“Having a coaching session and unveiling a light bulb moment with one of my Advisors is what I live for”
Name: Kevin Woodward
Job title: Customer Experience Leader
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I’m based in our Glasgow Contact Centre, in the Retentions team. I’m charged with leading a team of exceptional Sales Advisors, ensuring they are motivated, coached, and have the necessary skills and knowledge to have fantastic conversations with our customers. In a sales environment, particularly the Retentions area, our conversations with our customers can be exceptionally rewarding, but there are times when they can be very tough. I work with a team of 14 individuals, helping them to work at their best every day is challenging to say the least. You can guarantee you’ll go home exhausted, but you’ll also feel satisfied that you’ve done your best for your team and customers.
How did you get into your role? I initially started in the Dunfermline BBCoE (Broadband Centre of Excellence), taking calls from customers looking to review their packages. I became interested in leadership and soon earned a position in Sky’s fantastic Stepping Into Management programme. During the next 18 months I worked with a wide range of teams within Dunfermline, developing my leadership skills, attending fantastic training courses, and expanding my network. In March 2016, I was offered a great opportunity to support the Glasgow Webhelp site through the transition over to Sky. Over the next 3 months I’d find myself relying on all my experience from Dunfermline to support my new colleagues. When an opportunity came up for a permanent Customer Experience Leader (CEL) role, the decision to apply took me no time at all.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? Apart from wearing loud shirts and playing some questionable music from my Spotify playlist, I like to think I’ve brought energy to the team. I don’t know how, but in my mid 30s, I’ve found a job that I love and as I walk through those double doors each morning I know I’m going to have some fun. That energy rubs off on my team, and from time to time I’ll look up and see one of them dancing whilst talking to a customer, or smiling.
Recently, after being together for only 3 months, our team won a spot at the recent Legends ball, achieving a top 8 spot within Glasgow. You only need to ask my wife how proud I was of this, boring her to tears every night in the run up to the final week, with talk of “top 8” being the conversation of choice. I was super proud!!
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Coaching and seeing the improvement of my team members. Our job can be exceptionally tough and there are always new products and developments, so there’s a lot to keep on top of. Having a coaching session and unveiling a light bulb moment with one of my Advisors is what I live for.
Describe your contact centre - what makes it a great place to work? Our Glasgow Contact Centre is developing, the change I have seen since I joined in March has been impressive, not just the infrastructure and look of the site, but in the feel and the buzz that is generated by the people that work here. We are still on a journey, but I feel everyone is committed to making the Centre the most enjoyable one.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Career opportunities here are abundant. One thing I know is that there are always opportunities to step sideways and upwards. In my short time here, I think I’ve developed and progressed by never saying no. Whatever was offered to me I said yes to, and now I’m doing the job I love. Just say yes, and see what happens.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself: I’m a dad to 5 children, yes 5! That usually gets the jaw dropping. Apart from that, there isn’t much else that I would say is interesting. I have walked the West Highland Way 4 times (95 miles each time) and I’m a huge Formula 1 fan.
“I love that our team is all about “doing the right thing”, really thinking about what the right thing to do is in each situation”
Name: Lisa Charlesworth
Job title: Senior Employee Relations Specialist
What area do you work in? Employee Relations Team, based in Newcastle.
How did you get to where you are now? I started as a Business HR consultant back in October 2011 supporting both the Newcastle and Leeds Contact Centres. Our team went through a period of change and that was when I secured a role as an Employee Relations Specialist. It was only a small team at the time looking after large business areas and after spending almost 2 years within the Employee Relations team the whole HR department went through a big restructure which significantly changed the way we worked. This gave me the opportunity to apply for the Senior Employee Relations Specialist role which is where I’ve been for the last 12 months (it’s hard to believe it’s already been 12 months).
Describe a typical day… Anyone who works within Employee Relations knows that not one day is the same (but that’s a good thing)! A typical day for me can vary quite a bit; it’s likely that there will be a meeting with the full team where we discuss things happening at the time, whether that be cases or other projects. I’ll definitely speak to my team members at some point or it might be a week where I’m meeting with them to have their 1-2-1’s. If I’m supporting any cases then I’ll spend time with the manager to make sure he/she is fully supported and spend some time coaching them through the ER process and next steps. Finally, if I’m supporting any change projects i.e. redundancy and or restructures, I’ll probably spend some time working with our HRVIP team to discuss redundancy illustrations and responding to any questions from employee’s through Individual consultation, recording updates and preparing for next steps.
