build of note. Great call Rob.
First thing I noticed stepping into the conference venue (besides the stunning view over Long Beach) was the sheer energy in the room. Granted, presenter at the time Selina Mutale was delivering some impressively straightforward guidelines to new team leaders on how to best engage their teams with a view to transforming performance from good to great; the kind of stuff you’ll never find in a book. It was obvious her advice came from years of on-the-ground call centre experience, and the applause afterwards was testament to its value.
The Boomerang team-build was themed CX-MEN, a crafty play on words incorporating CX, the latest buzzword that elevates customer service to customer experience, with a well-known band of talent called the X-Men, who get things done like, well, superheroes.
In a nutshell, the day brought a fun-filled workshop to dig into the questions: “What is your superpower, how does it link back to our values, and how do you embody those in the workplace?” With clothing and merch to match, it was an inspirational way of asking management to find their personal alignment with company values.
We heard about the Boomerang story from founder Rob and how the contact centre grew organically, then in leaps and bounds, as well as how the years have brought challenges to overcome and successes to celebrate, bringing the contact centre to the cusp on which it now lies, with rapid expansion and new clients.
Which is why it is so important that each staff member be encouraged to find his or her superpower, that set of personal strengths that can be leveraged in a positive way at work. At the end of the day, we spend the majority of our time at the office, so how do we use our “superpowers” to make it enjoyable and productive?
Rob adds: “With Covid and everyone having been locked into their workspace bubbles, there was an opportunity to get everyone together for quality time, of course observing the Covid protocols, especially considering we have appointed a group of new team leaders with the added campaigns at Boomerang.
“Getting these new leaders on the same page with regard to the Boomerang values and ethic is a vital underpinning to the job we have ahead.”
With no further ado, the Boomerang company values are Target Driven, Professionalism, Respect, Integrity and Having Fun. Each manager was asked to reflect on their own “superpowers” and how these resonate with Boomerang values.
Zaid Cornelius, a successful team lead on a UK client account, was clear that his superpowers are, as he says: “honesty and being a people’s person”, and that these align with his personal values in that he sees clear and honest communication as being key to everyday life. In the office, Zaid adds: “I embody this superpower 24/7, 365 days a year. This can be asked of anyone in the office, I’m not one to boast but I feel that I’m settled in quite firmly with the Boomerang family and it has truly been an experience like no other.”
Marriam van Niekerk of the life insurance sales team picked helpfulness as this superpower resonates with her values of care, empathy and understanding. She says: “Within the workplace being helpful, to me, is about being trustworthy, being loyal and showing respect and integrity, plus always completing tasks to the best of my ability.Respecting my colleagues and being a shoulder to depend on, that is why helpfulness is a superpower.
Marriam adds that her top moment of the day, besides the excitement, was witnessing the sense of unity among all participants.
Virginia Lekota from an insurance campaign was quick to speak up for ‘fun and passion’, saying these superpowers “drive me to achieve goals I have set for myself, as well as have a positive outlook on life”. In the office, she says, “I believe in creating an environment where people look forward to coming to work and achieve their targets. Showing my passion for sales helps motivate others. If people see your love for the job they start finding reason to love the job, to enjoy the positives and accept the negatives that come with a day-to-day sales floor.”
Simone Roussow from human resources, says that her superpower of being able to read other people really well, helps her evaluate to what degree people have Boomerang’s best interests at heart, and her ‘having fun’ powers bring on the light-heartedness that encourages staff to enjoy their work day.
Rob the CEO was asked about his particular superpowers, and says that he found himself having to choose two, these being integrity and target-driven. He says: “Achieving targets, because that is what is required, but by maintaining integrity, that’s what I’m about.”
Asked about how he sees this ethos being translated toall staff, Rob says: “If your values are aligned with another person, then a relationship becomes possible. If there is a divergence in values, in the long run this jeopardises relationship. We have chosen company values that best reflect what we are about.”
Everyone’s handprints on a giant canvas, with their superpower written in as a promise, a commitment to take forward into managing their teams, provided a powerful moment to wrap up the day.