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‘Work-and-play’ culture in a BPO

Leading BPO company Telus International Philippines (TIP) is keen on building a culture of work-and-play in the workplace, by opening various special interest groups or clubs for its team members. One of which is the TIP Football Club.

Established in the second quarter of 2014, TIP’s Football Club came to be after several Cameroonian Telus team members decided to apply to expand the company’s existing Special Interest Groups, to include a Football Club. The said members have played for professional football teams from their respective countries such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Congo.  TIP’s Special Interest Group program is run independently by team members such as photography, water sports, running, dance, music, gaming, mountaineering, chorale and drama club.

TIP’s Football Club started with 14 members, but in two years, has grown to 60 comprising currently employed team members and those who have left the company. It is home to TIP team members from across the metro’s five sites either amateurs or professionals in the sport, all working hard to balance their day job with their other passion.

“Our club includes team managers, operations managers, team leads and business analysts,” says TIP trainer Ian Iturralde, presently TIP’s Football Club captain.

“It’s nice being surrounded by people who have the same goal of doing more and bettering themselves not just in work, but also in sports.”

Legit athletes

TIP’s Football Club doesn’t limit its members to just appreciation of the sport. Hence, it also engages its members in real action by sending them out to tournaments.

The club has been an active contender at the Call Center Olympics (CCO), an annual multi-sports tournament among BPOs in the country. Despite an emerging club, the club has won second runner-up in 2015 and first runner-up this year.

The Telus International Football Club works hard and plays harder
The club has also participated and succeeded in other major competitions and exhibitions. It won first runner-up honors at the 2015 Corporate Football League’s Yuppies Cup, apart from starring in the Escapada Cup—a La Salle-sponsored league inviting teams from different areas in Luzon for friendly matches.

The high stakes and level of competition thus invite the members to train like real athletes. Every Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m., they’re at the Ascom Football Field in Taguig City getting their feet dirtied with Coach Remi Ndeh and Iturralde taking charge.

“We have a more frequent training schedule when it’s the season,” adds Iturralde.

The club, however, also finds time to bond by “spending a little time for dinner or a quick movie, or going bowling after every training.”

An inclusive, all-loving group

Like the rest of the company’s special interest groups, TIP’s Football Club values inclusivity and cultivates personal development among its members.

“What we are at the club aligns with TIP’s core values: finding the courage to innovate, believing in spirited teamwork, developing passion for growth, and embracing change and in initiating opportunity,” says Iturralde.

“We innovate by boosting work-life balance. We foster teamwork by functioning as a family. We discuss issues and allow each other to grow with no badmouthing. We are also an accepting club that embraces change and opportunities, with no barriers whatsoever. The club, for example, has around 10-12 females in the group and that’s no issue.”

Apart from the football club, TIP also has clubs focused on mountaineering, biking, mixed martial arts, billiards, and even singing. Iturralde thus appreciates TIP’s efforts in building and maintaining interest groups in a busy working environment like that of BPOs.

“The BPO industry is a busy workplace, with many of its employees juggling other things like school and sports. We always need ‘therapy’ especially after a stressful workday. While we have a gym at TIP, the football club lets us play sports and keeps us fit.”

“We at the club are athletes who look for challenges every day,” says Iturralde, who prior to joining TIP more than a year ago, played football for 12 years at San Beda College.

“The winning attitude is always in someone but TIP gave us the strength to be more and realize that we could always be better versions of ourselves.”

Topics: Telus International Philippines (TIP) , TIP Football Club , Remi Ndeh , Ian Iturralde
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