What do you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? I guess the clue is in the job title I specialise in all things ER, including Conduct, Grievance, Capability, Sickness Absence as well as supporting the Central Change Team, specifically supporting managers with the Individual Consultation process.
Describe your work/life balance? I think most people who work here would say we have some great policies that allow for flexibility in terms of work/life balance i.e. time off to move house (which is coming in really handy for me right now) or a day off to get married which I used up 2 years ago! We all work hard and that never goes un-noticed so when flexibility is needed I know I can speak to my manager for support.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? That’s a tough question and I definitely can’t pick just 1!! The people here are really great and we have a fab team within Employee Relations… we’re all willing to help each other out and work hard to achieve what we need to. I also love that not one day is the same and whilst you can have great plans often something comes up that has to take priority – a little variety is nice! I also love that our team is all about “doing the right thing” it’s not about rigidly sticking to policy but really thinking about what the right thing to do is in each situation!
What would be your advice to someone who’d want to do what you’re doing? I would say you have to really want to work within Employee Relations! It’s a little like marmite, you either love it or hate it; there’s no middle ground! If you love it… then this is the job for you!
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I always pull this one out the bag at team meetings so I can’t say no-one else knows this about me, but when I was younger I used to dance quite a lot and had a good few years dancing in panto at the local theatre… got to meet Joe Mangle from Neighbours – what more would any kid want!
Over two years later, and my start on the Fast Forward scheme, is still opening so many doors for me
Role: Previously on the Fast Foward Programme
I first joined as an intern on the Fast Forward placement scheme. This was a unique opportunity for students finishing Year 13, and interested in delving into the world o media. There were spaces available in various business areas including Sky News, Sky Sports, Sky Creative, Production Services and where I ended up – Entertainment.
During my 11 month placement, I was able to rotate around 12 departments within Entertainment. These included Acquisitions, Commissioning, Production, Scheduling, PR, Marketing, Music, On-Demand and Online.
This was a great way to get a full and in-depth overview of how TV is put together from a broadcaster’s perspective. From writing script reports for a new drama; to helping the production team on set; seeing it come together in the editing suite; devising marketing stunts for a big launch and finally seeing the finished product on-air. There are so many wonderful teams that do their part in making the brilliant content we see on TV, and as an intern, it was incredible to work so closely with each of them.
This kind of exposure was a great way to discover my own potential career paths. Coming out of education and into a dynamic business environment, it was a privilege to have an insight into the careers I could have once I completed university.
Towards the end of my placement, I was able to choose one department to go back to for an extended period, and I decided on the Acquisitions team. This is the department involved in buying content for our TV channels. Because I planned to study law after the scheme, I took an interest in how closely this team worked with the in-house lawyers, the contract work involved and all the negotiations that took place.
During this period my team selected me, to feature in Broadcast Magazine’s annual spread on the UK’s rising young people working in the media industry, highlighting my progress on the scheme that year. A huge testament to what is possible when deciding to make the most of the opportunities offered.
After this, I began studying law at university. I re-entered the academic environment with a renewed focus and broadened outlook on all that was available to me/
But I couldn’t stay away for too long and was able to re-join the Music team during my first summer break. This time I was able to handle some negotiations of my own, acquiring the music licensing rights for a new Sky 1 commission. It was great to come back and have a further in-depth experience with the team.
I'd definitely say that starting out here has had a huge impact on how I see and approach my future. Working in a large and growing business has opened me up to the vast array of opportunities that are available, and has enabled me to meet great people who’ve encouraged me to make the most of all that comes my way.
Over two years later, and my start on the Fast Forward scheme, is still opening so many doors for me. And I’m excited to see which door will open next.
"One big thing that struck me was how everyone’s job was linked to each other"
Role: Work Experience at Soccer AM
You get to do a variety of things
For the first part of the week we would research a football game between two Championship teams, and do some game logging, which is where we loaded up a football match, watched it and recorded the important parts like the goals, fouls, penalties, and stuff like that. We’d send that through, all packaged up. I also researched topics to discuss for Saturday’s show, also did research on the musical guests The Rifles, and helped with a photo shoot for the Soccer AM Christmas Special. On top of this, I sat in on a production meeting.
