Vodafone: "Culture is built from every email, every video call, every phone call"

Vodafone prepared 2,300 call centre staff for remote working in less than a week. MT speaks to its chief HR officer to find out how it builds culture and why getting it right makes hard business sense.

by Paul Simpson

How does a global business such as Vodafone build the right culture? For Leanne Wood, chief human resources officer at Vodafone, the answer to that question is both simple and intricate – as she tells Management Today: “Culture is built from every single interaction that takes place within the organisation – every email, every video call, every phone call.” 

That process may be harder to manage as the telecoms giant, which reported revenues of €34.8bn in 2021, adjusts to a new world of work but it has also, Wood says, never been more necessary: “We are committed to creating a thriving, productive and inclusive global community and it is important that, as we adjust to a new hybrid way of working, we’re not dogmatic, that we keep learning and keep adapting.”

The company reacted swiftly and decisively to the sudden need for staff – experienced at different times and in different ways in different countries – to work from home during the pandemic. The UK business, for example, prepared almost 2,300 call centre staff for remote working in less than a week, distributing more than 800 new laptops and 1,000 headsets and turning to such platforms as Microsoft Teams and Slack to reach out to employees.

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