Collaboration is key for Lancashire businesses says Great Northern Conference sponsor

Re-industrialising the North to tackle the climate crisis would create jobs in the green economy and help level up, was one headline from the Great Northern Conference.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 3:30 pm

The third Great Northern Conference, at the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield, was organised by jpimedia and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and attended by council chiefs, business leaders, media and influencers from across the North.

Mark Sellers, managing director at TalkTalk Business which sponsored the event, said building for a brighter future, the theme of the event also required a collaborative attitude and changes in response to the world of business post-pandemic.

He said: “In a rapidly shifting business landscape, collaboration is vital to increase agility and drive success. It’s important for organisations of all sizes and across all sectors to facilitate regular conversations with their employees, customers and the wider business community across the North.

The Great Northern Conference 2021 was held in Sheffield and online in October

“Businesses have certainly learned a variety of lessons over the last 18 months, and as we emerge from the pandemic, sharing knowledge and applying these will be key.

“Here at TalkTalk, we’ve made several changes to the way we engage with colleagues, customers and other stakeholders over the past 18 months.

“With the below focus areas in place, we’ve been able to increase our customer service score, keep colleagues and customers engaged, and open up conversations across our wider business network.

“Using empathy and understanding as guiding principles, business leaders will be far better placed to understand and respond to common challenges and take advantage of emerging opportunities.”

Mark Sellers from Talk Talk

He said engaging your workforce was crucial to deliver outstanding customer service while keeping teams happy.

“It’s important that organisations of all sizes ensure their employees feel as supported as possible, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic.

“At TalkTalk, we’re doing this in several ways. Firstly, we’ve introduced a hybrid working policy to provide our teams with a flexible, safe pathway back to office working.

"Establishing flexible working hours and being more intentional about driving collaboration whilst in the office is at the heart of this, and means that our team members can make the most of their working hours, wherever they are.”

He said supporting individual wellbeing was also vital as they have via their TalkTogether Series, which included wellbeing-focused monthly sessions for all employees with advice on a range of topics, from preventing burnout to boosting physical health.

Listening too was key, he said.

“When the macro factors affecting businesses are shifting quickly, individual conversations matter more than ever. Organisations should focus on setting up platforms and channels that enable more open conversations with their customers and stakeholders.

"This has been important for our business over the last 18 months. At the beginning of the pandemic, we quickly set up regular newsletters and a dedicated Covid hub to ensure that customers were kept up to date with key information and clear points of contact, and we are continuing to focus on opening up direct channels of communication with our teams.

“As we move forward, it’s vital for organisations to collaborate, keep employee and customer needs front of mind, and learn from each other.”

He said businesses must also be agile.

He added: "With confident, capable teams and up-to-date insight from customers, organisations will be better equipped to respond to external challenges and implement effective solutions rapidly.

For TalkTalk, the beginning of the pandemic last year truly highlighted the importance of having this foundation in place. In March 2020, with the help of a committed team and partners, TalkTalk played a key part in delivering critical connectivity infrastructure at Nightingale Hospitals across the

UK in a matter of hours – a project that would normally take three days to complete.

"In this case, clear communication channels and a skilled, motivated team were key to success. By adopting these core principles, businesses will be well-placed to build both capability and capacity within their teams.

"As we move forward and learn from the last 18 months, it’s vital for organisations to collaborate, keep employee and customer needs front of mind, and learn from each other in order to enable growth and boost the success of business community in the North and beyond."

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