News & Trends

Scaling your culture in fast-growth telecoms businesses | VanillaPlus



The convergence of the IT services and telecoms industries has put increasing pressure on telecoms businesses to make sure they have the right skillsets in their business to effectively compete.

Creating the right workplace culture is essential to do this and is especially important for telecoms companies due to the industry-wide scarcity of talent, says Toby Fitzherbert, investment director at ECI Partners.

Businesses must establish a workplace culture that not only resonates with their current staff, but also helps attract and retain future talent. This culture is not demonstrated by office interiors, ping pong tables and office bars, but by the values and team ethos instilled in people, something proven by the past year and a half of virtual working. 

The founder’s influence

Naturally, culture comes from the from the top-down. In smaller companies, it’s common for the business’ values to match those of the founder on areas such as dress code, work ethic and opinions, the founder sets the tone. However, as businesses grow, this becomes difficult to maintain, and active planning is required.

Whilst it seems unnatural to think about putting processes in place that enforce culture, it’s vital for growth businesses to take time to distil what the company’s culture is and how that can be reinforced as it scales. These processes should be reviewed regularly to not only reflect what the business is trying to achieve, but also its people. Communicating these regularly is key, and should form part of the Board’s decision-making framework. 

For example, when thinking about rewards and recognition, in a small company, it’s easy to be spontaneous and reward the team with a company trip to the pub to celebrate success. But as a business grows, there needs to be a more structured rewards programme in place to ensure that recognition is given fairly and across the business. 

Moreover, rewards need to be as diverse as your workforce is. As your workforce grows, interests of your team will become more diverse, and therefore it’s necessary to consider creating a rewards scheme that caters to everyone you can no longer assume that a trip to the pub is what everyone wants. It’s also important to consider how you can make your rewards and recognition schemes fit for the current remote and future hybrid working environment.

Although more difficult to foster, company culture is increasingly important in the post-pandemic landscape, so businesses must take the time to assess and improve their activities in this context. This is key for telecoms businesses to set themselves apart from the rest and ensure they keep as well as attract skilled workers. Businesses that do this well reap the rewards, but it will not happen by accident.

Creating a diverse workforce 

In a telecoms start-up, it’s possible that the founder will have hired like-minded individuals, with similar interests as they begin to get the business off the ground. However, this business model isn’t scalable and can lead to what Matthew Syed, author of Rebel Ideas, The Power of Diverse Thinking, calls a ‘workplace of clones’. A workplace that is filled with people from similar working backgrounds can result in a scarcity of ideas, which in the telecoms sector can be detrimental to business growth.

Similarly, by creating a workplace culture that appeals to a more diverse range of thinking, you will get access to a wider pool of talent. Creating a diverse workforce has become crucial, without inclusivity, it’s harder for businesses to motivate their workforce. And without a highly motivated workforce, it’s harder to drive financial growth.

Managing multiple locations

Looking at ECI’s own portfolio, many of the IT services and telecoms businesses we’ve backed have operated in multiple countries not withstanding current challenges, the world is definitely smaller than it was 10 years ago. In addition, the sector is renowned for growth through acquisition, often resulting in numerous teams spread across different locations throughout the UK or abroad. It’s therefore important that firms consider how they ensure that their culture translates across different offices and borders, and that regardless of location, the workforce feels like one team.

Where possible, it works particularly well when an individual that lives and breathes the culture is moved into a new office or acquisition, bringing those cultural values with them. Often when hiring a local person who hasn’t yet had experience of the core business, or if an acquired company is left to its own devices, you risk creating a sub-office that has its own cultural values and therefore feels disconnected from the rest of the business. 

Establishing and maintaining an authentic workplace culture is no easy task and shouldn’t be underestimated. As a business grows, so does the importance that culture plays in the ongoing success of the company. Above all, it’s vital to remember that culture transcends beyond the office environment and workplace gimmicks, it’s the values on which your business is built and operates.

The author is Toby Fitzherbert, investment director at ECI Partners.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @VanillaPlus OR @jcvplus

Click to View Original Source

You may also like