I was just excited someone took the time to say thank you.
The 2018 Best of Sky Awards are just around the corner and we caught up one of our 2017 winners to find out what winning a Best of Sky Award meant to them.
Nav, who recently enjoyed his prize – a trip to Cape Town told us: "When I got my Best of Sky nominations, all I was excited about was the fact someone took the time to say “thanks for a great job”. It's such a busy place and you often forget how powerful saying thanks can be.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and the little thanks turned into a huge one! When I found out I was one of a handful of people across the Group to win a top prize and a trip to South Africa, my mind was absolutely blown!
So I’ll be nominating some of my brilliant colleagues this year/ Maybe one of them will get the chance of a trip of a lifetime - but more importantly, they’ll all just really appreciate the thanks.”
Things have come a long way in 30 years, but how far have we to go?
Having two daughters and being brought up by a passionate Greek-Cypriot mum, I’ve spent my life surrounded by women, and I consider myself a better, more rounded person for it.
But it’s even within my working life that I can remember a time when this wasn’t the case at work.
A time when there were no or very few women around the senior table, when women left to start a family and didn’t come back. And where arguably the decisions we made were narrow and not always as considered as they should be.
Things have come a long way in 30 years but it pains me that in 2018 we must still have conversations around why gender equality is a no-brainer, that it’s essential for business and is the right thing to do.
And for my daughters, I want more. I want workplaces that seek out their talent and their views and support their careers.
During the week of International Women’s Day there will be many conversations around the world about the gender balance of teams and how can we close that gap. In some cases some may ask, why bother?
Well from a business perspective, I believe that we will be a more successful, sustainable and better business if we have an equal balance of men and women. It’s that simple
But to make change happen you need a blended approach, with senior leaders championing it, initiatives in place, and targets to track the effectiveness of diversity programmes.
To begin with, driving gender diversity starts with the recruitment process. At Sky we want equally balanced male and female shortlists across all vacancies. Previously, we were 70/30 in favour of men and are now near our recruitment targets for all roles. We set ourselves an aspiration of getting to 50/50 gender balance in our senior leadership, and in less than two years of setting this goal we have moved from around 30% to nearly 40%.
However – the work doesn’t stop there. We also have plans in place to improve the balance in more challenging areas, designing programmes to help change the industry standard, for example our Sky Women in Tech scholarship and our new Sky Home Service Installer training programme.
Yes, it’s about pressing for progress this International Women’s Day, but that’s one day – a day which I hope we won’t need forever – why would it exist if we had achieved true equality? To make gender diversity happen, ultimately, it’s about being committed to this cause and putting in the effort to make change happen.
If gender balance is a business priority, as I believe it should be, you’ll find a way to put the necessary steps in place.
“This is a great place to work and I absolutely love my role – I’ve always been treated with respect and fairness”
Name: Karen Holder
Job title: Retail Area Manager
What area of Sky do you work in, and what do you do in your role? I’m an Area Manager within our Retail department. We’re responsible for engaging with potential customers whilst they’re out-and-about, about our great products and services. I look after seven of our Retail stores, and around 25 of our Retail Sales Advisors.
My role is to motivate and inspire the team to perform their best. I love working here and really enjoy my role. Being an Area Manager in Retail is varied and exciting, and I get to talk about all of the great content that we have.
How did you get into your role? Before joining, I worked in overseas property where I began as a Sales Advisor and was able to progress into a Team Leader role and then onto being Sales Manager. I wanted a change, so my sister who was working for Sky at the time, said what a great company it was so I decided to apply for the role as Area Manager.
How have you been able to progress since working here? I’ve been working here for 9 years now and have had some great opportunities to develop. The most recent opportunity was a secondment role at one of our Contact Centres. Being there gave me insight into a Contact Centre environment and how a different part of the business operates.
I’ve also been involved in a number of projects here, one of which I led. Being Project Lead gave me exposure and the opportunity to work with lots of different people in the business, including Directors.
How has Sky supported you as a female in the workplace? This is a great place to work and I absolutely love my role – I’ve always been treated with respect and fairness. I have a great team of colleagues and advisors that I work with. My Manager has always been supportive and will often put me forward for projects, including one which focused on encouraging more females into Retail.
