Jessica Turner

Delt Gains 1 Star ‘Very Good’ Best Companies Accreditation

Gone are the days of run-of-the-mill staff engagement surveys. Now it’s a case of pairing company values and ethos with tangible staff feedback and results. At Delt Shared Services that’s exactly how we operate. 

This year we have conducted our first ever Best Companies to Work For survey in partnership with b-heard. The leading survey and engagement company manage the survey process on behalf of organisations to gain a true reflection of staff opinion on everything from career upskilling and progression, management and wellbeing.

Delt achieved a record 75% engagement rate which far exceeded any previous survey that we have conducted with an overall result of 661.2 out of 1000. This awards Delt as ‘very good’ and attributes a 1-star rating.

Giles Letheren, CEO said; ‘I’m delighted that the work we have done on vision, values and culture has been reflected in a Best Companies accreditation. Our team have been truly exceptional over a challenging (Covid) year of Helping People do Amazing Things and being awarded a 1-star accreditation at our first try, shows that we take employee engagement seriously, even as the world of work has completely changed. We’re excited to get into a detailed analysis of the data and learn what steps we can take to improve engagement even further.’

The b-heard rating system tracks companies on a scale of 0 to 1000. A score of 600 and above puts companies in their ‘one to watch’ category and from there a company can score between 1 and 3 stars which is considered the ‘best-of-the-best’. It is this methodology that powers The Best Companies to Work For list, spotlighting the UK’s best workplaces on a national stage.

The teams at Delt rated the company highest for ‘Giving Something Back’, providing a ‘Fair Deal’ and ‘My Team’. The factors are formed around groups of questions which are rated from 0 to 7.

Jane White, Head of Workforce & Brand added; “It has been an exceptional 12 months for our staff and whilst we have always ran our own engagement survey we felt this year would be the time to run an independent engagement survey to truly understand how our staff have found their experience of Delt during the pandemic. We are so pleased that we rated highly for ‘My Team’ as team morale is fundamental to wellbeing, belonging and job confidence. To also be awarded 1 star really is the icing on the cake for us but more importantly it is the staff feedback that will give us the information we need to make Delt an even better place to work”

Further information and announcement of the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For is due around May.

A Project Manager’s Perspective

A Small Cog in a Big Machine

Vaccinating the entire UK adult population as quick as possible strikes me as quite a daunting task. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t know where to start. But thankfully that isn’t the case. There’s a whole load of dedicated healthcare professionals who know what to do and are dedicated to tackling the greatest challenge, the country,  has faced since World War 2. There are so many cogs turning in the overall vaccination machine to make this work, it is impressive that it is in place and working smoothly. The UK is currently the 3rd highest in the world in terms of the percentage of doses administered to its population. And I find that pretty impressive.

When I think back to November last year when Delt were appointed to be just one small cog, in the overall vaccination machine, to ensure that the IT for the Primary Care Networks’ mass vaccination sites, within Devon, was arranged, set up and ready for the start. Ok, I do know where to start with that, and I knew that the teams at Delt could  do it. With a large proportion of the sites not being located at GP surgeries but rather at leisure centres, bowling greens, perhaps even a function centre with a bar. The scale of the task certainly didn’t pass me by and it was going to take some planning but I felt certain we would make it work. Above all else, this had to happen in a few weeks as programme would be moving at pace. I’d better strap myself in. This is going to take some doing.

And so, the work started to gather as much of the requirements together as possible. What locations were the vaccinations going to take place in? Do they already have a network that can be used? Is it fast enough to handle, potentially, a lot of users? How many laptops do they need? They need barcode scanners as well?! It was a lot of information to gather in a short period of time. Luckily, I was not alone and had Joe Unwin from the PMO co-managing the project with me. We were able to split the work up between us and get a solid picture as to what was needed.

Before long, we had laptops ready to go and scanners being delivered. We had brokered deals with other organisations to use their networks at their sites. We had bought additional 4G routers as back up plans (and there can never be enough back up plans!). By mid-December, the first week of sites going live with vaccinations had arrived and, with the help of some very dedicated members of our Service Desk, we were delivering IT equipment out to sites and having one final check before the big day. From that point onwards it became a bit of a blur. There was so much activity throughout the rest of December that we didn’t have time to pause for breath. But looking back, we played our part in getting the IT ready for all these sites, enabling them all to go live and come away unscathed without any insurmountable IT issues. 20 sites all up and running with the IT all in place and no major problems (I’d better touch wood when I say that…). Achieved by the dedication of numerous teams and individuals across Delt who put in the hours to make sure we were able to put in place what was needed and be ready to support them afterwards.

