Building a Shared Vision for Business Services
The Budapest Business Journal speaks with American Chamber of Commerce CEO Írisz Lippai-Nagy about its unique BSS Project, which aims to bring together business services players to improve the branding of the sector.
Írisz Lippai-Nagy, CEO of AmCham.
BBJ: What was the inspiration for the BSS Project?
Írisz Lippai-Nagy: The story began with BT’s Generation Z survey, where the company asked youngsters about their expectations, beliefs and fears regarding their careers and work opportunities. The results showed that a major portion of respondents had never even heard of the business service sector (BSS). However, two-thirds of those who are familiar with the industry find service centers favorable career destinations. Thus, our next goal crystallized: we had to raise awareness of this sector in the labor market.
Upon the invitation of BT, a few BSCs started working together on a sector branding project in 2018. Members, most of them competitors, identified the differentiating advantages and created a common value proposition of the industry.
Moved by the urge to take the initiative to the next level, the members agreed to use AmCham’s platform. In February 2019, the initiative was taken to the next level by becoming a new project of AmCham Hungary. Now, we have more than 20 BSCs, a few consultant companies, and the Hungarian Service and Outsourcing Association supporting the initiative, and the project has been titled BSS Hungary.
BBJ: What are its basic goals?
ÍL-N: The mission is to raise the awareness and attractiveness of the sector, and to promote BSS as a career choice. We also outlined our vision; namely, the business services sector will be:
• Among the top three sectors in terms of awareness (Randstad employer brand research 2020; No. 8 in 2018);
• Considered a great potential career choice for secondary school and higher education students, university students, and their parents;
• The sector which attracts the most Hungarians working abroad and foreigners to Hungary.
In line with our mission and vision, a detailed strategy was designed, including a communication and branding plan, as well as event related action points.
BBJ: How unusual is this, in your experience?
ÍL-N: We have several Policy Task Forces and committees working within the AmCham network, where companies from certain industries work together with the purpose of creating the ideal environment for their respective sectors, and improving the competitiveness of Hungary through legislative proposals, action plans, and position papers. We have seen great alliances and very effective representation of our members’ interests within these working groups, uniting expertise and personal dedication. However, BSS is the very first industry-branding project in our history and we see an astonishingly high level of commitment to this unique project from our partners. Despite the fact that it entails cooperation between competitors, the BSS Project has also become a real community.
BBJ: How many companies are involved? Is this being driven by AmCham, the companies, or both?
ÍL-N: Currently, 22 companies participate in the project, most of which are business service centers, but our ranks are boosted with various professional partners like HR consultancy firms and the HOA. The number of companies joining the project is growing; currently, they include: Albemarle, Aldi, Blackrock, BP, BT, Celanese, Citi, Corning, CPL Integrated Services, Diageo, Deloitte, Eaton, ExxonMobil, IBM, Karrie Hungária, Lexmark, National Instruments, Randstad, TATA Consultancy Services, Thermos Fisher Scientific, and Unisys.
We operate in two workstreams: Sector Branding and Events. The project is driven by AmCham; however, most of the work comes from the member companies. Both working groups have regular meetings which are often hosted by different member companies to get to know each other better. There is even an in-house competition within the event working group members to decide who provides the most delicious food during the meetings.
BBJ: What steps have been taken?
ÍL-N: Besides creating a branding strategy and an employee value proposition framework, a brand-new bilingual website (bsshungary.com) was launched to provide relevant information about the sector, accompanied by social media channels to connect with the younger generation.
Beyond that, two major events were organized in 2019. In early October, a stage was dedicated to the BSS Project at the HVG Job Fair, one of the largest and most important career events in the country. AmCham hosted panel discussions delving into the mystery behind business service centers and providing an overview of the career opportunities the sector offers.
I think it is a testament to the devotion of the members that, in these panels, more than 30 participants-- employees ranking from CEOs to career starters—had the opportunity to share their experience and perspective of their career in BSCs. We wanted the discussions to be both informative and personal. Authenticity and relatability are very important for the success of this project.
An open-doors event series, titled “firstname.lastname@example.org” was also organized throughout October and November, where 15 companies invited young talents to their offices, providing an inside look into the work and the culture of BSCs.
BBJ: Is there any state involvement?
ÍL-N: This is an industry-cooperation based project; however, we are keeping our government partners informed. We have regular communications with the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency and keep them posted on progress and achievements. The BSS project will be represented at the annual HIPA-HOA Business Services Hungary 2019 conference on November 28 at Hotel Kempinski.
BBJ: How will you judge the project a success?
ÍL-N: This year is a pilot period for the project. We have set up KPIs, mostly on how successful we are in reaching out to our target groups. However, in this case, evaluation cannot be based simply on figures. There is a major intangible result, so in my view, this cooperation is already a success. we managed to bring so many competitors together to work towards one goal. That is what AmCham does. It is truly inspiring.
BSS Project meeting at the AmCham offices.
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