Vodafone signs up to Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme

Vodafone UK has signed up to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme supporting people with disabilities that may not be so obvious to the casual observer.

Many people with a disability use or carry something – whether that’s a wheelchair, guide dog, hearing aid or white cane – that visibly indicates what the disability might be.

But other disabilities, such as autism, dementia, mental health issues or learning difficulties, are not so obvious.

Under the Hidden Disability Sunflower scheme, people with such disabilities can choose to wear a lanyard bearing a sunflower logo as a subtle way of letting others know that they may require additional support, assistance or time.

All Vodafone UK retail store staff have now received training on how to interact appropriately with customers who have hidden disabilities.

“We are thrilled that Vodafone has joined the Sunflower Scheme to recognise its colleagues and customers who have a hidden disability,” said chief executive Paul White.

“By recognising the sunflower and its meaning to the wearer, colleagues and customers will receive a greater sense of wellbeing and understanding while working in or visiting your stores.”

Vodafone employees have been trained to offer help by:

  • taking more time at the till;
  • speaking face-to-face to allow for lip-reading;
  • using clear and easy-to-understand language;
  • helping with hard-to-reach products;
  • making others aware a person may be struggling or having behavioural issues.

There are more than 3.7 million disabled people who work in the UK, and Vodafone employs around 1,200 people with disabilities.

Vodafone encourages new recruits to join VodABILITY – the company’s Employee Network – which supports the understanding of disabilities. The network provides support for, and raises awareness of, all types of disability, whether physical, mental, visible or non-visible.

Shelley Malton, Customer Services and Operations Director, Vodafone UK, and Executive Sponsor of our VodABILITY Network, said:  “I am delighted that Vodafone UK has signed up to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme to support people with hidden disabilities.

Interested in joining the Vodafone Team? Click below to view all jobs.
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Life at Vodafone

The opportunity that comes with a Vodafone Retail career

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Retail

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blogs

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7/9/2020

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I started my career with Vodafone at the age of 20, when I realised that I needed to get a part-time job to support my studies whilst at University in London. Luckily for me, I was offered a Retail Adviser position in the Lewisham store and that’s where it all began.  When I finished my studies, I decided to continue my career with Vodafone, increasing my hours to full-time. I worked hard and moved up through the ranks, being given the opportunity to manage my own small store in Birkenhead within 4 years. I went on to manage multi-site stores, which meant looking after several teams and then had the opportunity to manage the Liverpool Experience Elite store, which I loved! That store was based in a busy city centre and had a large team of around 20 staff. We were set challenging targets, but we all worked hard and together we achieved some great results.  As part of my own personal development, I signed up for an HR Level 5 CIPD Diploma in my own time, which came in handy managing a large team. I found the course so fascinating, that I decided to explore a career change within Vodafone and with the support of my Regional Manager, I was successful in securing a Consumer Resourcing Specialist role within HR. Being part of this team for the last year has been so interesting and has given me a really good insight about recruitment. I’ve been mainly recruiting for our Retail stores, so I’ve been able to put my knowledge of working in store to good use when looking for talented Advisers to join our teams.  It’s now time for a new challenge and I’ve decided to do something different; I’ve joined the Vodafone Partner Franchise Programme. This means I’ve become my own boss and have my own Vodafone franchise store in Altrincham. I’m the business owner, so I’m responsible for managing the P&L and have freedom to make business decisions, as well as leading the team. It’s a big change and that might sound a little scary to some, but I have the support of a great brand and I can use the skills I’ve gained throughout my career to now run my own business. I’m very ambitious, so I’m looking to take on another store or two very soon, watch this space!  Working for Vodafone for 17 years has been amazing and I’ve loved every single moment; from winning competitions, including a trip to Lapland, to making some fantastic friends, as well as having met my partner, Dan, along the way! I think if you have the motivation and passion, combined with the training, support and development that Vodafone provides, then it’s possible to achieve whatever you want. What a great journey it has been and it’s not over yet!  To find out more about a career with Vodafone Retail here: Retail Careers   

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Hi, I’m Husnara and this is my career journey with Vodafone, from starting in store as a part-time Adviser, to becoming my own boss, owning a Vodafone franchise store…

