Here’s what we’ve been up to

Meet the consultant… Sarah Frost

1. What does an average day look like for a senior resource manager?

There’s no such thing as an average day! I am lucky to be involved in all areas of the business, from people development and operation planning to delivery, recruitment and, of course, resource management. My primary purpose is to ensure we have the right resource, in the right place, at the right time. This gives me lots of variety to get my teeth into and means every day brings a different focus and challenge.

2. What are the three most important skills for a senior resource manager to have?

Communication is key. The ability to converse with people at all levels, including managing stakeholders and key customers, and to listen effectively, is instrumental in my role. You also need to be a people person. I live and breathe our culture and values and genuinely want the best for our team and the company. Last is the ability to multi-task. Working across all aspects of the business means daily reprioritisation and lots of lists!

3. How have you grown professionally since joining Entec Si?

I joined Entec Si two years ago as a resource manager; within six weeks we entered our first lockdown. It was a challenge getting to know the team and the business in a virtual world, but one I welcomed and have thrived in. Mine was a new role to the company, and during this time I have shaped and grown it into my own. I am also fortunate to be part of our Operational Board, where I can support the strategic and operational growth of the company.

4. What are your goals for 2022?

My personal goal is to re-start running after time away with an injury; being able to run 10 miles without pain again would be the dream. I will also continue to provide my boys with enriching life experiences – this year we are taking them to their first ever music festival, as well as regularly attending matches at Aston Villa Football Club!

Professionally, my goal is to keep developing my knowledge, skills, and experience as Entec Si continues to grow, as well as supporting our team to achieve their personal goals and meet our business targets.

5. What’s your favourite thing about working at Entec Si?

Without hesitation, it is our people. Everyone lives by our culture and values, and this really comes through in how we work together and with our customers. It really is the foundation of Entec Si, and I know that even on a difficult day, I have someone I can reach out and talk to.

6. How do you unwind?

Like many people, I read and listen to music, but my absolute favourite way to unwind is Hot Pod yoga. The warmth and peacefulness are guaranteed to give me a good night’s sleep. I’ve even been known to drift off during savasana…

7. If Entec Si had a yearbook, what would you be voted most likely to do?

I’ve already done the stereotypical yearbook activities, like sky diving and running a marathon, so I’d have to say travelling the world with my boys. Everyone knows I’m a people person and being able to learn first-hand about other cultures with them would be amazing.

Getting set for growth with two new hires

We’ve started the year as we mean to go on, strengthening our consultancy expertise with the appointment of an experienced consulting director and an assistant consultant.

The new hires will put us in a strong position for further growth, following our switch to a new consultancy-based operating model in April last year. The move will bring benefits for clients and our people alike, enabling us to step up our people’s development, while improving our cross-sector service offering.

Sarah Towers joins our operational board as consulting director. As well as leading our local government sector, Sarah will work with our CEO, Eman Al-Hillawi and chair, Peter Marsden to shape Entec Si’s commercial strategy. Before joining the business, Sarah gained 16 years’ experience at Capita Technology Solutions and Capita Public Service.

David Walker has been appointed as an assistant consultant, bringing with him a strong background in the delivery of internal projects. He will be supporting the team with business analysis and project delivery for a number of clients.

Eman Al-Hillawi, CEO at Entec Si commented:

“These appointments mark a positive start to 2022, building on the successful implementation of our new operating model last year. The sky’s the limit for us this year and we already have plans to make more key hires over the coming months. 

“I’m very much looking forward to working with Sarah and David and seeing their careers go from strength to strength on this next stage of our growth journey.” 

Sarah Towers, consulting director at Entec Si, said:

“With its strong track record in spearheading major change initiatives, Entec Si’s growth potential is clear to see. Throughout my career, I’ve helped businesses across many different sectors to achieve positive transformation results, so I was immediately on board with the business’ mission of ‘change for good’.” 

