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02 Thinking Bigger: A new approach for employee engagement

Want to change someone else’s life? Why not start with your own! Windmills challenges O2 senior leaders to take a more creative approach to working, learning, playing and giving.



The 02 Think Big Initiative is at the leading edge of business contribution to the local community.  Striving for continual improvement 02 senior managers embarked on a range of Windmills Programmes.  Their aim was to enhance the personal development of key managers and leaders, create more effective career conversations in the workplace and continue to connect and contribute to the local community.


Senior leaders within 02 enrolled on the 3-Thinking Programme led by Dr Peter Hawkins and Ken Pye.  Together with 70 colleagues from a diverse range of charities, social enterprises, small business and public bodies they discovered their own potential as an individual, explored the dynamics and needs in their local community and created a business focussed project that added value within their organisation.  Ian Hayhoe, site Director for 02 immediately made connections between a range of community groups, in particular Princes Primary School, a Toxteth based school for pupils with severe learning difficulties.  Here he saw great potential to make a difference of the same time enhancing the personal development of his team.

A project team of 02 volunteers gave their time to create first a music room, followed by a state-of-the-art sensory room as part of the communication company’s Think Big programme.


Carmel Convery, Chair of Think Big at 02’s Preston Brooke Customer Service Centre said: “We were delighted to be given the opportunity to develop a relationship with Princes Primary School through the great support and network of Windmills.    In line with 02 Think Big, we called on the help of students in the art department at Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy in Runcorn.  Together with the Think Big project team and 02 volunteers, they have created an amazing space for the children.”

Princes Primary Headteacher Kathy Brent said:  “We’re so grateful, both to Windmills for arranging the visit to the school that sparked the relationship in the first place, and to 02 for so generously lending us their staff in working hours.   The finished room looks absolutely stunning, but more importantly it provides quality stimulation for our children, helping them to learn and progress – and we couldn’t be more delighted.”


The impact on 02 from this innovative approach to people potential has been enormous, with Preston Brook achieving significantly higher than average employee engagement scores within their sector.  Retention rates have also been outstanding compared with those of competitors.  As a result of the experience, Ian Hayhoe has invited the Windmills Team to deliver a Personal Development Programme for his senior leadership team, focussing on blended working, learning, playing and giving with the hope that this will be cascaded across the site.