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Reviving Vodafone’s Retail

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Retail

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blogs

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6/15/2020

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“March 23rd, a date I’ll never forget. The call came in, I have to close all my retail stores across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The overall feeling was of sadness. Being in stores was all I knew, for more years than I’d like to admit and I was so used to waking up in a hotel bed 2/3 times per week and being ‘out and about’, it was my true passion.      My first concern was to make sure my team was calm and feeling ok and then get my stores (over 200) locked in safely and all the stock moved to a central location. And that’s when the new normal started. As a company, and a team, we had one mission, to #KeeptheUKConnected and we soon adapted to new ways of working.           I’m proud to say we closed all our stores and successfully moved our huge task force to remote working! We sent out thousands of laptops to all individuals in our teams and quickly moved into weekly briefings via video. While stores were closed, we trained individuals on Webchat so they were able to continue to support customers and safely work from home.     Since we closed the retail stores, I think we’ve have done a phenomenal job looking after our customers, and importantly, we have all learned a new skill; online support is something we may keep doing in our retail stores in the future!    What else went well?  I think we’ve learned to communicate even better. We held mass briefings, we collected surveys, we spent more time than ever checking in with each other and making sure everyone was doing ok. We even had a couple in the team leave in lockdown to move to other departments so we had an online leaving party after work which included telling stories and reminiscing – it was lovely!     What didn’t go well? It was difficult for our employees with children so we had to work around that, for example, we found that a 7.30 am call didn’t work as that was the time the kids needed support, so we moved to 8.30 am. Simple changes like that removed a lot of pain for parents and carers. It was hard just heading to that chair in the home office each morning and knowing I’d be sat in front of a screen or on the phone all day, motivation has been a real struggle. However, we got there by checking in on each other more and for me walking more, I now do well over 10k steps per day by having a walk at lunchtime and then after work!    We’ve learned to talk more, to take regular breaks, to not work into the night-unless we were dealing with any last-minute changes and to communicate better. Vodafone has been superb in finding all the team worthwhile work, helping with our wellness, supporting colleagues that needed help and I feel sure we will come out of this situation stronger and looking at things in a different way       Where are we now? Some of our stores are open and I’m so excited to say that! We’ve made sure our stores are as safe as possible for both customers and colleagues, we’ve completed health and safety checks and we’ve trained our staff on new ways of working with social distancing in place!    It’s been a real journey but I’m proud to work for Vodafone, now more so than ever.”    For more information on our stores re-opening, head over to our Newscentre page. 

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Having closed our retail stores for almost 4 months due to COVID-19, Vodafone’s stores are now open! Lee Taylor, Retail Divisional Manager tells us about his lockdown experience and how excited he is for the future of retail.

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Balancing working and parenting through COVID-19!

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Retail

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6/5/2020

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“I’m Fay Walker. I have been with Vodafone for 7 years and I am one of the Retail Regional Managers in the North division, leading 26 stores, including 9 Partner Agent businesses. Usually, my day to day would be in the car early travelling from store to store, working with the retail teams to support commercial and customer performance. With lockdown restrictions in place, we were unable to visit stories and my role has been done entirely from home.    Our biggest challenge was going from trading stores, to then suddenly closing the stores down safely and securely when the lockdown came. This also included reopening the region virtually as a web-based connectivity centre to support our contact centres. Setting up this virtual environment meant sending laptops out safely to all our teams’ home addresses, challenging enough you may think, but I have had a rather sassy toddler helping me out twenty four seven!   I’m really lucky that I don’t have any home schooling to try and do and my son isn’t very interested in craft – but he seems to have developed a fascination with all the dangerous items in my house, garden and garage, and keeping my eye on him while trying to work has been very tricky! I have come off Skype calls to find him applying my lipstick as eye liner saying “mummy I look just like you”.   Vodafone has been brilliant in easing my concerns when we first got the news that nursery would be closed and I have been able to work 100% from home with no problems. As have all the parents in the retail store teams. Flexibility for me to work around my son’s natural sleep pattern and routine has been really effective – so I do lots of work from 6am before he gets up and multitask through breakfast time up until lunch. We have an extended lunch break together and we go out for our daily walk to Dinosaur Mountain (just a hill near our home), then he has an afternoon nap for 3 hours and I get all the rest of my work done; carrying on working when dad gets home. Should I have needed to, Vodafone offers parental leave which I could have used in daily or weekly chunks to ease the pressure, and of course moving my holidays would also have been an option. I can’t lie and say it’s not been stressful – but that’s all been down to anyone hearing mummy 16,736 times a day! Not the work.   So between the incredible flexibility of Vodafone and some creative solution based thinking (as well as lots of YouTube parenting and sugary bribes), it’s been really achievable to continue to perform my role all through the lockdown.” To find out more about our retail sector click below. Learn More   

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Vodafone’s Fay Walker talks remote working as a Regional Retail Manager, dinosaur mountain and sweet brides, as she balances parenting during lockdown and work-life.

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Meet Rebecca - Assistant Store Manager & Mum

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Retail

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3/20/2020

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Rebecca has worked in our Bluewater Store for 5 years, starting as a Retail Adviser and now successfully fulfilling the role of Assistant Store Manager. Before Vodafone, Rebecca had worked in a few part-time retail positions, but she never found a job she loved until she came to Vodafone. She had left school, was looking after her 3-year-old son and 8-month-old daughter and needed a company where she could build her career – so she took on a part-time contract with us! She is grateful that her Senior Store Manager, Ronnie, continuously supports her progression and development whilst also having a healthy work-life balance enabling her to spend quality time with her Children. Looking back, Rebecca says that she would have never imagined she would be where she is now when she joined the company and is proud of her quick progression from a retail adviser position to a managerial position within the company.She loves working for Vodafone because there is a supportive culture across the brand, many incredible opportunities available and fantastic benefits up for grabs (i.e. discounts on holidays and parental leave policy). Rebecca adores the career she has built in the retail team as she enjoys helping people and has naturally thrived in a customer-based environment. What's next? In the near future, Rebecca would love to have a store of her own and fulfil the position of Store Manager. There is also the potential for her to progress into Head Office opportunities in the more distant future. For now, she is excelling in her retail career and wants to continue her focus there. Like to know more about joining one of our retail teams? Click the button below.   Search for Retail roles here

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Find out how Vodafone have supported Rebecca progress her career whilst looking after her family.

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