Telkom integrated employee engagement programme

Strategy consulting: Integrated employee engagement programme for Telkom

Telkom was at a crossroads. The company was exposed to high churn risk as a result of its much-criticised service approach and increased competition from new players. Further, the company was challenged by issues outside its control such as saturation in the fixed line (landline) market and decreased revenue from its traditional income services. The telecom giant turned to Stone to develop and implement an integrated employee engagement programme that supports the Telkom business focus and engage all staff to support this vision.

Client profile and challenge at hand

Telkom is a leading communications services provider in South Africa and offers fixed line and wireless telecommunications solutions. Telkom operates in more than 38 countries across the African continent. Telkom is a semi-privatised, 39% state-owned company.

The challenge at hand

Issues of poor customer service, which led to reputation damage, challenged Telkom’s perception and its license to do business in the SA marketplace. Combined with the saturation in the fixed line (landline) market and decreased revenue from its traditional income streams, Telkom faced an uncertain future. Telkom realised that its current reputation, business and brand strategy required a renewed employee focus as it is the staff who will ultimately deliver the brand promise to customers. The primary objective of employee engagement initiatives was to bring about behavioural change where employees are transformed into ambassadors who once again believe in Telkom’s brand promise.

Stone faced many barriers to effective communication within the Telkom environment. A silo mentality existed with negativity and legacy processes and systems increasingly aggravating accountability. A series of leadership changes and management progressively abdicating responsibility enhanced this unfortunate situation.

Stone’s approach to meeting the need

A paradigm shift was necessary to move Telkom from the existing “they should fix it “culture to one of “I am Telkom” and “teamwork.” Stone used its custom-engineered Pebble Ring Thinking© methodology to develop a fully integrated employee engagement programme to create a customer-centric approach internally through workforce education of the typical customer and the specific Telkom products which will meet their needs.

A critical part of the strategy development procedure was to complete an accurate analysis of the status quo and to establish the true internal perception of the Telkom brand, and the related communication and organisational gaps. This was, amongst others, done through an extensive site visit schedule and an interview process with a substantial number of stakeholders across various levels and units of the organisation. Stone documented the results and carefully examined them for recurring themes and identified critical issues that hindered the service performance. This in turn enabled Stone to conceptualise key messages and interventions that would stimulate and drive the Telkom workforce to embrace a service-centric culture and rally Telkom’s employees to once again believe in Telkom, be inspired to live the brand, be accountable and be prepared to take up the challenge and make the difference.

Results achieved and value added for Telkom

Stone masterminded a series of interventions that would achieve maximum impact. The activities implemented were:

  • Developing a series of the typical Telkom customer and their specific needs and how these are met by the relevant Telkom offering. Rollout this programme through the development of posters; standees, which were, placed in the Telkom offices nationally; digitally on the intranet and electronically through newsletters and brochures.
  • Development and implementation of a Telkom Champions programme. This programme cultivated specific Telkom employees to become Telkom Champions through a peer nomination process. The Telkom Champions programme is a leadership-supported programme that aims to foster a team spirit, loyalty, and trust amongst all Telkom people through pertinent information sharing by their peers. Stone developed a dedicated Champions training portal on the Telkom intranet. This training included modules on the role and responsibilities of the Telkom Champion, the Telkom brand, The Corporate Identity, the Customer Experience, the range of Telkom’s customers and the products to meet their needs, the values and the Telkom way as it relates to service excellence and how to form deep ad credible relationships. As part of the programme, Stone developed various tactics including electronic newsletters as a Call to Action for prospective Telkom Champions.
  • An infographic detailing the customers experience which were rolled-out electronically, on posters and on a wall in Telkom’s offices.
  • Concept development, script, videography, and production of a customer experience video.
  • Development and rollout of My Telkom! Initiative. Development of positive fact sharing about the organisation which was placed on the website; on email signatures etc.