How will you be supporting International Women’s Day this year? I’ll be attending most of the Women@Sky network seminars for International Women’s Day. I’m particularly looking forward to the one with Ruby Wax; I attended last years with Katie Piper and found her so inspiring. I’ll also be networking at these events with the very inspiring women who work here.
"I'll be holding development sessions for women in my area where we’ll share experiences, encourage achievement and challenge ourselves"
Name: Alison McAnna
Job title: Operations Manager
What area of Sky do you work in, and what do you do in your role? I work at our Livingston Contact Centre. We support our customers with broadband technical issue over the phone and via instant messaging. As Service Operations Manager I’m responsible for leading and supporting a team of 18 Leaders and 250 Advisors.
How did you get into your role? My career background has always been in Contact Centres. I joined because I knew some people that worked here who were really passionate about the company and their work, which fit with what I was looking for in my next role. I've been here for 10 years now and I’ve been able to progress my career by focusing on my strengths, building great relationships and inspiring others to achieve their goals.
How have you been able to progress since working here? I joined as a Customer Experience Manager which allowed me to develop the skills and experience needed to become an Operations Manager.
How has Sky supported you as a female in the workplace? I feel fully supported in my role here. I was lucky enough to take part in Sky’s Women in Leadership programme in 2017 which was focused on supporting women to have the confidence to progress their career. It was an amazing programme and opportunity to spend time with other inspiring women, learning and growing together.
How will you be supporting International Women’s Day this year? I'll be holding development sessions for women in my area where we’ll share experiences, encourage achievement and challenge ourselves.
“There are so many programmes and initiatives happening across the business to make this a great place to work for women”
Name: Andrea Burke
Job title: Operations Manager
What area of Sky do you work in, and what do you do in your role? I work within the customer service department of our Contact Centre in Stockport. I look after a team of Leaders and we help to make the Contact Centre a great place to work so that our people are able to offer the best possible service to our customers.
How did you get into your role? I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing people who challenge me, and always encourage me to be my best. It’s because of them that I’m where I am today.
How have you been able to progress since working here? I’ve only been here for 2 years but the development opportunities that have been available to me have been nothing short of amazing.
How has Sky supported you as a female in the workplace? There are so many programmes and initiatives happening across the business to make this a great place to work for women. We’ve been making great progress and we’re so passionate about driving change – I’m proud to be a part of it.
How will you be supporting International Women’s Day this year? As this year marks 100 years since women won the right to vote I’ve organised for us to go to SheFest on 10th March to celebrate and I can’t wait. I also plan to #PressForProgress and maintain a gender parity mind-set.
“The best things about working here are the awesome people, excellent rewards and numerous career development opportunities”
What are the best things about working at the Glasgow Contact Centre?
I would say the best things about working here are the awesome people, excellent rewards and numerous career development opportunities:
- The atmosphere at our site is amazing. There’s a real family feel and a sense of togetherness here. Our people enjoy working here because we work hard but have fun doing it
- We’re a very busy site, focused on supporting our customers when they need us, so we answer a high volume of calls. For our people, that means there’s a huge earning potential here, some of our Advisors earn c. £30,000 a year as well as an excellent benefits package
- We’re very committed to our people and offer regular training and development opportunities to those who want it. This shows as 80% of our Customer Experience Leaders and wider leadership team joined as Advisors and have been promoted into more senior roles
What does the role as an Advisor at the Glasgow Contact Centre involve?
Our Advisors receive calls from customers who are thinking of changing their package or leaving Sky. They ask questions, listen and understand the customers’ needs so that they’re able to offer a suitable solution to our customers.
In return they receive a salary of £19,200 (rising from £18,133 after successfully completing probation) plus bonuses. On average, our Advisors earn around £4,000 extra per year with the top Advisors earning up to an extra £10,000 which is a earning potential of c. £30,000 a year, plus all of the great benefits (such as free SkyQ, 30 days holiday a year, pension, medical and dental insurance, to name a few).
What is it that you look for in people?
The right attitude, we can teach you the rest. The people that excel in this role have passion, drive and a desire to do well.
What experience do you need?
