A day in the life… Erica Williams

Tags: SSON


Erica joined Southern Company in November 1997 and transferred to the HR Service Center in August 2006.

Covering life, death, and W-2’s, all in a day’s work.

After fighting Atlanta’s rush hour traffic, I finally enter Southern Company’s parking garage at 8:40 am only to find there are no parking spaces on the lower levels and the person in front of me is driving 1 mile per hour. Breathe in. Breathe out.

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I’m always a bit relieved once I ‘ve found a parking space and enter the building. Making it in "safe and sound" is already an achievement. It ties in with Target Zero – yea! Target Zero is our focus on zero accidents!

I am cheery in the morning. Many others are not! I say, "Have a Great Day!" as I exit the elevator. Only 1 person in 4 mumbles "You too," in return.

Once I make it to my desk and put my things down … what do I do before anything else? Spray. Yes, I said spray. Everybody knows that when Erica arrives it’s time to put up the umbrellas. I spray Lysol every day. You can’t be too careful – germs get everywhere, I don’t care how well the cleaning crew does its job.

"Now it’s time to get down to business", I tell myself as I try to get focused and motivated for the day. I start up my PC, log into my phone, and check my emails and Outlook calendar. Then I review my work list to see what type of cases I have to work on today. But wait, something is missing! What could it be? Oh yeah, my green tea! Since I’m not a coffee drinker I have tea every morning. Ahhhh that’s more like it. Now my morning is complete!

As a Policy & Programs Specialist for the HR Direct Service Center, I have many different roles and responsibilities – including but not limited to: interpreting policies, programs and procedures for employees; administering the Tuition Reimbursement program; providing on-line employee learning administration; conducting exit interviews; responding to subpoenas and employment verifications for governmental agencies; and assisting HR partners and business units with key initiatives. Never a dull moment!


9.05 am: "Thanks for calling HR Direct, this is Erica," I say as I answer the HR Direct 1-800 line.
"My Aunt just passed away and I would like to know who is covered under the Bereavement Policy," the caller says. "I’m sorry to hear about your aunt, but only immediate family is covered under bereavement. Would you like a copy of the policy?" I inquire politely. "Sure, and thank you for the information," the caller says. "You’re quite welcome, is there anything else I can assist you with today?" "No, no … I think that’s all," the caller sighs. "Well, THANKS for calling HR Direct and have a wonderful day!"

10.22 am: "Thanks for calling HR Direct this is Erica." " Hi Ms. Erica," the customer sayss "I just got my degree and I am trying to add to my record. I can’t figure it out online. How do I do that?" " Let me get some information from you," I say. I have to be careful to authenticate the caller for security reasons. "There’s an education form I’ll send you to complete, and then we’ll add your degree to your employee record." The caller says, "Good enough. One more question. I may be starting another school soon. What do I need to do next?" "Go to the tuition reimbursement website to apply for your new enrollment program and get your manager to approve it. If you are on-line, I can walk you through it," I offer. I walk him through the process, and then he is all set.

12.24 pm: "Thanks for calling HR Direct, this is Erica." "Hello Erica, I need to have discipline documents removed from several employees’ files," the labor relations specialist says. "Ok, just email me a list of the employees and I will take care of it and follow up with you," I inform her. "Ok, thank you very much," says the caller.

3pm: "Thanks for calling HR Direct, this is Erica." "Erica, I am a retiree, I misplaced my W-2. What do I need to do? Could you mail me another copy?" I say, "Let me get you over to Payroll and they will provide that for you." "Ok, thank you, Erica," the callers says.

4.15pm: "Thanks for calling HR Direct, this is Erica." "Hi Erica, can you help a contractor to reset his password?" the HR rep asks. "Yes, I can." "Ok, I will conference the contractor in with us." "Hello," says the contractor. I need to verify a couple of pieces of information for security purposes. "Ok," says the contactor. While verifying, I realize the contractor is missing his birth date record in the system. I ask him for that information and update his information. "Anything else that I can help you with today?" I ask. "nope. That is all," say the contractor and HR Rep.

I never know what type of request or question I may receive, so I have to stay abreast and up-to-date on all new policies, changes or updates.

Before I know it, it’s the end of the day. I’m still upbeat, humming and asking about colleagues’ weekends with a big smile on my face. Even though it’s raining outside!

I really enjoy being a Policy & Programs Specialist and providing WORLD CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE to managers, supervisors, HR partners, executives and vendors.

At the end of the day I have truly run out of steam. Projecting an energetic phone persona is exhausting. I guess that means it’s time to go home … and do it all over again tomorrow!