Getting to Know Ken Aldrich of Harris & Harris

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

Ken Aldrich might not like being called a boss, but he does love leading a team. The ability to motivate is just something he was born with, which explains that given the opportunity to work in any other job, he still chose being a corporate trainer. Read on to learn more about Ken, why you should definitely reach out to him if you need a restaurant recommendation, and how he is connected to Bill Gates.

Name: Ken Aldrich
Current Role/Job Title: Training & Quality Assurance Manager
Company: Harris & Harris
Length of time at current company: Three years
Length of time in industry: I have 22 years in BPO Operations and Training. Seven years in the ARM industry.

How did you get your start in the industry?
A contact center opened in my small home town in Oregon, and it was the best thing going.

What is your career highlight so far?
I did Microsoft Network ISP technical support for Bill Gates’s mother-in-law.

When or how are you most productive?
Personally – mid-morning, when I can get into the flow and knock out a lot of work. As a team leader, when I have been able to get my group enthusiastic and motivated.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
Arnie Harris, for his ability to run a successful and profitable collections firm, while maintaining its reputation as a contributor to the community.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
A trainer once told me I’m the best boss they ever had – not my favorite word, but I’ll take it – that is, I was better at leading that trainer than everyone else! I don’t think I’m the best at leading, but I feel I’m good at keeping a team happy and motivated.

What do you like most about this industry?
That there are clear performance-based compensation systems for front-liners – the harder you work, the better your work, the better your compensation. I can honestly tell trainees that hard work in this industry has an immediate return, and that good workers can make a living wage right out of the gate.

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What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The idea that we’re not a customer-service focused industry, that we are predatory or abusive.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Likely corporate training for another industry – I love teaching, but I also like money!

Describe a typical work day.
Up at 6, commute to downtown Chicago, then between meetings I am: dealing with any issues cropping up in current trainings, scheduling and staffing for upcoming training, professional development for the team when they’re not training classes, managing regular compliance training for tenured employees, and we’re currently converting and expanding all of our training material in a new e-learning tool, so I’m getting to do some creative work.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Minnesota Hot Dish, from my aunt’s recipe.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Brown the tater tots first!

What are you currently reading?
Adventures in the Screen Trade” – William Goldman

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I enjoy eating all sorts of different cuisines, from haute to greasy spoon. If you’d like a meeting, pick a restaurant!

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Brian Tuite – CEO of Zenarate

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success

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