Fast forward to now (March) and the rate of vaccinations is still speeding up. I’m over 40 so I hear my time for a jab will be soon. And when I roll up my sleeve and try not to pass out at the sight of a needle, I will think back to the previous 4 months and how impressive the overall machine of the healthcare sector has been to put this all in place. And I am glad that Delt has been able to play its part by being even just a small cog in this machine.

Andy Fleming, Project Manager

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

Women In Technology

Why I love Working in Technology… and you should too!  

When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up as a child, I would have said something between zookeeper, doctor and dancer depending on the time of the day. To be honest if you asked me today, I still probably don’t know but I do currently work in a field I enjoy and feel like I make a difference… which I think is really all that matters in the end. I have met and worked with incredible women. From those who are technical wizzes and code like they speak another language, others who are passionate about teaching digital skills and how much impact it can have on people’s lives and then those like me who solve problems and tell stories. However, what I can say with some certainty is there are not enough of them! I want to try and encourage women and girls to get into technology if I can, and I hope sharing some of my experience compared to what I thought it would be like can help do this.  

I have always been a nerd, the 3 science at A levels then studied Zoology at university variety, but I still never really considered working with computers. I even fished out an old report card the other day to find I had failed IT, so that wasn’t a strong start for my future career. I think one of the things that meant I never considered it, and might be the same reason for other girls and women out there, is the misconceptions I had around it like… It is a male dominated industry, so I will not fit in. I like to be creative, and computers are boring. I love working with people and want to make a difference and technology is all about machines.  

The first one is still true in some ways, it is a bit of a male dominated industry, but this is not by design and it is changing. The barriers are being broken down everywhere around what a “traditional” career looks like for women. I have always felt welcome in the tech community, there have been some obstacles and a couple of moments where someone has commented on me having a role that might have previously been a filled by a man, but I do not take that negatively. I am always proud that I am walking a new path and helping make change. If I can inspire a few others along the way even better.  

One of the main reasons I love my role is how creative I get to be. A large part of what I do is storytelling; listening to what problems people want to solve or the things they can’t do and telling them stories of how the future could be. I also know that coding is an art form, enterprise architecture is design work and innovation is all about ideas and thinking creatively. I think the roles in technology are also far broader than I ever imagined supporting the ever-changing nature of it. As a result of that you can find a way to be creative and carve out a role that you really enjoy. There can no longer be a set path when the destination is always changing, and the jobs around today weren’t exactly in the career booklet when I was at school.  

My final reservation was about people. I am a people person and a problem solver and what drives me is making meaningful change and helping people. Working in technology allows me to do that. It may all be run by machines, but it is useless without the people it aims to help. I see the real impact that modern technologies can make on people’s lives from the small everyday improvements, like using digital tools to manage their workday better, to big life changing moments where technology helps people be independent at home. I talk to people every day and I share stories with them and help solve their problems, and for me, that is what I love about this industry. This is also why I want to encourage more incredible women to join and be part of shaping the future of technology.  

Helen Day-Cocking
Product Manager, Modern Workplace

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Employee Appreciation Day

Our People Are Amazing

Once upon a time, in a place not so very far away, but a long, long time ago, I used to be good at something. I can’t remember what it was but it was useful enough that people used to give me money for doing it. Some time later I became a manager and thus the slow journey of deskilling began. By the time I become a middle manager, my skills were limited to dealing with people problems and complaining that if it wasn’t for people, my job would be much easier. Time passes and the deskilling continues to the point where the only useful role left for you is a CEO. Now all I have to do is manage the people, who manage the people, who do the work. As we have good middle managers, this leaves me very little to do, which is frankly, probably for the best.

On Employee Appreciation Day I wondered if my employer appreciates the little bit I actually have to do. After all, Delt is a limited company which means it has ‘corporate personhood’. Many of the things people can do, companies can do in their own right. I assume that this includes being appreciative, but on further reflection, I cannot think of an example where the company has said thank you. Well, I guess that’s the downside of being a CEO.

As a real, rather than corporate, person (even if not an especially good one), I can certainly recognise, enjoy and show appreciation for the good qualities in the people who work with us.

Delt helps People Do Amazing Things, which has to be one of the best jobs you can have but knowing this is our mission statement isn’t quite the same as that being recognised by those we help, or those who work alongside us. In the latter case, I do try and remember to thank our team on a regular basis, not just on Employee Appreciation Day. I recognise that without every one of our employees we simply couldn’t do what we do. There are days we do things well, there are rarer days where we do things less well and, whilst frustrating, that’s usually not from a lack of effort. For my part I am very aware that my job is to Help the People who Help People Do Amazing Things. In my own right I don’t do anything very useful any more but our company does. Without our employees, nothing would happen. No good days, no bad days, because on our own, those of us who have the privilege of leading wouldn’t be able to do anything. Trust me when I tell you that I truly appreciate that.

