Here’s what we’ve been up to
A day in the life of… Luke Taylor
In a nutshell, what do you do?
Put simply, being a programme manager involves working closely with businesses to help transform the way they work. We are basically problem solvers. In my role, good people skills are everything; a typical programme involves talking with different clients and stakeholders to ensure everything is joined up and moving in the same direction.
My main passion is digital transformation and during my three and a half years with Entec Si, I’ve been lucky enough to work across many sectors, from local and central government to the not-for-profit sector.
What do you love about your job, and why?
I love that I get to meet lots of interesting people at work. In particular, drilling down into their motivations for wanting change is fascinating. I’ve really enjoyed getting involved in developing talent too, whether that be mentoring our junior team members, or upskilling clients on site.
However, probably the best thing about my role is being able to experience the entire programme lifecycle, from kick-off right through to completion, and witness the power of positive change on client outcomes first-hand.
What is most challenging about your job, and why?
The flip side of working with lots of different stakeholders is the need to constantly manage expectations. This can be tricky when working with large organisations and requires a delicate touch to ensure everyone is on the same page, and working towards a common goal.
The varied nature of programme management means that it’ll never be 100 per cent straightforward. However, as someone who enjoys a challenge, I try to see obstacles as opportunities to learn and progress.
What three words would you use to describe Entec Si as a business? Please explain your choices!
“Variety”, “fun” and “opportunity”. One of the best things about working at Entec Si is that you never know what the day will bring! For example, one day you might be delivering a cloud migration project for a local council and the next you’re helping to launch a passenger self-service system for an airport.
I‘ve chosen “fun” because even when the going gets tough, the team always tries to keep everyone’s spirits up. We all enjoy our regular social events and away days too!
Finally, “opportunity” is the perfect word to describe the business as its investment in people is second-to-none.
What route did you take into the world of business change?
From a young age, I set my sights on following in my father’s footsteps within the legal industry by becoming a barrister, which I know is quite an unusual career aspiration for a child! However, while studying law at university, I decided that it wasn’t something I wanted to do as a living.
Organising the university’s Critical Law Conference gave me a taste for driving stakeholder engagement and seeing the pay-off from successful project delivery. After graduating, I saw an advert for a junior project manager role at the Home Office and realised that the key skills I’d developed – reasoning, planning and analytics – were a good fit for a consultancy career. After three years working on different projects around the UK, I found a role advertised with Entec Si. The rest is history!
What do you wish you’d known when you started your career?
That it’s ok to make mistakes! It’s often when things get tough that your skills show through – without things going wrong, how can you learn?
I also wish I’d known that it’s fine to ask for help sometimes. No matter what point you’re at in your career, there will always be things you don’t know.
What has been your best ever moment at Entec Si?
Without a doubt, it was the delivery of CSSC’s digital service programme. It was the culmination of 18 months of hard work, but seeing the impact of the organisation’s new website, CRM system and events booking tool made every moment worthwhile! It was also a programme which saw other junior members of the team make huge strides in terms of their professional development, which was really great to see.
What would your ideal weekend look like?
One which involves playing or watching sport of some kind! I love the camaraderie you experience when playing rugby, and I’m a member of Old Newtonians RFC. My other passion outside of work is live music, so I go to gigs and festivals whenever I can. If it’s a more relaxed weekend, one of my more unusual hobbies is playing board games with friends and family – our favourite at the moment is a railway-themed game called ‘Ticket to Ride’!
Covid-19 Series – local government
While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting organisations across all sectors, local authorities have several specific obstacles to overcome. Providing vital public services, local government departments have had to quickly adapt their processes, despite budget and technology restraints.
However, with careful planning and the right specialist expertise, councils can continue to meet the needs of their communities, while implementing new working strategies that safeguard employee safety and wellbeing.
As a provider of “key public services” set out by the Government, local councils are playing a crucial role during the current crisis. With many services experiencing an uptick in demand due to coronavirus and gaps in resources, councils may need to modernise their processes, such as IT and technology, in order to meet this growing need and protect employees.
