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Tag: leadership

Why we’re passionate about gender equality

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on January 29, 2018

4 min read

We believe having diversity in our workplace fosters greater innovation, better customer connection and increased morale.

That is why we’ve created an environment that’s inclusive and supportive for all of the 32,000 people who work here.

We had a chat with our Global Head of Learning and Development, Lynne Barry, to find out how Telstra is ensuring gender equality in our workforce.

Can you talk us through why gender equality is a challenge for the tech industry?

While the vast majority of the technology industry’s biggest employers have gender equality policies in place; parity remains a challenge for every organisation. Even as more women join the industry, day-to-day we face an imbalance in the talent pool.

At Telstra, women often form only 30 per cent of candidates for roles, and this can sink as low as 20 per cent for roles with a strong technical focus. In these scenarios, it’s tough for recruiters to facilitate parity. The next conundrum, we face, is that once women are in a recruitment pipeline, there can be an unconscious inclination for hiring managers to look for talent who are just like themselves.

It’s a cultural issue that we can address through awareness but also through policy intervention, when required.

How have you seen the work environment change for women in the past five years?

I’ve definitely seen a shift. Today, there is a more open conversation around the gender equality challenges within the industry. Tech companies are increasingly saying the impetus falls on them to address the gender gap and developing targeted initiatives to tackle the imbalance head-on.

Opportunities are growing too; technology talent is more heavily demanded as organisations begin to focus on digitisation. To meet their need for digital talent, companies are thinking about non-financial rewards that can set themselves apart from other employers, such as flexible working arrangements and offering defined career pathways. I believe the biggest certainty for women today is that there are more opportunities at their fingertips than ever before.

Lynne has publicly spoken about the benefits of workplace diversity in the past
Lynne has often spoken publicly about workplace diversity and its benefits

Do you have a view on women taking ownership of their own career? 

Today, I often speak to young women who have a career plan from early on and are ready to have conversations about their career development; this attitude is to be commended. It’s important that we encourage women to think carefully about how they can cultivate their strengths in order to reach their career goals.

Whether this is volunteering for difficult projects or accepting leadership roles when they’re offered – I implore women to have the confidence to say yes. While having get-up-and-go is important, we can’t let the onus fall onto women; businesses need to make sure feel women feel empowered to ask for the next role and take risks along the way. It requires a culture-led approach, and we must all play a part.

How is Telstra ensuring women feel supported in the workplace? 

For us, diversity is about adopting a holistic approach. We recently introduced a recruitment requirement that women make up at least 50 per cent of recruitment and interview shortlists. We also actively promote ‘All Roles Flex’, allowing employees to determine how, where and when they work.

Through this approach we’ve been able to support men and women to adjust their working life at different periods. This can be as simple as supporting parental, social or sporting responsibilities; or more formal, such as transition to part-time.

We’re always exploring new ways of creating an inclusive culture that allows women and men to achieve their full potential.

What is the feedback you get from Telstra people about our diversity culture?

The feedback we are hearing is that the involvement of our senior leadership team really brings our diversity initiatives to life. Women don’t just want to hear from HR about progressive policies; they want to hear about our commitment to diversity from the senior leaders too – either through them raising the profile internally or championing industry-wide change. It’s about having influential industry figures elevate the conversation – and this breaks down a lot of barriers.

Learn more about what diversity means to us here at Telstra.

3 pieces of advice to make you an outstanding tech leader

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on January 22, 2018

5 min read

From being part of a startup in Israel to working in a senior technology position at Telstra, our Director of Innovation, Ayala Domani, has an interesting career.

Are you interested in a technology career at Telstra? Search for a job now.

We caught up with Ayala to have a chat about the lessons she’s learnt along the way and what advice she has for aspiring tech leaders.

Can you start by telling us about your leadership role in Telstra?

I have the privilege of leading the Innovation team in Telstra’s Chief Technology Office.  It’s a diverse team of people which includes entrepreneurs, developers, designers, growth hackers and more, that help the business accelerate new growth opportunities and drive engagement and collaboration with our ecosystem partners and customers.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career background?

I started my career in Israel working for number of tech startups before moving to Australia and joining Telstra. While still in university doing my Economics & Communications degree I took a part time job in a startup as a software tester and from there progressed to a number of technical and customer facing roles. At Telstra, I took on a variety of roles including product development, partnership management and product marketing.

How was it like to move from a start-up to a large corporate?

Moving from the fast moving, dynamic Israeli startup environment to corporate Australia was a huge cultural change. I remember initially being frustrated with the way we took products and services to market. I couldn’t understand why it had to take so long and be checked by so many people along the way. It only really hit me after a while, after I saw the products and services that I worked on out in the market and was blown away by the scale and impact they had. It was nothing like I had seen in the startup world.

As a large organisation we obviously need to get things right before we scale them but we’re also working on getting better at the early exploration, validation and incubation phases, and doing it faster and in a more entrepreneurial and customer-centric way.

That’s in part what my team is driving now and I love being part of it as it really brings together the entrepreneurial mindset and approach with the reach, impact and scale of a large organisation.

Were there any challenges along the way?

Yes of course, I’m sure everyone has challenges along their career and I think how you respond to those challenges really matters.

A few years ago I came to a crossroad in my career. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next and nothing seemed like the right next step at the time so I decided to take a career break to explore, experiment and reflect.

There is a saying ‘when you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you’. In hindsight, that’s what happened to me. I started chasing the wrong things and it didn’t make me happy so I had to pause and rethink.

