National Learning at Work Week – Job Shadowing

Nikki Doherty

July 6, 2015

Telling people you’re shadowing the Head of Knowledge and Engagement for the day raised interesting questions: ‘is that just organising big fun events all the time?’ and ‘so will you just be doing fun stuff all day?’ I’d answer these questions with a resound no, knowing there is more to it than that. However when asked ‘what then?’ I couldn’t answer! For a start I wasn’t even sure what the ‘Knowledge’ part of the title stood for – was Robbie some omnipotent Oracle?

Not strictly true – although he would probably want me to answer yes! His team are responsible for ensuring Customer Contact has all the relevant information and tools to give our customers the best Virgin Media experience. Engagement likewise isn’t just about creating events to uplift employees’ mood for the day. It’s about sustaining that positivity towards work all year round – whether that’s receiving the correct training and equipment for a new process or celebrating company success. They are involved in numerous projects across different departments including Generation One and Evo, and also put together events such as Sparkle.

I arrived at the beginning of Robbie’s Ops meeting. This gave an insight into each of his reports:  Knowledge Information Development Centre Manager, Knowledge ICE Project Design and Delivery Manager, Customer Contact Culture and Engagement Business Partner and Engagement Strategy Lead.  This was followed by the Design Authority Call where I was able to gain the context behind a lot of the projects discussed in the Ops meeting.

Although in Robbie’s team all seems calm on the surface they work passionately to pull these projects off.  A huge part of their job is to balance the budget; sounds simple but requires attention to detail and plans can be scrapped if not deemed viable. Robbie said to me:  ‘If I could blow five million pounds on everybody I would – sadly it doesn’t work like that.’ They consider how best to spend this money to inform, communicate and engage most effectively.

To understand the effectiveness of a project they must consider the lessons learnt. The final part of the day was a presentation to evaluate the performance of the huge Mobile project ‘Evo.’ The team discussed successes – a huge part being the dedication of everyone involved. They reflected upon which areas of their strategy could see improvement and how they could communicate better with other departments.

At the end of the day I chatted with Robbie about his experience in both Australia and the UK. Robbie said he enjoyed his job as its challenging and he’s constantly learning. He gave me a piece of career advice – to ensure that you change your role every few years to ensure you stay motivated and engaged.

Shadowing Robbie helped me to broaden my understanding of what goes into a large department. At the moment Communication and Engagement in the Field Operation is a small team and getting Robbie’s advice on what has worked for them was beneficial. Knowing someone so experienced is available for advice makes me excited for the future, so watch this space…

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