You’ll also help with filming the actual show
The lead-up day to shooting the show was really important, and also so interesting seeing how everyone works to help create the show. The day before, we had to run back to get the props and also prepare and rehearse. On the actual day, my job was to welcome the guests, speak with them a bit, and get them food and coffee or whatever they need. We’d also help with the audience coming in, too.
You get left to your own devices
I really enjoyed packaging up the footage for the games, because it’s something I’d be doing if I go into journalism - they have to watch games and write reports, picking out the key bits, so it was useful to see how it worked. It really established what I want to, which is sports journalism, and we were about to do the packaging up all by ourselves by the end of the week. They explained it so well, and made it so easy!
It’s all about teamwork
One big thing that struck me was how everyone’s job was linked to each other, and they made sure everyone stayed on track. If someone had finished their work early, they would take work from someone else. It wasn’t everyone out for themselves. Also, I loved it so much that myself and my friend who was also doing work experience there ended up coming in from 9 and leaving at 6.30 even though the day was supposed to be 10-4. We didn’t want to leave!
Put any extra-curricular activities you do on the application form
The application asked for two paragraphs explaining why you should be selected to do work experience at Sky and what you want to get out of it. It gives you a chance to emphasise your passion and, for anyone applying, I’d say make sure you put all the extra stuff you’ve done. I write a sports blog and work for the uni radio station reporting football, so that helped me get through the door. If you’re passionate about football, then emphasise that too, obviously! Because they’re all mad about football there, so you need love it just as much in order to understand what they’re talking about!
Name: Sam Nicholson
Job title: Legal Counsel
What area do you work in? Legal & Business Affairs
How are you supported to be yourself at work? We pride ourselves on diversity and the Legal & Business Affairs team is a leading example of this! The team is made up of over 100 legal and support staff from all areas of life and from all over the world. As a result, I find that the team is very dynamic, open to change and willing to support each other. On a day-to-day basis, I’m empowered (and encouraged) by management to manage and prioritise my workload to ensure I have the right work/life balance (which means I can be myself both in and out of work).
What does a typical day working here look like for you? I’m a commercial lawyer who supports our Insight and Decision Science department (‘IDS’) in legal matters relating to viewing-related insight services to assist the company in making better decisions as a business and its advertisers and their media agencies in making more effective use of their marketing spend.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Supporting the business during each phase of developing new product propositions from the formulation of the concept to negotiating complex agreements with both integral suppliers and the end user customer is a very rewarding part of my job. It means that you feel part of the business and adding material value to the team rather than pure technical legal advice.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Apart from the interesting work, the people who I work with are the most enjoyable … the Legal & Business Affairs team is enthusiastic about each other and the whole of the company! We enjoy getting together and celebrating success and enjoy letting our hair down after work.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Be commercial (without putting the company at material risk) and listen to the needs of your internal clients! Pure technical lawyers would struggle in this department as you need to be able to put your commercial hat on and run with a deal!
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? A few years ago, back in Australia, I randomly went into a public restroom. Walking in I thought it was odd that there were a few menacing guys in suits standing outside the door...once I was at the urinal I understood why … the Prime Minister was standing next to me and wanted a chat! Quite the awkward moment!
“My latest project demonstrated the added value in combining research insight with customer insight”
Name: Richard Higgins
Job title: Insight Controller
What area do you work in? NOWTV – Insight and Decision Science, managing the insight feeding into targeting and decisioning.
What was the content of the project you worked on? Combining attitudinal research with statistical modelling to drive greater personalisation in online customer cancellation journeys. Our decisioning logic consisted of attitudinal segmentation and price elasticity modelling that will dictate the path through the journey and the conversation taking place within it.
Why was the experience on this particular project worthwhile? It demonstrated the added value in combining research insight with customer insight and to use the output in a way which directly affects the customers’ interaction on the website. Also working collaboratively with many other areas of the business such as the design team and the product development teams in supporting a data-driven organisation.
If this project was in addition to your BAU, how did you manage your workload? It was not in addition to BAU.