Five years at Entec Si

After five years at Entec Si, I have gained so much; a brain full of knowledge, a heart full of memories, and friendships to last a lifetime. Five years feels like an exciting milestone to reflect on and I can’t wait to celebrate more achievements.

In the beginning

I joined Entec Si as a project manager and was quickly launched into the world of consultancy and project management. Earning my Prince2 accreditation at 52 wasn’t something I had imagined I’d ever do. This was a huge leap for me and I’m so proud that I did it – it felt like such an achievement to embrace learning something new.

Alongside this I began working at my first client, East Northamptonshire Council and the Borough Council of Wellingborough. Having worked for 29 years at Birmingham City Council, I was familiar with local government. In addition to this, my project-based mentality helped me to really throw myself into the work.

Within those three years I worked on various projects such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, an ICT transformation programme and a project to transition the two councils to a shared Revenues and Benefits platform, and the implementation of a shared Revenues and Benefits document management system.

I believe my longevity with this client was due to my stakeholder engagement and ability to deliver projects. For me, it is simple: when you deliver good work, people come back. Building trust is an essential part of our work and the best way to do this is by delivering projects for our clients effectively.

How to become the best you

As passionate as I am about my client work, I am just as impassioned about developing our team. I’m a keen advocate for nurturing less experienced members of staff and sharing knowledge with my colleagues to enable them to flourish into the best version of themselves. The combination of project delivery and people development is a sweet spot for me.

As part of our people development, I supported Entec Si to welcome their first ever apprentice! In addition to this, I have also helped to run company away days and workshops focused on developing skills across the team. A memorable workshop was aptly titled ‘how to become the best you’ and I think that sums up my approach towards development.

Feeling valued

After five years with Entec Si, there are too many memories to write about, but a particular standout moment for me was at my first Entec Si Values Awards. The company runs an annual values awards for their team to showcase those who have exemplified the values throughout the year. These are voted for by your fellow colleagues.

In my first year I was honoured to be nominated for all five values (Care, Commitment, Integrity, Versatility, and Collaboration). In addition to this, I won the award for Care and the overall award for the person who had exhibited the values as a whole.

This was a real eye-opening moment. I was able to step back and realise that this was a group of people who recognised me for who I was. Since then, I have won the Care award every year and I’m just as surprised each time!

A network of support

My time at Entec Si has been all about people; developing relationships with clients, creating friendships with colleagues, and learning something from everyone I meet. I don’t know the answer to everything, but our culture celebrates a collaborative way of working and this has allowed me to thrive.

Without Entec Si, I never would have proactively started networking, but having the confidence and support of my colleagues allowed me to explore an area that was new to me. The last five years have been a real endorsement of the confidence that Entec Si places in its team and people.

Ready for the next step

Although I have already achieved so much with Entec Si, there are still so many exciting opportunities ahead of me. As part of the new Operating Model, I’m hoping to mature and consolidate my role. Part of this will be growing and running with key customer accounts whilst working with Sarah Towers to help shape and grow our local government clients. Watch this space!

Challenging change management myths

Change and business go hand in hand, however, the people side of change can present challenges. As a process surrounded by misconceptions, how can businesses overcome the myths that surround change management?

1. Make sure everyone is on the same page

People naturally fear change. Whether caused by previous experiences or approaches, this means teams can be resistant to the process. However, for transformation to be successful, employees must be on board, otherwise things can go awry and impact the whole business.

2. Explain the purpose of change

Change can be a powerful tool for good, with the potential to take an organisation to where it needs to go. As a result, job cuts are often not involved and change projects can deliver benefits for people across the business.

3. Communicate clearly with teams

Clear communication and engagement with employees are vital, as they are the ones who will be impacted by change. Keeping them informed, being understanding about their concerns, and providing support and training should be a priority. Similarly, demonstrating care for teams in this way can lead to more employee buy-in and improvements to company culture, such as increased flexibility, preparedness and agility.

