Employee Spotlight: Jessica, Collections Manager
Jessica Radford joined Hilton-Baird in March 2023 as Collections Manager. Her vital and varied role focuses on overseeing and managing the performance of our team of collections advisors on a day-to-day basis to ensure the best results for our clients.
Where did you start your career and what was your path to Hilton-Baird?
I started my career in telecommunications and mobile phone technology. I was made redundant which gave me a chance to reflect on what I wanted which was to get back into another office space, but with the opportunity for more in-depth interactions rather than basic customer services, where you only speak to people once. I wanted to be able to have ongoing relationships, so I went to work for a funder that specialised in construction finance. I then worked for another similar funder.
I was initially attracted to the role at Hilton-Baird as I had previously worked in management at the first company and was keen to do so again, as well as being more involved with client services and embracing a new challenge. My previous experience provided me with a solid understanding of invoice finance and collectability of debt which gave me great insight to be able to do my role at Hilton-Baird effectively. It was an exciting opportunity and, the way this role intertwined with my previous role, I knew it would be a good fit for me.
What do you enjoy about working at Hilton-Baird?
I think that Hilton-Baird is a really well-established industry name. People respect the name and there are so many knowledgeable people within the business that bring rich and varied expertise, based on their backgrounds. Everybody works together as a team incredibly well. I feel it’s one of the first times actually that I’ve worked for a company where it’s not all on your shoulders – everybody works as a team so well to produce results.
I’m just very proud to work for them as a company. It was the best move I made joining Hilton-Baird.
Is being part of a team important to you?
Absolutely. Obviously, there will always be times where you have tasks that you need to concentrate on yourself so you need solo time to focus and understand the ins and outs of the job at hand. But, as a whole, I think everybody has got something they bring to the table that helps us to work well as a team. Having that team spirit and achieving results together is really important.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?
I think the most rewarding part of my role is achieving results as a team and being able to present that back to them. There have been so many achievements, from small day-to-day wins to larger more comprehensive successes, and it’s so important to feed that back to the team when they’ve done a good job – I find it really satisfying. Particularly, when we’ve invested a lot of time and effort into getting the desired result between the client and ourselves.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I like to log in a little bit early because I like to settle in, make sure all my IT is working and have a look through yesterday’s action points to see if there’s anything that needs to be brought across to that day. I will then check in with the team to report back on targets and deadlines that we need to meet for that day. I go through my emails, maybe take a little bit of time to go back to clients and to any employee queries.
I create a to-do list to enable me to prioritise properly because it’s a fast-paced system so it’s not going to be the same things that we’re doing every day. We may have new instructions that come in or maybe a big reconciliation that needs completing, or we might have client meetings or, as a manager, I regularly have meetings with my staff.
So I’ll create a prioritisation list and share that with my team so they know where I’m going to be. And then obviously just generally looking out for the team throughout the day, reporting back to clients and hitting deadlines that we’ve been set as a business.
Would you say the social aspect of your working life is important to you?
Very much so. And I think we’re lucky as everybody in the team is a character. It’s really nice that we’ve got such an exciting team and people from all walks of life. Everybody’s got a big friendly smile and a story to tell, and I think we’ve got a really good relationship across the team that we nurture, even if we’re working remotely.
We have calls on Teams to have a face-to-face chat, and obviously we all meet up and socialise as a business, not just for our department but the companies across the group. And I’ve got to know faces from across all the businesses. Having these important connections assists with your day-to-day working, and just creates a better environment.
Why does hybrid working suit you and your team?
I don’t live locally to the office so am predominantly home based. I go into the office as part of the management role, if there are any important meetings or anything that’s HR related, but also I like to travel down and make a decent trip out of it. I’ll go for three or four days to work with the whole team in the office and also we usually will have an evening out to maintain that connection.
The nice thing about hybrid working is that overall you have a much better work: life balance. When you finish work you’re home already so you have time to take care of life admin and to enjoy life around work more freely. Overall, it’s just a it’s a nicer quality of life.
Where do you see your career progressing? What are your career goals?
I’ve only been doing this job for a short amount of time and this was a career goal of mine. For the last five years, my goal has been to be able to get into a position where I really enjoyed my working environment again. To have a role where I like being around my colleagues and I am thriving, and I feel like I’m just getting into that space where I’m getting to grips with the role and I’m really enjoying where I am. So, I feel like I’ve hit my five year target!
What makes you strive to be the best that you can be in your role?
Genuinely, the reason I try so hard in my role is because I really like who I work for. I really like the directors in the business and I’m very proud to work for Alex. I feel a real sense of job satisfaction. I push myself out of my comfort zone and I’ll achieve results from it and think where on earth did that come from? And it’s down to the fact that the directors have full trust in everything that I do and I really appreciate that. I also think that they give me a level of respect that I haven’t had before from a company. I’ve been quite taken aback by how thoughtful, understanding and positive the management team are.
Why should someone join the Hilton-Baird team?
For all of the reasons above. And I know this is probably quite cliché, but I do think joining Hilton-Baird was the best move that I’ve made in my career. The management team are generous and friendly and it doesn’t matter what level you are in the business, everybody is treated with a huge amount of respect and it goes a long way.
Join Our Team
Would you like to be a part of our friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable team? Find out more about the opportunities available to take your career forward with Hilton-Baird here.