Who were the main stakeholders? The Sales & Marketing team as this is a major initiative expected to be a key driver towards meeting several of our KPI’s for this year and beyond
What did you enjoy most about this project? From an insight perspective the statistical modelling is sophisticated and challenging and a great example of why we took the decision to embed research and data analytics within the same team. Also the collaborative effort between many areas of the business coming together to work towards a common goal and working within a group who are all so keen for data to be the principle driver behind key business decisions is exciting.
“The exciting part has been seeing how well the project was received and the number of changes the business is making.”
Name: Steve Waterman
Job title: Insight Manager
What area do you work in? The analytical team, IDS, with a focus on providing insights to help make the in-life customer experience as valuable and enjoyable as possible.
What was the content of the project you worked on? We looked in depth across a range of viewing behaviours to understand what triggered a customer to cancel their NOW TV subscription. This allows us to come up with new ways to improve the customer experience which benefits everyone!
Why was the experience on this particular project worthwhile? The project really helped the business focus its attention on a few key areas which would have the most impact on the customer experience. From a personal element, it introduced me to a range of people across the business and provided an interesting & engaging challenge to try to uncover the key patterns of behaviour amongst lots of noise in the data.
If this project was in addition to your BAU, how did you manage your workload? We had good engagement and interest from our stakeholders, meaning they were keen for us to invest time to uncover the real drivers.
Who were the main stakeholders? The main stakeholders were our Customer Management team, but the results were also informative for our Marketing, Product, Editorial, UX and Strategy teams.
What did you enjoy most about this project? During the project, there was lots of scope for debating ideas, approaches and interpretations of results which allowed a lot of creative freedom. Since we delivered the project, the exciting part has been seeing how well it was received and the number of changes the business is making or planning as a direct result of our insights.
"If you learn better by doing (rather than sitting in class), this is for you"
Role: Journalism Apprentice, Sky Sports News
Zinny has been watching Sky Sports News since he was seven - now he's cutting up montage clips and reviewing the presenters' scripts. All while doing a journalism course. If you want to get your qualifications, while learning on the job, an apprenticeship is the best way forward
You’ll get your articles published
I started off in the planning department, setting up interviews, logging where all the cameras go and making a diary so you can refer to it and know which reporter has gone where. It was a good way to ease into the role, as I wasn’t thrown completely in the deep end, but once I got to the digital department, I was set writing news articles for the website. I did one about Jamie Vardy, who last year wasn’t allowed to practice shooting drills towards the end of the season, and it was at the top of the trending list on the website for most of the day.
It’s not just writing articles
When I was on production, we would spend the beginning of the day looking at footage. If there had been a game we would cut the clips up to make montages for shows. We’d write the instructions for the presenter, and I got to have a go at the script first, then someone else would have another look or change it. I didn’t really expect that, I was pretty nervous, but you learn really quickly. It’s a nicer way to learn, rather than just listening in a classroom. You’ll rotate around all the areas of sports - production, planning, digital, edit, everything, so you can get an idea of what you’d maybe like to do. Soon I’m going to start going out with reporters, which will be really fun!
You get to report at some really big events
I went to do two weeks at Wimbledon with Sky News - for the bulletins, people go down there and, though they can’t go inside or film inside, they film in the front you can see the back of centre court. My job was to record all the press conferences and interviews after the matches, put them in the machine, and feed it back to everyone. I wasn’t working on the men’s final, but I got to watch the women’s final which was pretty cool!
You still keep up with your studies
I go to college one day a week, and have to do everything to make sure it fits with what I’m doing at college. I’m doing general journalism at the same time which is good because it doesn’t close me off from options in terms of a future career. Also, if I pass all my exams, I get a job afterwards which is a good motivation to work on my course alongside the apprenticeship! When the exams come up, they say you can have a few days off from the office to revise and I also get an hour a day to do what I need to do coursework-wise.
If you learn better by doing (rather than sitting in class), this is for you
I used to sit at home and just watch Sky Sports News from the age of seven. I think they’re looking for people who have that sort of passion, but also for someone who learns better by doing rather than being taught. At school, I never felt very clever, but in the real world it’s about getting a grasp of things and then you can do it really quickly. It’s easier to learn if you see a point to something, rather than sitting at school and people telling you about things.