NPAS Collections specialist Sara Leonard has a bet going with a co-worker over who can get the higher numbers this month. “Whoever loses has to put on the Pee-wee Herman platform shoes and do the Pee-wee dance around that circle.”
Leonard gestures at the 40-foot-wide opening in the floor surrounded by a white metal railing. The office has the feel of an atrium and overlooks work spaces below. That means whoever does the Pee-wee dance will be seen by both floors.
“I’ve done all kinds of crazy stuff in this office — in a playful, office-type way,” she says.
The winner won’t just get to watch her friend make a fool of herself. She’ll earn a hefty bonus, as will the bet’s loser. In February, 80% of employees earned one of the monthly bonuses, which average around $850 to $1000 a month.
Leonard is part of a strong, motivated team
NPAS Solutions is part of the Parallon call center located on Blankenbaker Parkway. The group specializes in delinquent medical collections. It’s not an easy job, but it’s one where a person with tenacity can pull down a more-than-comfortable living.
“There’s really not an experience base that we’re looking for because we’ve seen success with green employees with little to no call center experience,” says Mark Finney, the Louisville branch’s director of operations. “What we’re really looking for are energetic, disciplined, goal-oriented, self-starting, motivated people.”
Finney and Blanca Hughes, who is the division’s unit manager, started around the same time in 2000. She started as a collections specialist, and he started at a unit manager. Since then, they’ve both moved up within the company.
Hughes believes that the practice of promoting collectors who excel builds trust between management and employees.
“They’ve been employees. They’ve been collectors doing the same job within the same company, so I think that helps our employees trust that their supervisors want nothing but the best for them. They take that coaching and development that [the supervisors] provide to them, knowing they’ve been in that seat and they understand.”
Bonuses big and small for employees
“This is a job and a company that you get out what you put in,” says Finney. There are big benefits, like comprehensive insurance with dental and vision, 401K, tuition reimbursement and professional development programs.
Then there are smaller bonuses, like two daily $25 gift cards for top earners, pet insurance, and consumer deals through a corporate discount program for things like cell phones, hotels and airfare.
New employees with no collections experience earn an hourly wage of $13.50 to start. Those who take to the job can start getting 50-cent hourly raises per quarter through NPAS’ step-rate program. Two years in, an employee can be making $17 an hour.
Leonard might have to do the Pee-wee dance, but one thing she knows is that she wants to work at NPAS. She came to the company six years ago, and trained without having any previous collections or computer experience. She was named 2015 Employee of the Year.
A recent move to Indiana with her husband had her worried about commutes and tolls, however. She decided to take another job in collections closer to home to avoid the expense.
“The atmosphere wasn’t what I expected. I’m used to a more family-type atmosphere. I feel like my management and co-workers are my family. I just didn’t get that vibe from the new place,” she says. Not only that, but the money wasn’t as good. The bonuses at NPAS were real – she depended on them.
A culture where everyone’s opinion matters
“The incentives here far outweighed any kind of toll I would have been paying at the time. It just wasn’t worth it. It was worth it to come back here where I’m valued as an employee. My opinion matters.”
“We didn’t want to lose her. We did everything we could to retain her, but there were just external factors pulling her,” says Finney.
She didn’t know what she’d be missing, but Hughes did. “I don’t think she even told us that she’d left that job for a week. We checked up on her. We were texting. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ and she’s like, ‘Going crazy at home,’ and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’” Everyone laughs. “It took her a day or two.”
“We played it cool for a little bit,” says Finney.
“I think they know that I’m the type of person that would let pride not let me come back. And I almost let it, but then I remembered them talking to me. They said, ‘Don’t let pride get in the way. If you need to come back, we’ll talk about it.’”
Interested in joining Parallon?
Want a job where hard work pays off and your bosses make you feel at home? Email the company’s Human Resources team at [email protected].