Remote but connected working
Despite tight budgets and often limited technology infrastructure, much like many other businesses, local government are too having to implement remote working arrangements. To do so effectively, councils need to supply workers with the right technology solutions and think ahead in terms of the impacts that remote working might have on the organisation’s people, processes, systems and infrastructure
Keeping up communication
Over time, working from home may lead to a feeling of isolation. If left unsupported, employees may become disengaged and detached from their teams and the wider organisation; which could damage the overall dynamic and may lead to a dip in productivity. By maintaining an open line of communication and emphasising trust in workers to manage their workload, leaders can maintain team motivation.
Get the right expertise
The need for rapid organisational changes can cause disruption to everyday processes, however, with the right support this can be minimised, and local authorities can ensure that changes are made to last. By relying on experienced specialists, authorities can be successful in relieving short-term pressures and realising the council’s long-term goals.
Through strategic thinking and planning, councils can adapt for the “new normal” in working practices. By adapting to the emerging COVID-19 situation and modernising their processes accordingly, local authorities can emerge from this crisis as more agile organisations.
For more information on how to deliver an effective COVID-19 response, please contact Julie Smith.
Entec Si – coronavirus statement
We are taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak very seriously and have put in place a range of measures to help to protect our team and our clients. We’ve been following official guidance from the Government and health authorities to ensure we are minimising the risk exposure, while keeping any disruption to our service limited.
We are very much running as usual, in very unusual circumstances.
The measures we’ve put in place include:
- Amending company ways of working – We’ve implemented new company policies and operational procedures to safeguard the health and safety of all of our teams and and clients – ensuring our ways of working limit the spread of COVID-19
- Keeping up-to-date with guidance – Our whole team is receiving official guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus and the steps to take if they have coronavirus symptoms
- Home working – We’ve always worked flexibly, but remote working has become our new norm for the time being. As some of the sectors we operate in involve key workers, we are attending site on occasions to support these areas, but only when absolutely necessary
- Daily updates – We’re contingency and continuity planning on an ongoing basis to ensure there is no disruption to the service we provide
How can we help?
We’re in the business of change and we’re helping many to adjust to this new world. Now is the time to make change happen, not run away from it and for many businesses, there is no choice but to adapt.
Although this is unlike any usual circumstance, there are many ways in which we can support businesses through the coronavirus outbreak – get in touch for support and guidance. The areas of most interest at the moment include:
- Business continuity planning
- Implementing remote working for your staff, including fit for purpose tools and technology, processes, procedures, documents, training and support
- Facilitation of online meetings and documentation/online workshops/FAQs
- Supply chain analysis
- eLearning development
Five steps to managing change in the charity sector
Effective operational change can help charities to make the most of their existing resources, boost internal efficiencies and attract further support from donors. The sector’s ever-growing emphasis on ‘value for money’ and difficulties around securing funding are increasing the need for streamlined processes, which have a positive impact on public perception.
Following these five top tips can help charities to drive value from transformation projects, and benefit those in need.
Recognise red flags
Staying alert for signs that a charity is struggling to achieve its objectives can help when deciding whether to implement operational change. Warning signs might include high levels of stress or a lack of motivation amongst employees. Inefficient processes and the lack of a proactive approach within an organisation may also indicate the need for urgent improvements.
Drive forward digital transformation
Having a strong digital strategy in place is essential for enabling accountability around spending decisions and measuring the impact of a charity’s work. Other important benefits of digital solutions include:
- Streamlined internal processes and systems
- Enhanced communications with employees working remotely
- Increased competitiveness
Choose a tailored change solution
Choosing a bespoke change solution, which complements a charity’s existing resources and works alongside employees, is vital. Doing so will ensure that change projects deliver long-term results. This approach provides the workforce with opportunities to upskill and boosts their sense of ownership.
