After a challenging year, it’s a good time to check in on how your organisation – and your industry as a whole – has been affected. In our 2020 benchmarking data, we looked at a range of sectors across the UK, and this week that included Telecommunications.
What did the pandemic mean for their people, and how has it uncovered their strengths and weaknesses? Let’s take a look.
76% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “When faced with a difficult situation at work, I feel trusted to exercise my judgement and make appropriate decisions”
Having ‘empowerment’ as a strength is encouraging news, as the pandemic saw the sector’s importance grow (as remote working increased demand for high-speed networks, video conferencing, and other services). Having a team enabled to take action where needed will help keep up with this demand.
Other research recognises this as being linked to engagement too – seeing “perceived organisational support” as a driver, which shows that putting your trust in people really pays off.
76% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “I feel that my manager is supportive of me and encourages me to succeed in my role.”
In a year where we’ve all felt the stresses and strains of a global pandemic, it’s promising to see that Telco employees feel supported. With major organisations like Three introducing wellbeing initiatives, including mental health cover, this could indicate that the sector’s ahead in looking after its people.
It’s good for business too. With mental ill health the biggest reason for sickness absence in much of the EU, taking preventative steps could reduce absenteeism and presenteeism – and improve productivity.
71% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “My manager is aware of the needs and challenges I face in my job and reacts appropriately.
Here’s a chance for leaders and managers to pat themselves on the back. One strength in the sector was ‘leadership’, with workers feeling their managers understand what they’re dealing with.
In a ‘people-intensive’ sector that’s important – while many roles would have been suitable for remote working, others (on-site technicians, retails workers, those involved in construction) don’t have that option. and could reflect the suitability of much of telecoms for remote work. Good leadership is almost essential to manage those different experiences.
Only 43% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “There are opportunities to give genuine feedback and I feel like my voice is heard.”
While there was good news for a sector so high in demand, and one in a position to look for expansion opportunities, some weaknesses became apparent. ‘Listening’ was one of them. Could this be a side effect of some moving to remote working, or down to the need for fast-paced output?
Either way, the disparity of experiences in the sector – from those installing broadband, to others working in sales – means listening should be a priority. Only then can telecoms leaders keep up their good track, by understanding the different needs of their people.
Only 48% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “Our tools, systems and processes make my working life easier and set me up for success.”
It’s perhaps not surprising to see ‘tools’ as a weakness – and many sectors have seen the same. While research saw IT & Telecoms as having the 4th best potential for effective remote working, moving to it on a full-time basis was likely to mean teething problems.
For a sector who lives and breathes communication and technology, there’s work to be done here – and equipping employees should be a focus, to respond to the advanced demand for better service from these organisations.
Only 52% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “Our organisation sets goals that are important, meaningful and help keep me motivated.”
The sector’s seen a fast pace of change in the past 25 years – from copper to fibre, fixed line to mobile, and voice to data traffic – and that means a sense of purpose can be lost. But as it’s a known driver of engagement across industries, the industry would do well to look at this.
With the relevance of telecommunications more apparent than ever, leaders can do this by communicating what expansion looks like – and how integral its people are to rolling that out.
In the UK, there are roughly 190,000 telecommunications employees – and our data suggest the majority feel empowered and supported by their leaders. But with big changes and industry growth likely to come, it’s important they stay engaged and equipped.
Managers should focus on listening to the different teams in their organisations, taking their feedback, and responding to it – whether that’s by supplying better tools, or connecting them with the purpose of your organisation.
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