Comms Vision 2023: Focusing on competitive advantage

By Raza Baloch, Head of Business Partners and SI, Wholesale Fixed, Virgin Media O2 Business

The channel’s flagship conference, Comms Vision, returned for another year of unique insights and opportunities, with three days of expert-led panel sessions, keynotes and boardroom breakouts.

This year the conference’s theme centered on how we understand and embrace our competitive qualities to accelerate growth through differentiation-led objectives and strategies.

On that note, here are some of the insights I shared during my own talk at the event.

Culture is fluid and so is team loyalty

Culture needs to be able to evolve, but to anchor it we need to identify and articulate our unified purpose, a single-minded vision that everyone in our business can buy into. This way, we know we’re addressing the things our people and partners truly need.

We’re in an era of growing employee expectations, so it's important to attract and retain the best talent. That’s why we’ve introduced initiatives that have made a positive impact on our people and workplace culture. These include 14 weeks of full pay for new fathers on paternity leave and transgender healthcare benefits for those transitioning.

As agents of change, culture is driven by leadership and those shaping day-to-day decisions. To drive our culture forward, we must have a 360-degree view of everyone in our business, really listening to them and giving them the right platforms to create change alongside us.

Trust is the key to collaborative partnerships

Open dialogue is the cornerstone of any successful partnership. Trust should always flow through teams for optimal collaboration. Whether we’re working through proposals and propositions together or ideating on investment strategies at a granular level, it all needs to be done in partnership.

Trust is at the crux of our Partner Success function, giving partners a dedicated team to oversee their growth across the whole journey from pre-sales to end-of-service. The team’s role is to understand partners’ needs proactively.

We mirror this consultative approach when it comes to meeting our partners’ core network requirements and delivering our high bandwidth services. We’re committed to nurturing strategic, collaborative partnerships that offer our partners that highly sought after value exchange.

Our new Unity Rewards programme is a prime example of this. We believe that by rewarding partners with commercial benefits, we can complement the growing demand for our backhaul services as they look to upgrade their own networks, diversifying their revenue streams.

While products and services matter, it’s people who will always be at the core of any successful partnership, hence our mantra: ‘people buy from people’. We will continue to operate with a people-first mindset to foster real, transparent and honest relationships.

Diversity in leadership is a key driver of business growth

Creating dynamic and diverse work environments that allow people to bring their whole selves to work so they can excel at their jobs is more important than ever.

Whether it’s through hybrid working policies, flexible hours or simply offering spaces for people to be heard, we can ensure people’s needs are accommodated and that they feel connected to the business. Our All In employee networks (carers, neurodiversity, LGBTQ+, and gender equality) champion this, creating spaces for people to come together and address important issues.

Creating an environment that is receptive to and celebrates diversity is the vital foundation to every organisation’s future. This is rooted in our talent acquisition strategy, with apprenticeships, graduate schemes, and strong partnerships to bring a range of talent through our doors. Our accessible Match Me tool has been instrumental in encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to pursue and apply for roles they would not have previously considered.

Employees also need a platform on which their ideas can be turned into actions. It’s important to offer opportunities in which they can help shape the business, such as our Matchbox learning and development initiative which allows our people to execute game-changing ideas with the support of internal resources and teams.

We are committed to ensuring everyone in our business feels seen and heard so that they have influence, a voice and an impact through their contributions. To best navigate today’s evolving organisational cultures and employee expectations, we need to cement and have everyone embrace our company vision. With unified values we can engage our teams, inspire them and deliver meaningful actions for our business to thrive.

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