Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, whose Mission is to enable their customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. The Budapest site, home to Thermo Fisher’s Global Business Services, has grown significantly over the last year with the opening of a new IT Center of Excellence and hiring more than 200 talented multilinguals.
Thermo Fisher’s global shared services Vice President Dénes Láng talks to the Budapest Business Journal about this impressive growth and how putting people first during COVID-19 drove measurable business results and improved employer branding.
BBJ: How did the Budapest Global Business Services’s story start, and how far have you come?
Dénes Láng: My driver has always been to build something new and special. To open the Hungarian multi-functional center under my leadership in 2018 was a great challenge especially because the company started our shared services journey quite late. We are working to close a gap of 10-plus years within half that time. Since then, we have gone from zero employees to 500 in three years. Because of our people-focused culture, the company’s growth goes hand-in-hand with personal development. In our first two years, 30% of our colleagues were promoted; I, for example, have come to now lead a global organization responsible for shared services.
BBJ: How did the pandemic affect the company?
DL: As a world leader serving science, the company played a crucial role in the fight against the pandemic. In the past year, Thermo Fisher has contributed to countless COVID-19-related projects, played a central role in vaccine development and commercialization, and accelerated investments to support the pandemic response. Fighting COVID has led to many new business opportunities and increased customer expectations; therefore, there was an immense need for growth.
Due to growing demand, the Budapest site faced new HR challenges. Initially, we focused on business services center positions; However, later in 2020, operations were expanded with a new IT Center of Excellence targeting IT professionals. The business strategy for 2020 included the construction of an entirely new IT function. In the middle of the global pandemic, we needed something new - a robust approach to our recruitment processes to achieve our strategic goals. So, we decided to put employer branding at the center of our strategy.
BBJ: What were your aims when building this strategy?
DL: When we built the strategy, we recognized the integral role that employer branding had in supporting the broader business strategy. Our program, which was awarded this year by the Hungarian Public Relations Association, Hungarian Outsourcing Association, and HRKOMM [a competition for the HR and communications professions], provided an integrated approach to candidate experience, employee engagement, social media online recruitment, and university presence. Our goals were to raise brand awareness, have an impact on employee retention, hire at least 60 IT professionals, and involve around 10% of our colleagues in our initiatives.
BBJ: What were the key components of the program?
DL: Initially, the program focused on the establishment of the IT Center of Excellence. Later, the employer brand initiative was extended to the entire organization: Customer Care, HR, and Finance, as well as IT. Forty-six colleagues applied to participate in the program. The most significant innovation was the podcast ‘Career Stories Behind the Science’. This unique format had not previously been used in employer branding in the SSC sector in Hungary. It can be integrated into all points of the employee experience lifecycle while supporting the business strategy.
The program’s impact was clear: we retained our all-time low turnover during the pandemic, we succeeded in involving 56 brand ambassadors in the program, implemented innovative employer branding solutions like the podcast, and built relevant campus relationships reaching more than 18,000 students. Finally, we managed to hire more than 60 IT professionals. We are proud that our case study was published in the Employer Branding Excellence Study Book as the only Hungarian example in 2021.
BBJ: What are Thermo Fisher Budapest operation’s future plans?
DL: The goal of Thermo Fisher shared services model is to be the backbone of the company and our Budapest operations plays a critical regional role in achieving that. We are currently working on personnel growth, continuing our employer branding activities and further developing functional skills of the team. We are planning to expand the services in scope and scale to improve customer experience and stakeholder satisfaction.
This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of November 19, 2021.