Why it’s an exciting time to be working in ever-changing financial services industry

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    Progressive's John Boyle. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye

    In the My Kind of Job spotlight this week is John Boyle, senior manager (support services, mortgages and savings) at Progressive Building Society

    What’s your job?

    As senior manager – support services, I oversee the operational administrative functions of both mortgages and savings within head office. These teams support the branch network and are key for the overall success of the business, therefore maintaining high service levels and standards is crucial. Process review and development plays a large part of my job, ensuring that they remain efficient and effective but also relevant to the needs of our members.

    How did you get there?

    I joined Progressive after university in a savings administrative role before transferring to the IT department where I remained for eight years in a number of development roles. I then moved into management within the Society as business change manager and then became a senior manager before moving into my current role last year.

    Do you have a typical working day?

    No. Most days involve meetings and team discussions with each day throwing up its own challenges – but that is what makes the job so enjoyable. Each day starts out with a quick scan of emails and I like to check online news sites to see if there are any stories relating to the financial sector. At Progressive we create a working environment that enables staff to flourish and I find the best way to get the most out of my team is to meet with them regularly in order to maximise efforts and achieve the very best results. Key to this is keeping staff fully briefed on both live projects and plans that we are working on for the next six to 12 months.

    What qualifications do you have?

    Before joining Progressive in 2002, I graduated from Queen’s University with a BA degree in history and politics. More recently, I completed a Masters (MSc) in leadership and management in Loughborough University, something which Progressive fully supported. As well as making a financial contribution they allowed me extra days for study leave which I was really grateful for. The Society is passionate about encouraging the further learning and development of its employees and wants to make sure all staff reach their full potential.

    What other skills do you need in your role?

    Good communication, interpersonal and leadership skills are key. The ability to be self-aware, take a step back and critique oneself is vital as it allows you to continually develop and improve as a manager. I also have strong work values and personal integrity, which stands me in good stead within the organisation.

    What’s the best thing about your job?

    Honestly working with a team of people that you genuinely gel with is the best thing about working at Progressive. I obviously like what I do but working with a group of people who are pulling together for the overall success of the company is very rewarding. There are also great perks including flexible working patterns, work from home days, a health and wellbeing programme and internal management training which is provided every six months. Progressive firmly believes in encouraging employees to achieve the right balance between work and their personal lives.

    And the worst?

    Nobody really enjoys Monday mornings, do they?

    What do you think are the greatest challenges/pressures of the job?

    At a business level, the financial services industry is an ever-changing industry to work in especially with the development of technology and increases in regulation. Progressive is a dynamic organisation and it is crucial that we remain pertinent to the ever-changing needs of the customer. Decisions sometimes need to be made quickly which can add pressure but it’s a very busy and exciting time to be part of the organisation.

    What did you want to be when you were at school?

    In primary school I was obsessed with all things space related and had my heart set on being an astronaut. When I reached secondary school, my focus shifted to the football pitch and I was sure I was going to make it as a professional footballer. Both were pretty unachievable, but I suppose it is good to have dreams when you’re younger.

    What advice would you give someone considering a career in your profession?

    When considering a career it’s so important to do something you both enjoy and have a passion for. You work for a large part of your lifetime so finding the right career can have great significance. At school we weren’t given many options on what career path we wanted to choose so I think it’s important for young people to know the options that are available to them. At Progressive there are a range of careers available for both school leavers and graduates and I would encourage anyone thinking about a job in the financial sector to get in touch to see what’s available.

    What’s the most common question people ask when they find out what you do?

    Can you get me a cheap mortgage? Those who know me understand a bit more about what I do but this question always comes up when I meet new people.

    How do you like to relax outside work?

    I enjoy socialising with friends and spending time with my family. I find keeping fit is a good way to unwind so try and get to the gym as much as possible. I find running really helps me de-stress, but not as much as a pint of Guinness!