We joined Andy Ward to talk about our newly launched behaviours that underpin our values.
Hi Andy, let's start with your day job. What do you do at BT?
I'm part of the Group HR Organisation Effectiveness Leadership team. My teams and I help design and deliver pan-BT strategies and policies that are key to our ambition to make BT a diverse and inclusive organisation. This includes management and leadership development, performance management, careers and skills development, and our colleague voice strategy – including our Pulse and YourSay surveys.
How does it feel to join BT during lockdown?
It's a bit surreal. I've not actually met anyone in my team or in my wider network of colleagues in person. The Openreach engineers who regularly work on the cabinet outside my front door are the colleagues I have spent the most time with in person since I joined.
That said, it's also really been impressive. I joined at the end of May and everyone seemed to have already got on top of the lockdown challenge and were focused on continuing to deliver against our longer term ambitions despite the restrictions.
Part of your role is to champion our Purpose, Ambition and Values. Why are they important and do they really make a difference?
When it comes to culture, I think it's helpful to think of companies as people and our relationships with them. No one likes spending time with people exactly like us, that's just boring. But our longest lasting and most successful relationships are with those who share the same goals and values as us, and do things in ways we appreciate.
We're all different in so many ways but a core of shared purpose and values is what brings us together and helps us work together.
If we bring that core to life for our customers, it'll help to attract and retain their trust and loyalty. So, yes, being clear about who we are, what others can expect – colleagues, prospective hires and customers - and what make us different and special is crucially important to our success.
What do you think of our Values: Personal, Simple, Brilliant?
I actually really like them and it helps there are only three to remember. I know you'd expect me to say that but I've worked in lots of different companies and on a number of "Purpose and Values programmes" and, unlike some of those, these really do feel relevant, not just to BT, but to me personally. In particular, I like Personal. It's a nice combination of personal accountability and the importance of great individual experiences whatever our background and whether we're colleagues or customers (or both).
In May we shared nine behaviours linked to our Values. Do you think these are helpful?
While I think we all know they're important, it's very easy for our "Purpose," "Ambition," "Values" and so on to seem a bit corporate and abstract and not all that relevant to our day-to-day lives. But, in fact, our Values are relevant in our day-day lives as they help us make the right choices when no-one is there to guide us. At home, if we value being honest with our partner, we choose not to lie to them. At work, if we value being personal, we choose to spend time understanding each other's experiences and adapting our actions accordingly. In other words, we "treat others as they'd like to be treated." That's one of the nine behaviours. Like the others – "make things easy for customers", "think big and bold", and so on - it's a useful example of the sort of behaviour that you'd expect to see if a colleague was genuinely guided by our shared Values. The behaviours complement and illustrate our Values and can be a useful tool for all of us as we make difficult choices.
Finally, what advice would you give to anyone or any team who wants to make the Values and behaviours work for them?
It's the same advice for colleagues and teams: use the Values and behaviours wherever you can as a guide to the choices you make. Stick them on a wall or notepad you see every day. Assess your choices against them before you act – are you "owning the outcome" and "choosing straightforward"? Refer to them in team meetings and use them to challenge and provide feedback to each other – are you "staying open and curious to learn?" Reflect on how you can improve the way you work – "are you putting teamwork first", and "moving at speed"? The more we ask ourselves these questions, speak about them and use them to make the right choices, the more likely we all are to be at our best and create, together, "the world's most trusted connector of people, devices and machines", a company we can all be proud to work for.