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Guest Blogger

By Elizabeth Akass, Editor, Engage Business Media

BBC Studios explains why improving customer satisfaction begins with leaders actively working to drive employee productivity and motivation through engaging them on a personal level and progressing company culture. 

BBC Studios is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group with over 50 years of experience in making beloved and quintessentially British content. It creates around 2,500 hours of content each year through seven production bases in the UK, and has a further 22 international offices and production bases in nine countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. With 79 awards and over 300 nominations to its name, BBC Studios is the most awarded production company in the UK today.

Andrew Moultrie, Managing Director of Consumer Products and Publishing at BBC Studios, and Board Member and a Non-Executive Director, introduces the company further: “BBC Studios is a global content company with British creativity at its heart, and we work with the best writers, directors, and programme-makers that champion British creativity.”

He continues: “The BBC are our sole shareholder, so all our profits go back into the BBC to drive value for the license-fee holder. We’re also a committed partner to the UK’s thriving independent production community, as well as other broadcasters on digital platforms that showcase the best of British talent with the hallmark of quality. Our operations span content, finance, development, production, sales, brand, services, and consumer products.”

Moultrie highlights that effective employee engagement is a real passion point for him, both from a practical perspective in motivating staff and driving productivity, and from an ethical perspective in humanising the corporate world. “An engaged workforce can really lift an organisation’s revenue and profitability.” He notes that in 2016, research proved that “engaged employees outperformed less engaged employees by 18% in productivity and 22% in profitability”, and that it has also been proven that the “most engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the company”. This, combined with the fact that “the cost of replacing an employee is upwards of 200% of their salary”, shows how vital it is for companies to improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.

“The hard facts remain that if your employees don’t feel valued, if they feel like they’re being treated like robots, or if they feel that their boss doesn’t really care about them or see them or hear them, then they’re not going to drive customer engagement. It’s never been more important to be focused on internal feeling and culture in order to remain competitive and relevant in the marketplace.”

He discusses how this work is being implemented at BBC Studios. “The most important thing for our organisation is our people and our culture. We’re in the dawn of an era where I think the single most important trait will be emotional intelligence: the mastery of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. We really need to start having proper conversations with our people in order to build our culture, drive our engagement, and stay competitive.”

In Moultrie’s divisions, Consumer Products and Publishing within BBC Studios, he says “a journey of staff engagement” is taking place. “It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and energy, and the journey starts with listening. It’s not just about having meetings or catch ups, but being completely present and having a conscious listening mentality.”

“In order to do this, you need to give yourself permission to slow down, you need to remove distractions, and you need to respect those to whom you are listening to. We need to stop taking phones into meetings, we need to stop trying to multitask, or clear our inboxes when we’re having conversations. We need to become deliberate listeners versus coincidental ones, because conscious listening creates understanding; understanding generates trust, and trust underpins strong relationships.”

Moultrie emphasises the importance of leaders getting to know their employees on an individual basis. “You build culture and create meaningful engagement by talking to people one by one and understanding what they care about. You will learn that some people want money, some people want titles, some people want time with their family, flexibility, or creativity. It’s our job to know every one of these things and engage with our people every single day.”

He also explains that people’s wants and needs can change throughout their lives and careers, and as a result it is important for these dialogues to be ongoing. “It’s time that our corporate ecosystem paid attention to the human elements that will drive businesses to the next level. These are conversations that need to be had, and conversations that will determine our future.”

Furthermore, Moultrie describes the five ‘leadership hacks’ he has learnt throughout his career to help leaders sincerely engage and connect with their staff to build trust and drive productivity and motivation:

– Being vulnerable: “The robotic, infallible approach to leadership that I grew up with in my generation no longer engenders trust or engagement; people see right through it. You need to show them you’re human; you need to show them you make mistakes and don’t have all the answers.”

– Being genuine: “Leaders, in my opinion, never run away from a matter when others are unwilling and afraid to face it. Everyone will trust you if you do what you say and say what you do.” He also highlights that leaders should be able to align their values and morals with their company’s culture authentically, and if they can’t then it is not a genuine fit for them.

– Feeling: “We all like to feel valued for who we are. Research shows that 83% of engaged staff say their supervisor cares about them as a person. It’s clear that getting to know people is worth it. If you want staff to care about their work, you need to show that you care about them as people.”

– Being a family: “Feeling part of a family – something with purpose and strong values, more than just a team – can drive productivity and employee wellbeing.”

– Action: “Companies that choose a single area of focus are most successful at driving change. Choose one area to focus on and dive deeper into your conversations and results will follow. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver, don’t make long lists of ‘to dos’ that never get completed; this only disengages your people. Focus on one action, deliver it, and then move to the next one.”

Another vital part of company culture that BBC Studios has worked to improve is diversity, inclusion, and being aware of unconscious biases. Moultrie says: “We have 10 active diverse working groups with a voice within BBC Studios, and a senior executive sponsor. These include: our ‘Next Generation’ Board focused on youth, working parents, disability, BAME, LGBT, ages 50+, men, gender equality, mental health, and socio-economic mobility.”

He continues: “In order to engage with your diverse workforce, we need to let them have their voice and create a platform to engage with them on, and start paying attention to their views. If you engage with people the way they want to be engaged, they will drive your innovation, they will drive your productivity, and they will fuel your growth.”

Moultrie says that, moving forward, more diverse representation will be seen across its leadership groups around the whole of the BBC, including BBC Studios. “At a BBC Group level, we’re committed 100% to hitting our inclusion, diversity, and gender equality levels right across the organisation, and we’re going to be held accountable to deliver it.”

All of these elements of improving employee engagement and company culture contribute to a strong, reliable, dedicated workforce, which ultimately results in better company output, and success in building positive relationships with customers.

“Ultimately for me, beyond delivering diversity and inclusion targets or driving our internal engagement scores, I think we’ll be doing the right thing when we see external research metrics openly communicating that BBC Studios is not only the best British content company in the world, but that it’s one of the best places to work in the world as well.”