How Does a Debt Collection Company Innovate?
Lee Brockney is currently the Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis Manager at IC Systems. After 19 years with the company, he wears many hats today. He’s in charge of general project pricing, financial forecasting, cost analysis, budget, and other ad-hoc reporting. He’s also an active Chairman of the Innovation Committee. He’s poised to discuss the innovation within IC Systems and how they encourage employees to make small changes to optimize their processes.
As a collection agency, they work in an incredibly competitive field. “When you combine the pricing pressure with the regulation, it’s ripe for innovation. If you’re not figuring out ways to do things cheaper, smarter, not harder, you’re going to be in a tough spot,” said Brockney.
In 2018 IC Systems launched the Innovation Committee. It’s an effort to support employees to feel ownership over processes and company changes. “We’re always pushing process improvement. How can I be better tomorrow with simple changes?” said Brockney. Five to ten members meet quarterly to review every idea submitted. Employees can add their suggestions to a portal.
Each quarter the committee selects the idea that is beneficial to all. IC Systems announces the winner and presents them with a $500 gift card and IC Innovation branded swag. The four winners are invited to the Annual President’s Club Award Ceremony, honoring peer-nominated outstanding employees. “The peer aspect gives credence to the recognition,” noted host Tyler Kern.
In 2019 the innovations we’re focused on ecological changes. The company installed water bottle refill stations, evaluated and upgraded current energy processes and lightbulbs, and invested in solar energy. There was a company-wide consensus to improve the company’s relationship with the environment.
In 2020, when employees began working remotely, the innovation team was inundated with new submissions. Employees were eager to find ways to connect and maintain the IC Systems Culture. “One idea that came out was ‘IC Clubs,’” explained Brockney. It connected people outside of work again. Today, there are still active members of clubs, including “a Movie Club, Book Club, Cooking Club, Golf Club,” said Brockney.
Primarily, collectors make up about 60% of the IC Systems workforce. The innovations are little changes. “We’re dealing with ideas around ways we can make our collections systems better, little tweaks and ideas to make their jobs better,” said Brockney. “Everything we do, we try to do it in a way that’s best for those we interact with.”