You don’t necessarily need any type of experience. People that have worked in customer service and have a good understanding of how to ask questions, listen and build rapport with people do well. However, we have a broad range of people working here; from Retail Sales Assistants, to Bus Drivers, we even have a Solicitor who joined us. Having the right attitude is the most important thing.
We’ve been observing LGBT History Month, and we’ve had a fantastic celebration of inclusivity across the business.
LGBT History Month is drawing to an end and we're looking back at what an amazing month it's been. We’ve been to a number of sites with our roadshow, had a UK-wide bake off, a chat with West Lothian MP Hannah Bardell about truly being ourselves at work, and shared our amazing LGBT+ role models each day this month.
A unique roadshow
All month long, our LGBT+ network is hosting a unique roadshow across 18 sites. At each site, our network are running a special stall with interactive games, activities, and providing information about both LGBT+ history and the LGBT+@Sky network.
Our teams have been baking
The Sky Help and Solutions Development teams across the UK have taken part in a bake off to celebrate LGBT History Month and our fantastic Stonewall WEI result. Teams across Leeds, Sheffield, Dunfermline, Livingston and Uddingston got their baking on for an amazing cause.
Hannah Bardell MP joined us for a chat
On Friday 23rd February we were joined by West Lothian MP Hannah Bardell (one of 32 LGBT MPs in the House of Commons) for an exclusive conversation on her journey to truly being herself at work, which was followed by a short Q&A.
Forbidden Games – The Justin Fashanu Story
We’re holding a special screening at our onsite cinema in Osterley on Tuesday 27th February of Forbidden Games – The Justin Fashanu Story, a powerful and tragic documentary chronicling the first and only openly gay professional football player to come out while still playing.
We’re also extremely proud to have the filmmakers at a Q&A session, hosted by Sky News’ Stephen Dixon after the film.
We’ve been sharing some incredible LGBT role models
Each day this month we’ve been sharing our LGBT+ Role Models. And we’ve already had some incredible, inspiring, heart-warming, hilarious and thought-provoking role models from Nima Baniamer, Jon Holmes, Laura Bekker, Derek Davies, Sarah Halhead-Baker, Paul Toomey, Jordan McGhee, Sean Reid, Jordan Dennis, Sarah Farren, Jo Woodhead, Daniel O’Brien, Rachel Eden, Michael Ali, Holly Campbell, Nathan Horner, Andrew Jones and Anthony Longden-Kirk.
You can be a woman and still achieve a lot here...
Name: Jennefer Willmore
Job title: National Sales Manager
What area of Sky do you work in? Sky Business
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I began my career here back in 2012 as a Business Development Executive for Sky Business. This was an incredible role, it gave me a great platform to build my career upon. Since then I’ve led a team of Sales Advisors in Retail and have now come full circle back to Sky Business where I’m now very proud to be part of the management team leading the Business Development Executives (BDEs).
What does a typical day working here look like for you? The great thing about being a National Sales Manager (NSM) is that no two days are ever the same. I work very closely with the other NSMs and our aim’s to develop brilliance amongst the team and ensure outstanding results. I spend time with my team every week to support their development and will other core priorities such as Recruitment and working closely with our partners.
If you’ve been here over one year, how have you made a difference in your role? I’ve made a difference to my team by understanding the needs of each individual and how to gain the best from them. I believe it’s important to tailor your approach and ensure everyone has a bespoke plan and is given feedback and coaching to support their goals.
What’s your proudest moment since working here? My proudest moment was getting a Believe in Better Nomination. I helped lead an eight week programme to ensure our future talent had the necessary tools and support for their first steps into people management.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The role of an NSM is really rewarding. Seeing the team improve and develop makes my role really enjoyable and fulfilling.
Describe your work/life balance? Work life balance is so important. Making the most of your time out of work keeps your mind clear and focussed. I like to exercise regularly and spend quality time with family & friends.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Take control of your own development and own your future.
An interesting fact about you? In my final year at university, I shaved my head for charity. I raised a large sum of money through donation buckets at the Student Union and charged entry to watch it happen. However it did mean I had no hair in my graduation photos.
