Recognising value

eam Manager, EA, Emily Mills leads the 42 high-level assistants that support DXC Technology (formerly CSC)’s most important executives – Claire Muir finds out why the organisation was an Executive PA Media Employer of the Year runner-up

Executive PA Media is passionate about professional development – does DXC promote it, too?
Absolutely – we want employees to feel empowered to generate their own profiling and professional activities so encourage them to build their own networks and take on commitments for personal and professional gain and development.

We have lots of internal networks, catering for different communities, professions and aspirations. And mentoring is seen as a business-critical asset – no matter who you are, where you’re from or what you’ve achieved, a good mentor is an invaluable asset. Even our CEO and chief of staff – a former EA – take time to mentor others within the business.

Within the EA community we have many who belong to professional networks; one who is the leader and co-founder of two networks and many others who are guest writers and bloggers for various outlets.

Not only this, our EAs are involved in corporate responsibility, supporting target areas in need in our DXC geographical locations – for example, we’re currently working with Futureversity, a charity for young unemployed adults. During working time, our EA team voluntarily offer training courses, forums, coaching and CV writing. This offers an obvious contribution to the local environment, economy and people but also gives personal satisfaction to the EAs and creates a generation of employees who feel valued for their skill set – not just in their immediate remit, but for what they can offer outside of their role.

And what about training?
DXC has identified that training is at its most beneficial when the employee is in change and responsible for their own learning, in their own time and at their own speed. Therefore, we have DXC University where more than 55,000 hours of free e-learning are available. Each employee has their own learning style and preference but this ensures there’s something for everyone.

We also drive employees through the business with performance management and career-related programmes, such as grad schemes, secondments, role trials and succession planning. This gives broad exposure to the business and breeds impressive skill sets so we can retain talent and move it around our business.

What incentives and benefits do staff get?
We like to think we’re pretty exceptional at providing incentives and benefits, from a career programme, a sabbatical or a random act of kindness (flowers delivered to their home or an extra lieu day, for example) to the more formal benefits like incentive programmes, pay rises, performance-related pay and remote working – many of our EAs are actually home-based workers. Wellbeing is important too, and DXC offer a whole range of help, from cycle-to-work schemes to on-site yoga classes after work.

You mention remote working – how flexible are work patterns at DXC?
We’re a diverse global organisation and, to ensure we’re a successful one, we accommodate our workforce. This means maximising the global clock, logistics within the company and the skill sets of our teams to offer a massive variety of work patterns – this includes part-time working and even term-time working, job shares, compressed hours, remote and mobile working, career breaks and annual hours.

Additionally, the staff use DXC My Choices; an online programme where they tailor-make their own remuneration package. It’s completely bespoke, from choosing their salary package and annual leave to selecting their pension status and access to discount programmes – this means they can be rewarded in a way that meets their lifestyle, so younger people may go for a salary-heavy package, whereas annual leave and pension may be more prominent in the package of a middle-aged employee.

The company recently went through a merger – tell us more.
I’ve actually been through two acquisitions and a merger and, to manage it successfully, I’m extremely passionate about transparency and communication. I use team calls and internal communication, scheduled emails, one-to-one calls and buddy systems where an existing employee is matched to a new employee, giving them a ‘go to’ person for their transition into the company. I also do check-in calls, host an EA ‘getting to know you’ game and make myself as available as possible – I open up days in my diary that I call ‘air time,’ and invite the team to book a slot to discuss anything they feel they need to.

On that note, what’s your internal communication like?
We communicate well, and often, whilst always clarifying what the vision is and what your part, as an employee, is and can be. And, to gain engagement, DXC ensures brutally honest communication at all times, regardless of content. Regular national, corporate and CEO communications are issued and there are also town halls, coffee mornings and bonding sessions. Each year we have the annual DXC Olympic Games where employees – including management – are hosted for a weekend with a range of Olympic-style activities.

How are employee successes recognised?
Recognition is about value. Employees want and need to feel valued for their contribution and that can be done so very easily – but is often missed by those lucky enough to be responsible for others. If you can remember and acknowledge what’s important to each individual (dates of personal value, such as anniversaries, loss of relatives and medical appointments, for example) it goes a long way.

I think DXC is just very good at saying ‘thank you,’ which – in my opinion – is the most valuable motivation tool an organisation has at its disposal. We have an internal recognition site, where we can send cards to one another and nominate employees for voucher gifts. In addition, managers treat their teams to Christmas lunch as a thank you for the support throughout the year.