Giles Letheren
Chief Executive Officer

Photo credit Heart photo created by cookie studio

10 reasons why adult learning is awesome!

10 Reasons Why Adult Learning is Awesome!

At DELT we value curiosity and encourage lifelong learning. With October being National Learning Month, we thought we would highlight the top 10 reasons why continuous learning is important.

  1. The structure of your brain changes every time you learn something new. The white matter in your brain is called myelin, and it helps improve performance on a number of tasks. The more you practice learning a new skill, the denser the myelin in your brain becomes. This, in turn, helps you learn better.
  2. Learners are earners. People who continually learn can earn more. People who earn a lot of money, in general, love to learn new things because they understand the importance of constant growth and development and the impact it has on the quality of their life as well as on their income.
  3. The rate of depression is lower for adults who are actively involved in learning activities.
  4. The more you learn the faster you learn.
  5. An oldy but a goody none-the-less – Knowledge is power. As we learn new things, we gain more knowledge which empowers us to achieve great things in life.
  6. It beats boredom. Find something you are really interested in and learn all about it. You should never find yourself saying, “I’m bored.” The wealth of material available to us, in a digital age, has never been more fruitful.
  7. Awaken your creativity. Learning new things can help you come up with new ideas. Your mind can become refreshed and you can begin to see things in a whole new light.
  8. Keep Your Brain Healthy and Your Mind Sharp. A study conducted by the University of California at Irvine in 2010 revealed that learning keeps your brain functioning at a high level. The brain is a muscle; continue to keep it in shape by giving it new challenges and opportunities for learning and growth is a form of exercise. According to Science Daily, mental facilities are best protected when they are used often and continued learning can slow the physical process of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  9. Sleep More Soundly. Just as when you exercise your body and it gets tired; when you exercise your mind, your mind gets tired too. Give your mind a workout by studying a new subject and reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
  10. Finally, you’re more likely to nail trivial pursuit this Christmas or even your next family Zoom quiz.

Lindsey Edmonds – Learning and Organisational Development Specialist

Coping With Covid Challenges & A Remote Workforce

Coping with Covid challenges and a remote workforce

To say the last 6 months has been crazy for all of us would be an understatement and something that all the pre-planning in the world could never really prepare us for. The change and impact that the Covid-19 has had on us – good and bad has been truly unprecedented.

We have been very fortunate in transitioning our workforce to a new way of working. Where pre-Covid approximately 50% of our workforce worked remotely at least 20% of the time, once the pandemic hit, we needed to mobilise 95% of our workforce to be working from home 100% of the time. This wasn’t overly difficult to do from a technological standpoint, but we quickly learned not to take this part of the transition for granted.  Working remotely in Covid-era brought multiple wellbeing challenges that we hadn’t before needed to deal with daily.

I am blessed that I work for an organisation that knows how critical health and wellbeing is to our staff engagement. There is never a question about investing resources and time to make sure we are providing staff with ample support but Covid-19 required us to quickly ramp up the support we provided and, in turn, we have been learning a lot along the way.

We couldn’t make assumptions about how people would cope.  There have been so many complexities for each staff members’ circumstances (vulnerable family members, isolation from family, etc.). Those who might have previously experienced stress in a busy office environment were now thriving being away from the office and working at home.  On the other hand, those who typically thrived under pressure were now struggling due to the challenges faced working with small children and a partner at their feet.

Alongside line manager and team connections, HR made it a point to speak to each staff member about their unique circumstances.  We wanted to not only learn how they were coping with remote working but what concerns they had about the impact the pandemic was having on their non-working life.  We wanted to understand their specific wellness concerns and provide support proactively rather than waiting until it became an issue.

We will continue to contact staff proactively because Covid-19 has taught us we can’t ask enough, how our people are coping.  It has and continues to be a roller-coaster ride that most of us have never experienced; you can feel motivated and positive one day and the next wake up feeling deflated, frustrated, stressed and wondering when we will return to ‘normal’.  People need a safe place to be vulnerable more than ever and that will continue to be at the top of our minds in every conversation we have with our staff.

The investment in time has been significant and we can see the benefits with engaged staff who continue to achieve outstanding results with our customers since this pandemic began.  My personal reflections on Covid-19 has, at times, been surreal, depressing and stressful.  For the most part though, I have felt challenged and inspired because of the amazing people who work in our organisation and the efforts they have gone to work at pace, with agility and endurance.  I love that we can provide the support to continue to make it happen!

Jane White – Head of Workforce & Brand