Our people

Oya Gur: For 10 years we’ve grown with innovative technologies and talented teams

An interview for Capital.bg with Coca-Cola Hellenic Business Services Organization & Shared Services Transition Director on the eve of BSO’s 10th anniversary

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1.    What was 2021 like for BSO? How was it different from 2020?

2021 was a great year for Coca-Cola Hellenic and similarly for the Business Services Organization. It’s a year when our business is growing back to 2019 levels and beyond in most of our markets and we are expanding our scope of work in the BSO. We established a second hub in Thessaloniki Greece primarily for a new process we took over in the area of route settlement. We expanded our workforce by around 12% in 2021 and we are looking forward to further expansion in scope of services next year. 2021 is also a very special year for the BSO because we are celebrating our ten years as an organization. This year we also organized a first of its kind shared services conference in Bulgaria together with our two System partners, namely, The Coca-Cola Company Global Delivery Center and Coca-Cola Euro Pacific Partners Shared Services, we have joined forces to accelerate our journey to continuous improvement, explore technology as a business transformations driver and share how we see the culture of tomorrow as a key enabler in the new digital world. More importantly we invited all other major shared services in Bulgaria to this conference to learn together, share experiences and best in class practices.

2.    What were the challenges for BSO this year, having in the mind the pandemic and the global economic issues?

The main challenge continued to be engagement of our employees as most of our people continue to work from home. Over the past eighteen months we have learned to be creative to come up with interesting and fun ways of communicating and engaging with our teams. It requires a lot of dedicated effort from line managers to make sure they build the team spirit, create a sense of belonging and instill the Coca-Cola Hellenic culture. Additionally, onboarding of new joiners in a completely virtual world has also been challenging and we especially encourage new joiners and their line managers to have quality face time in the office. We also used the summer months of June and July to organize small and safe team gatherings and events to strengthen team bonding.

3.    A year and a half into the pandemic how does the BSO team work? Is working under such circumstances different?

We have been working mainly from home since March 2020. We did open our office in May 2020 but still gave the option to work from home to all our employees. As the weather got better and COVID-19 cases reduced significantly more employees started visiting the office from May 2021 onwards. Teams had an opportunity to meet face to face in various safe team gatherings especially in June 2021. Our teams proved to be effective and supporting each other no matter where they work from – from the office, their homes or from an open space in the mountain.

For the future we are going to embrace a hybrid approach and employees are free to choose between various combinations of working from home and office based on their preference. Our whole organization is well equipped technologically to work remotely and more importantly we have found ways to meeting online, teaching online, having fun online, onboarding online and every day our people come up with more ideas.

4.    From your perspective, as a manager, does remote work offers more positives or negatives?

I think there are both positives and also downsides of remote work. The power of face- to-face interaction is still strong therefore we strongly recommend to our employees to go for a hybrid approach where they can decide how many days each week they spend in the office. Especially for new joiners we think at least 50% office presence in the first three months will help them a lot in their onboarding. We observed the same and in some cases even higher productivity during remote work so its not a matter of productivity but more social interaction, building team spirit and corporate culture. Therefore, we strongly advise team leaders to have their teams in the office at least once a month to build this connection. On the other hand, especially our employees who spent a considerable amount of time commuting to and from work, find this flexible scheme much better for their work life balance. There is no one solution that fits all cause personal circumstances make a huge difference hence we came up with a flexible policy giving our people the option to choose based on their preferences. Productivity will only improve when our employees are happy.

5.    What innovations were introduced in the company because of the pandemic?

We stretched our imagination and limits to come up with ways of doing business differently. There is almost nothing we are not able to do virtually. We learned to recruit, onboard, train, meet, have conferences and even fun virtually. None of our big projects were slowed down due to the pandemic and we did workshops that used to happen face-to-face in front of a flipchart also virtually. The technology tools we are equipped with expanded a lot to enable all of this possible.

6.       What do you expect for next year – for the company and in a broader sense?

As BSO we are continuously working on expansion of our service scope and there are a few such projects next year also. I expect more challenges and more successes, more opportunities for us as BSO to support Coca-Cola HBC’s growth across all of our markets – for the last 10 years we’ve proved we can do that. And I’m very much looking forward to exploring further opportunities for strengthening our teams capabilities and navigating as an organization in the digital world.


The interview is available in Bulgarian on Capital.bg