Keri Gilder – CEO, Colt Technology Services
We’re now past the halfway point of 2020, and we can all agree this year has not been what we expected. The whole world has felt the effects of Coronavirus, and at Colt we are no different. Our business and people had to quickly shift their way of working so we could continue to deliver an essential service for our customers. While this has undoubtedly been a tough and tumultuous time, we have stood strong and resilient in the face of unprecedented change, and I’m incredibly proud with what we have been able to achieve in the first half of 2020.
We kicked off January by smashing our NPS target, with an industry-leading score of 64 points in Europe and 26 in Asia. Our vision is to become the most customer-oriented business in the telecommunications industry, and NPS is a key measure in monitoring our progress towards this goal.
In February, Colt participated as a Platinum Sponsor at Oracle Open World Europe in London’s Excel Centre – the same space that would later be repurposed as one of the NHS Nightingale emergency hospitals in the battle against Covid-19. February was also a huge month for Colt as we were recognised by Gartner as a Visionary company in their Magic Quadrant report.
It was in March of this year that the majority of Colt’s global workforce moved into a mandatory work-from-home position. We began discussing the future of our network and how to adapt to our new normal, and Colt employees worked tirelessly to facilitate the successful transition of our customers to remote working solutions. The safe work allowance and special assistance funds were set up to support Colt employees who may have been experiencing financial hardship and to ensure safe and comfortable home working.
In April we proudly announced that we had once again beaten our NPS score record, with an incredible 70 in Europe and 35 in Asia. For any industry, this would be good, but for the telco industry, we were leading the way. This month we also announced that Colt job descriptions were going gender-neutral by utilising machine learning technology to remove gender-biased language. This is a crucial element of our Inclusion and Diversity strategy as we continue to welcome talent into Colt from all backgrounds and walks of life.
May was a huge month for Colt globally; we launched our fundraising appeal for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), coming together as a global Colt community. Volunteers ran an online quiz and a virtual 5k and were able to raise €20,000 for MSF. This was also the month where I was appointed the new CEO of Colt, taking over from Carl Grivner, and the month where we launched the new Disability Accessibility Network to raise awareness of visible and invisible disabilities and health conditions, embrace people’s differences, and champion inclusion in the workplace.
June of this year marked a period of significant change in an already hugely changed world, as protests occurred around the world in response to the unjust murder of George Floyd and increased understanding of the systemic disadvantages Black people face globally. June is also Pride Month, and the first instance where we celebrated Pride from Inside. Our Colt Pride Matters group held a virtual breakfast and the annual Pride Matters quiz, as well as offering LGBTQ+ Ally training sessions to help employees support their LGBTQ+ colleagues and continue to drive inclusion and diversity in the workplace.
Reflecting on the first half of the year, it’s almost hard to believe all the change we have experienced. For me personally, as mentioned above, the last few months saw me take on Colt’s top job – something I feel so privileged to have been able to do. I am so proud reflecting on all we have achieved already this year, not only for our customers but also around making our organisation more inclusive and reflective of the world around us. If the first half of this year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of connections. For us, we believe connectivity is crucial, and connections with each other are also vital. The industry, during this immense time of change, really pulled together to deliver for our customers, and I personally hope that continues for the rest of the year and beyond. Connections with each other also became so important as we had to deal with our new normal. For me, the next half of the year will be about strengthening these connections; with not only the wider industry and our customers but also with Colties across our business. We really moved mountains and delivered incredible results for our customers in the first half of the year, and I can’t wait to see what we can do in the second half.