Bolster employee buy-in
Investing time in internally communicating the reasons for change is vital for securing employees’ commitment to making transformation projects a success. Assessing potential impacts on the workforce, and taking steps to mitigate these in advance helps to ensure a smooth change transition.
See the bigger change picture
Strained resources, funding issues and time-poor employees may mean that charities fail to view change projects as a priority. However, when implemented effectively, organisational transformation can significantly enhance efficiencies whilst supporting long-term relationships with donors.
For more information or to discuss change management solutions further, please contact Anna Lane.
Driving value from business change in HE
Investing in up-to-date facilities and undertaking a business culture transformation could support UK universities in a number of ways. Not only can it help to maintain profitability, but it could also mitigate the impact of Brexit on overseas applications. However, the disparate nature of many institutions and difficulties in accessing funding can make business transformation challenging for the sector.
Here are five steps to drive effective business change. They will help gain the support of the entire university community and keep costs under control:
Outline business change objectives
To ensure large-scale transformation projects run smoothly, it’s essential to map out key drivers for the programme at an early stage. Undertaking a gap analysis will enable universities to consider the current outputs and actions needed to improve efficiencies. By doing this, comparisons with competitor institutions can be made.
Rather than attempting to handle all areas of a change project at once, institutions should divide it into specific areas. This will enable them to prioritise changes which offer the best return on investment. They can then focus on these first. For example, streamlining the supply chain can have a rapid and significant impact across different stakeholder groups
Evaluate processes and systems
Technological innovations across the sector are developing at a rapid pace. As a result, HE institutions should waste no time in a thoroughly reviewing their processes and systems. This will allow any improvements to be included in the business transformation programme. It will also help to drive efficiencies across the project.
Create a communications plan
People experience business change in different ways. For this reason, it’s important that the communications plan for large projects considers the need to communicate to a variety of stakeholders. This should be done using a range of different channels. Including an FAQ section or site can prove a useful way of anticipating stakeholders’ likely questions. It also provides them with the information they need.
Ensuring stakeholders are onboard with business changes is crucial. A successful communications plan, using honest and consistent messaging, will help win trust.
Consider external reputation
Reputation is crucial for HE institutions. Therefore it’s vital that they give thought to communicating change externally and maintaining a positive public image. During this process, universities should ensure that their external messaging aligns with what has been communicated to internal stakeholders.
Sofia’s first month
My first month with Entec Si has been amazing! I am doing a level 4 apprenticeship in Project Management. I have already experienced what an apprentice is and what it involves.
What is an apprenticeship?
Prior to this, I completed an apprenticeship in level 3 in Business Administration for a year and a half. Being an apprentice means that you attend classes with an experienced tutor in the subject field and you take part in workshops and activities. On top of that you learn new skills and abilities within the assigned role.
For me this works well as full time education is not a viable option. The apprenticeship is designed so that you can work and study at the same time.
This apprenticeship will last 24 months, and I will learn how projects work and, ultimately, how to manage one. In addition to this, I will undertake numerous theory lessons such as planning, risk and quality, stakeholder management, etc. The mix of onsite experience and taught lessons should give me a rounded experience of project management.
My first week
For my first week at Entec Si I was based in the office. I spent some time with Dave, our Business Support Manager, and went through the induction process. As well as this, I received a lot of information on the systems and processes, which was helpful.
I also spent time with Alix, Communications Support, who explained how I would be assisting the Business Support team. We also completed the onboarding process in which I learnt about the Entec Si values and how important they are.
During my second week I went on two different sites and it was a great experience. I was able to meet more of the Entec team and learn about the projects they were working on. It was fantastic to get a sense of how the team works onsite and the environment I will be working in.
Continuing the journey
It is fantastic to see that every day is different, and this is what excites me about Entec Si. The variety of work and being able to work with different colleagues is a great opportunity to learn and grow. Also seeing how the team work to their strengths is a great motivation.
I am very much looking forward to the rest of my time with Entec Si. I am so happy to be part of an amazing company!
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