BT Design

The Senior Leadership Team needed their people to commit to a rapid pace of change to transform BT’s technical infrastructure whilst maintaining client service.

One IT is the technology business of BT. They design, deliver and operate technology and networks for both internal and external customer use. One IT’s success is pivotal to BT’s overall success

In 2004 One IT launched a transformation process that would confirm their leadership role within the telecoms industry. By applying the latest Agile Development methods to every application and programme, One IT delivered tangible customer value on a rolling 90 day cycle, whilst at the same time delivering a 21st Century integrated network that will be amongst the most advanced in the world.

The CEO recruited a new leadership team, implemented structural change and demanded step changes in performance throughout the whole of the One IT operation. Performance is now being delivered. However, late in 2005 it became clear that the pace of change was leaving many of the 7,000 plus employees behind.

Quarterly employee engagement “CARE” surveys showed a workforce that was in many ways disengaged, demoralised and questioning of the direction of the business. At the same time, these 7,000 employees needed to be highly motivated to deliver on an exciting and ambitious strategy key to BT’s overall ambitions. The challenge for the leadership team – how best to engage and energise the workforce around the One IT strategy. That’s where Reconsulting got involved.

One IT partnered with Reconsulting to re-engage and re-energise the workforce. The delivery mechanism was a programme entitled “Joining the Dots”. Many in the organisation could see parts of the transformation beginning to deliver results, but few understood and felt engaged in the whole picture.

Working with the senior leadership team and the HR Director, a programme was designed with the following elements:

  • As a priority, align the senior team around a common understanding of the strategy
  • Support and coach the leadership team (the top 80 in the organisation) to engage with, and communicate to the employees
  • Deliver engaging, informative and motivating workshops for all 7,000 employees, led and delivered by the top 80 leaders, explaining in tangible terms what the strategy means for all, and hearing first hand employees concerns, issues and aspirations.

Reconsulting’s role in JtD included designing the process, aligning the senior team, delivering a robust process to manage and communicate the strategy, designing and co-facilitating the one day events, coaching and supporting the leaders as they delivered the events.

The one day events were participative, engaging, fun and open. They included leaders sharing their own personal experiences of the transformation to date, and interactive sessions to explore not only the business model underpinning One IT moving forward, but the strategy as well. The events’ success pivoted on open Q&A sessions based upon the reactions and emotions of employees to the strategy. In a period of less than 4 months, all 7,000 employees attended the JtD events.

The Technology Leadership Group (the 80 senior leaders of One IT – the TLG) came together as a team to deliver “Joining the Dots”. In the words of one TLG member, “Joining the Dots was the making of the TLG”.

Groups of up to 100 employees at a time attended the one day events, delivered by a team of 5 or 6 TLG members at each event. Many employees arrived sitting sceptically, with arms crossed, angry at having to attend, and harbouring misgivings and concerns.

The open, authentic engagement by the TLG members, combined with clear and honest communication of the “good, the bad and the ugly” of the transformation to date and a willingness to listen and engage had an enormous impact. As did the engaging and participative nature of the days.

It was clear to the employees that the One IT leaders were committed, concerned and working on a way forward. The strategy is exciting, and offers tremendous opportunities for all to play a key role in the future of One IT and BT.

Surveys at each event evaluating “overall satisfaction with the events” averaged close to 4 out of 5 across the workforce, and scores for “Leaders listened and addressed issues, questions and concerns” was over 4 out of 5 for all events. And the CARE scores have consistently improved by more than 25%.

One IT is now poised for the next level of the transformation thanks to an engaged workforce. Morale is higher, as are expectations of the leadership group – drivers that are exciting the whole of the One IT organisation.