4. Understand the mental impact of change

Change can impact people’s wellbeing, so it’s important to be able to recognise change fatigue. By tailoring their change approach, businesses can identify how people are impacted in different ways, and ensure employees are supported.

Change is an inevitable part of business life. In order that it’s kept positive, businesses need to demystify what it means for employees. Through communication, clarity and effective change management, decision-makers can ensure their business delivers ‘change for good’.

Want to learn more about change management, contact us.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Meet the consultant… Ben Brown

1. Describe what a Junior Consultant does in as few words as possible

The role of Junior Consultant is flexible and can involve many different activities, depending on the person’s strengths and interests. I spend a lot of my time supporting the wider team and assisting with  different areas of project delivery.

2. What skills do you need to excel in this role?

It’s important to enjoy and be motivated by a challenge. As this is a very people-focused role, being an excellent communicator is also vital. Other good qualities to have are being a good listener and having strong analytical skills.

3. What did your journey to becoming a Junior Consultant look like?

I started out my career in finance, which allowed me to develop my ability for problem- solving. It also gave me some strong project management experience, which was useful for stepping into the world of consultancy.

4. Three words to describe Entec Si?

Collaborative, dedicated and transparent.

The business places a big emphasis on community, for the good of our team and our clients. We’re always looking for ways to improve the way we do things through great teamwork. This is clear from our CSR activity and our unique blended teams approach, where we work seamlessly with client teams to achieve long-lasting transformation results.

5. How does Entec Si support your development?

Having been at Entec Si for four years, I can say that learning and development really is a cornerstone of the business. Whether it’s undertaking business-focused accreditations, like PRINCE2, or working on our personal growth through leadership coaching, we’re always encouraged to keep on learning and growing.

6. What makes you unique?

Having lots of different areas of expertise, as well as having an eye for detail, has helped me to perform in my role and deliver a great service to our clients. From a softer skills perspective, being approachable and friendly has also allowed me to build relationships quickly, whether with clients or Entec Si team members.

7. What are you most looking forward to in 2022?

I’m hoping for a bit of a return to normality! From both a personal and professional perspective, I miss meeting up with people face to face. I’m also looking forward to doing more of the other things I love, like going to concerts.

How to put communities at the centre of change

Collaboration with communities is a key way for local authorities to boost engagement and improve their services. Here are our top tips for how they can switch to a more collaborative approach:

1. Address the big issues

Financial pressures, challenges created by the pandemic, and the need to achieve net-zero, are at the front of everyone’s minds. Not only should local authorities focus on improving their local area, but they should also engage with communities to address the issues that impact everyone. This way, goals can be met more effectively and efficiently, including addressing ongoing budget pressures.

2. Use local knowledge

By reaching out to residents before going ahead with plans for a new project or initiative, local authorities can be sure that time and money are being put towards services that will truly benefit the community. Communities will also be more receptive to change if they are engaged with throughout the process.

3. Know the community

Effective engagement isn’t possible without knowing the ins and outs of the local people. Accurate data about the community’s demographics can make sure services are more targeted. Furthermore this means underrepresented groups are catered for.

4. Find the right balance

While communicating with local people is vital, too much consultation can lead to them feeling overwhelmed, and therefore becoming less willing to engage. Subsequently, by listening to the right people at the right time, this can be avoided.

5. Manage expectations

People want to know exactly what is being done with their feedback and how it will feed into service improvement. As such, it’s important to communicate this from the outset whenever sending out a survey or holding a consultation.

6. Make the most of resources available

Lack of budget is a challenge for many local authorities. Therefore to ensure the maximum value is gained from collaboration, it’s essential to make the most of all available assets and resources. For example, this might involve expanding the remit of a library to include information and volunteering centres.

Working alongside local people and communities can help authorities to make more informed decisions, and in turn improve the lives of those in the community. By keeping communication open and honest, and addressing concerns when needed, a perfect partnership can be created.

For more information, contact Peter Marsden or Julie Smith here.

Photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

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