In conversation with

Ian Turner
Talent Director
TalkTalk

“We wanted to embed a high-performance
culture at TalkTalk and continue to increase
employee engagement throughout
the organisation.“

Ian Turner, Talent Director @ TalkTalk

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The situation

We asked Ian ~ ‘What was it that lead you to seek our services? What was your challenge’?

“We wanted to embed a high-performance culture at TalkTalk and continue to increase employee engagement throughout the organisation. Providing colleagues with stretching objectives and key results and giving them transparency on how their work supports the wider aims of the business really enhances both performance and engagement.

We had goal setting already in place however many of the objectives were annual and were not revisited regularly. Therefore, occasionally the objectives became out of date and regular check-ins on progress were not actually part of the DNA. When we started to look at different methodologies for TalkTalk, OKRs stood out clearly as the one that would work for us. We wanted goal / objective setting and check-ins to become second nature and the heartbeat of the business. OKRs promised this, with a desire to drive performance and not just manage it.”

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“We wanted to embed a high-performance culture at TalkTalk and continue to increase employee engagement throughout the organisation.”

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The solution

We asked Ian ~ ‘What work did we do together’?

“This came in 4 phases. Setting up the playbook was our starting point. Laying out the principles behind OKRs and how we  would implement them. This was key for us as they had to work for our business and not simply be an off the shelf solution.  We then got the senior leadership involved on the work behind our annual objectives and key results. We wanted to ensure  these were specific, stretching, transparent, aligned to our business strategy and with clear measures and accountability. 

We then widened the audience to other senior leaders and contributors to break down the organisational annual OKRs into  specific OKRs that needed to be delivered in the next quarter in order for us to be on track to achieve our annual commitments.  We built in a regular cadence of weekly check-ins to drive that performance. This enabled us to identify and remove any  potential blockers at an early stage before it had the opportunity to derail our plans. More importantly however, the weekly  check-ins enable us to gain a momentum of progress which is hugely energising for all involved. 

Finally, we wanted the OKR methodology to be sustainable and so the additional training of our internal OKR coaches was  crucial in ensuring that our new approach to driving performance was fully embedded as we take OKRs throughout the whole  organisation.”

 

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“We wanted the OKR methodology to be sustainable and so the additional training of our internal OKR coaches was crucial.”

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The impact

We asked Ian ~ ‘What outcomes were achieved? What was the impact on growth’?

“TalkTalk Business have piloted OKRs with There Be Giants. What is now apparent is that our B2B objectives stand out as providing real line of sight as to how we are going to achieve our strategy quarter by quarter which is hugely engaging, Seeing the clarity and drive within TalkTalk Business has demonstrated the benefits that OKRs can provide and so the rest of the business are now keen to adopt this way of working”

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“Seeing the clarity and drive within TalkTalk Business has demonstrated the benefits that OKRs can provide and so the rest of the business are now keen to adopt this way of working.”

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In conclusion

We asked Ian ~ ‘What would you say to someone like yourself, facing the same challenge you had’?

“Don’t hesitate to implement OKRs, but equally don’t be ignorant about the amount of work needed to get them right. They have the power to transform your business but it needs a real investment of time and effort across the business as this is not only a process change but also a cultural change in terms of ways of working. OKRs are a massively worthwhile investment, of time and money.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the team at There Be Giants. Their style is very pragmatic; they listen and take a bespoke approach to implementing OKRs. It was important they took the time to understand our business and the outcomes we were looking for – there’s more than the theory involved in implementing OKRs. We’re looking forward to working with There Be Giants in the near future when we further roll out OKRs”.

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“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the team at There Be Giants. Their style is very pragmatic; they listen and take a bespoke approach to implementing OKRs.”