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Fresh thinking

While Vodafone regularly carries out staff surveys, for more immediate feedback the FM team turns to technology. “To ensure everyone has a voice, our culture in Vodafone includes a tool called Yammer, a type of social media platform which we can utilise to check what employees would like to see going forward,” says Dunbar. “Monitoring that is really important as you will soon learn if employees want changes.”

Staff also have access to a dedicated microsite, foodconnect.com, which features a landing page that tells people the food choices on offer, including the daily menu. This is coupled with electronic point of sale (EPoS) systems at the tills, as well as an app that enables users to pre-order, pre-pay and provide feedback on their experience.

This not only makes life more convenient for employees, it can also be used to acknowledge and reward their contribution to the organisation. Says Dunbar: “We have an ongoing targeted campaign across the whole of the UK, called ‘surprise and delight’, with which we can utilise QR codes that enable us to offer employees free coffee and hot drinks to celebrate business successes.”

For Gather & Gather, the technology provides useful feedback to help it enhance its level of service. “We can see on the back end of the app where the peaks and troughs are, and where there is a steady stream of coffee throughout the day,” says Moore. “For us it’s about having the information at our fingertips and resourcing that accordingly.”

Alongside the structural and menu changes across the Newbury campus, the health message has been delivered throughout the estate via a series of wellbeing exhibitions held across the country. A range of Live Well Under 500kcal nutritionally balanced main meals, developed in line with Vodafone’s wellbeing goals, has been promoted to employees. This has resulted in a 15 per cent increase in sales, and the range now makes up 35 per cent of total main meal sales across Vodafone.

As a result of these successes, Gather & Gather was awarded the Hospitality Assured (HA) accreditation by the Institute of Hospitality for its work with Vodafone UK within just six months of being appointed.

Dunbar insists the momentum will continue. “We’ve another survey going out imminently which will inform our longer-term plans going forward. We have ideas, but we need to take that feedback on board first to move forward.” This includes discovering the very different needs of sites such as the global HQ at Paddington. “We need to determine what the people in that building would need, which might not be the same as other sites,” she says. “We mustn’t lose sight of tuning into local needs.”

This certainly applies to the regional call centres. Dunbar explains that call centres tend to cluster in certain areas, which means the working environment is a crucial factor differentiating between employers. It’s not just about financial packages, she says – offering an engaging, dynamic environment is essential to attract and retain top people, and keep them working at their best.

In the end, it all comes down to one thing. “It’s always about understanding what our customers want.”

About Sarah OBeirne


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