So many offices and so many languages and cultures!

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So many offices and so many languages and cultures!

The Interchange Group has been expanding rapidly since its early days more than twenty five years ago, and today it has more than 140 branch offices throughout Europe, the US, Africa and Hong Kong and employs more than 500 people worldwide.

Of course, when anyone starts a company they have a vision of building an empire, but it is not always easy, even when the business itself is booming. Interchange has grown quickly both organically and through taking over and merging with other companies, and this brings with it its own problems – one, which we will talk about another time, is how to ensure that we have all of our shops designed in keeping with the global corporate image, especially when there is a need for them to look super-modern (for example in airports) but then to also blend in with local culture and heritage (i.e. in historic city centres). The other is how to build a team that is able to meet with our exacting standards of customer service, irrespective of which country we are operating in.

Interchange is constantly looking for new people; this is particularly an issue in parts of Central Europe where there is very low unemployment in the business sector, and where we need to have both the local language and English/other languages spoken fluently. Our cash offices are our primary marketing tool and our cashiers are the faces of our business, so it is particularly important that we have the very best people that we can find.

So who are these people? At the moment, we employ more than 500 people worldwide, and they come from all sorts of different backgrounds and educational levels. At the last count, we had more than 35 different nationalities working for us – whether in the shops themselves or in the head offices of the countries in which we operate. Some have come straight from school and others have university degrees; some have started their work as a junior cashier and moved swiftly up the ladder, others have tried working in the offices but prefer to be on the front-line. We have team members that have been successful athletes, musicians, artists and photographers, and others that have worked in completely different industries and then settled into the world of finances.

Of course, with such a large part of our business focused on tourism, and the company language being English, our cashiers and many of our administrative staff have to speak English. But amongst our team we have people that can speak more than 30 different languages, as diverse as English, French and German to Albanian, Urdu and Arabic. Could this be a record? We think so!