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Crossing continents to deliver great service

Andrew Shnuriwsky (above, left) joined Serco in 2016 as Vice President, Serco Canada. His success in that role earned him the opportunity to take on a new role in 2019, transferring overseas to become Managing Director, UK Citizen Services. Today, Andrew is accountable for more than 60 contracts and almost 10,000 colleagues delivering services as varied as street cleansing, local government IT support, leisure centres, bicycle hire, national government contact centres and adult skills and education. 

Here, Andrew reflects on the tremendous value of the strong relationships between our regions, both for Serco and for our colleagues.  

How has international experience helped you develop? 

International transfers are one of the many great learning experiences that Serco offers. Stepping outside a familiar environment immediately challenges your perspective and forces you to look at things differently – to synthesize and understand the context of something new. That makes you a better problem solver and a better decision maker. 

What insights from your role in Canada have you applied in the UK? 

In Canada, I learned to think about my organisation as a system and to keep asking “is it working effectively?” In the UK, I manage a complex portfolio of sectors, each with a distinct landscape. Thinking about it as a system helps me focus on ensuring all the elements are working as intended, without constraining the business. 

Building a strong continuous improvement culture was another key focus in Canada. I made sure to bring that with me as well, and we’re making good progress. Our people are an important part of it – ready to adopt better ways of working and share ideas when they see opportunities for improvement. 

What else has helped you with your new role? 

Strong relationships with my team have been essential. The critical ingredients are trust, mutual respect (which enables constructive disagreement) and being able to enjoy working together (which helps you tackle problems collectively). Learning together is also important. When I took on this role, I wasn’t the only new member of the team. We all had a steep learning curve to overcome. We’re through that now – on the right track and accelerating. 

What do our people in the UK and Canada share that strengthens Serco? 

Our Values – how we apply them, make decisions, what we think is important and the lines we won’t cross. These are very consistent across North America and the UK. And when different teams share the same values, informal collaboration becomes easier; much of our success can be attributed to that. What you learn working in different regions, though, is how our Values manifest with different nuances in different locations. How people think and what matters to them varies, but we’re all aligned and stronger for it. 

What would you recommend to others who aspire to grow their careers as you have? 

Regardless of what kind of move you want to make, be proactive. First, make it easier for the organisation to move you. Take ownership of what you will leave behind, including your successor. Help them to be even more successful than you were. Second, find opportunities to build your network and your reputation far and wide. Then you’re on the radar when opportunities emerge and they ask: “Who do we have that can lead this?”