“When people talk about a Sky Engineer they often say “Sky man” because they assume that the job is done by a man”
Why do you think women don’t choose a career in home service? Historically, I think being a Home Service Engineer was seen as a man’s role. When people talk about a Sky Engineer they often say “Sky man” because they assume that the job is done by a man. It’s one of those unconscious biases that we unfortunately have today.
I think this has an impact of why females might rule themselves out of applying for the role, when in reality it’s definitely a role that they can do too. The role isn’t gender specific at all. Across the country, we have female Engineers that do the role very well and we’d love to have a more even gender balance in Home Service.
What’s your own career journey been like? I started my career here in one of our Contact Centre’s, answering phone call from our Engineers. I then made a leap from the Contact Centre into a Team Manager position, where I had responsibility for a team of 17 Engineers in the West Lothian area. I was definitely out of my comfort zone – I was the only woman and was younger than all of my colleagues – but the role was new and exciting.
I’m really proud of the progress that I’ve made here, particularly being the first female Team Manager in Scotland, and one of the first in the country. Looking back, there are some things I would do differently though. Working in a male dominated environment made me feel as though I had to be ‘one of the lads’ – I wasn’t necessarily true to myself or my identity. A real turning point for me was when I realized that it was ok to be me; I have my own skills, qualities and strengths. Being true to myself allowed me to be much more successful in my role, so much so that I progressed onto be a Regional Manager.
One of the great things about working here is that there are opportunities here no matter who you are, you just need to drive and ambition to put yourself forward and take them, and most importantly the courage to be yourself!
What’s the most common “myth” you hear about being an engineer? One of the common myths we hear is that being an Engineer could see you being in a vulnerable or unsafe situation. However, the safety of our Engineers is so important to us. We set guidance on health and safety whilst on the job, and equip our Engineers with devices for when they’re lone working, with a clear escalation process.
Another common myth that we hear is that you need previous experience or qualifications to be able to do the role. This is also untrue. We offer a comprehensive training programme that will fully equip you to be a successful Home Service Engineer.
What’s a Discovery Day? Our Discovery Days are specifically designed to tell women more about a career in Home Service. We want to break down the barriers and misconceptions which prevent women from applying. We’ve designed a Trainee Home Service Engineer Programme which gives women the opportunity to build the skills needed to become a Home Service Engineer, and the Discovery Day is the first step on that journey.
If you come to one, you’ll hear about some of the amazing women who successfully work in Home Service. We also share why having more females in our workforce is so important to the future of Home Service, as well as all of the fantastic support that’s available to you.
How is the training programme structured? Do you need to have experience? The Programme is a blended learning approach with a mixture of classroom, online and field based learning. From day one we teach you everything you need to know from drilling, tools and equipment, to customer service. The programme gives you lots of time to familiarise yourself with our safe working practices so that you are comfortable and confident when working out in the field.
The training programme is specifically designed to teach you all the skills needed to be a Home Service Engineer, so previous experience isn’t required.
"Being a Home Service Installer shouldn't be seen as a man's job, you can definitely be part of the team"
Name: Jade Yapp
Job title: Home Service Installer
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I'm a Home Service Installer based in Scotland. I complete Sky TV installations and carry out service visits. My priority is ensuring our customers have the best possible experience.
How did you get into your role? A close friend suggested I apply for the role as I've always had fairly physical jobs and thought I'd enjoy it.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? I work hard to provide our customers with the best service possible, so reading positive feedback from our customers has been a highlight for me.
What surprised you most about your role? How varied the role is, no two days are the same. I was also surprised by the number of challenges we come up against, but this is also what I enjoy most about my role as I love problem-solving.
Describe your work/life balance: I work a rota and quite enjoy having time off during the week as I'm able to get stuff done without the chaos of weekend shopping.
Have you had the opportunity to progress? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? As I'm fairly new to the role, I've had great support from everyone in my area to be able to grow as an Installer. There are a number of courses and lots of support available here to help you progress, so I know I'll get the support that I need to develop my skills.
Your top application tip for people applying now: For any females interested in this role, I'd say apply today. Being a Home Service Installer shouldn't be seen as a man's jobs, you can definitely be part of the team.
An interesting fact no one else knows about you: I was a boxer for 10 years.