During my break I worked with a small business, did some consulting work with a company that runs leadership development programs, mentored and most importantly invested time in developing myself and figuring out what matters most to me.

Ironically, taking a career break was the best thing I could have done for my career and it certainly opened up the opportunity for the right things to catch me.

What advice would you give to people who want to be a leader in the technology space?

  • Look for role models and inspiration in all places not just up the line. As an example, there are people in my team and in my family that inspire me and teach me more than anyone else that might have an official leadership title. (If anything, raising three strong willed girls is teaching me a lot and stretching me in all sorts of directions…)
  • Don’t consider yourself an expert. Rather, adopt a continuous learning mindset and curiosity. You don’t need to know everything to be a good leader but you do need to know how to ask good questions.
  • ‘Starve your ego, feed your soul’ – I found this advice particularly useful in situations where there is doubt or a crossroad ahead. When you face those situations, take an honest look inside, listen to your intuition and think whether your decision is feeding your ego or your soul and that will give you a good guidance for making the right decisions for yourself.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t be too afraid to fail. Have more fun, don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Looking for your next career step? Explore technology careers at Telstra.

How Telstra is growing the future of IoT

Telstra Careers Inspiration

Posted on December 14, 2017

5 min read

I am honoured to lead some exciting new product innovation areas for Telstra, across Home and Enterprise IoT solutions.  These new innovation areas include Smart Homes and Cities, Asset Tracking, Intelligent Vehicles, Smart Metering, and Precision Agriculture.

Interested in a Software Engineering career at Telstra? We’re hiring now.

The Internet of Things is a tremendous opportunity, as Telstra transitions into a world class technology company that empowers people to connect.

There are multiple significant new IoT growth areas in the future Australian economy. For example, more than 40 per cent of households now have at least one IoT home device such as a camera, sensors, smart plugs, smart locks or voice control.  Telsyte estimates show the average Australian household will grow from 13.7 Internet connected devices in 2017 to 30.7 by 2021 (14.0 of these being IoT home devices)[1].

Our ambition is to help Australian families and businesses to be better connected, protected and empowered.  Together, we are creating home and enterprise IoT experiences where Australians can enjoy peace of mind, togetherness, comfort, convenience, conservation and wellness.

Behind each of these Telstra innovation areas is an amazing team of software and system engineer ‘DevOps’.

Out IoT Team posing together
Our amazing team of IoT software and system engineers at Telstra

Our team works on software and systems development, as well as rapid customer experience improvement and improved operations/uptime for Telstra IoT end-to-end services.

This means we get to work on some pretty cool and innovative products such as Intelligent Vehicles, Smart Metering, Precision Agriculture, Asset Tracking and Smart Cities. We also get to create a fantastic new Smart Home customer experience for families across Australia.

This is a time of tremendous change for Telstra, and we’re embracing new ways of working across the board.

We have a continuous integration, continuous delivery (CICD) workflow. That means we use agile best practices including having daily stand-ups, prioritised backlog, and user stories to put our IoT customers at the centre of everything we do.

This dynamic, creative and innovative work environment allows everyone to feel empowered to solve new challenges, and I feel, gives everyone a great sense of accomplishment.

As we work for a global player in this space, we partner with, and learn from, some of the world’s leading technology companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Comcast, Pivotal Labs, Microsoft, and all our hundreds of device partners.   It’s definitely a challenging and exciting time to be working at Telstra.

Alan's team of specialists pose together
“I get to work with a great team of engineers at Telstra” – Alan

I started my career at Telstra in 2013.  Since then I feel like my skills and knowledge in this space have expanded significantly, because I’m always learning new things.

My first job was the Director of Connected Home in Telstra Retail, where I got to work on consumer product innovation across Home Wi-Fi and Telstra AIR, Safe Broadband, Consumer Email and Smart Home.

I then became the General Manager of Home Innovation where my focus was on improving the broadband network experience for our customers, and extending the Telstra network into the home with wall to wall Wi-Fi coverage.

Now I’m in my current role, so it’s been a pretty exciting journey so far and I can’t wait to see what is next.

So what has kept me here so long?

Besides the work I get to do to help deliver exiting new IoT products to millions of Australians, it would have to be the flexibility that Telstra provides.

We don’t just say we work flexibly, we do it every day. For example when we need to pick up the kids from school or work from home when a family member is unwell, we do it.  It’s that type of work environment.

If you’re interested in a role at Telstra here are some tips for greatest career satisfaction:

  • Follow your Passion: Work where your passion lies.  Speak up, be bold and don’t settle.  Take initiative on a project you are passionate about, and help your team achieve great results.  Down the road, the projects you will remember most are those with passion, conviction, and great teamwork on ground-breaking innovation efforts.
  • Seek and act on feedback: One attribute that stands out among the most successful people I have had the pleasure to work with, is their willingness to improve themselves. Great employees reflect, seek feedback and act on it.  Most importantly they take accountability, take ownership, admit mistakes, avoid excuses or blame, and don’t walk past problems.  Down the road, acting on feedback will help you to get the most out of your career.
  • Give back more than you receive: In your education and career, many people have helped you along the way. Take the time to help others through mentoring, volunteering, listening and providing advice.  Down the road, you’ll be all the better for the time you help others, the way others have helped you.
  • Enjoy the ride: the last tip is simple… have fun!  Find a diverse and creative team, with a boss you respect and can learn from.  We spend more time at work than anywhere else.  Pick a team you enjoy, and work hard – but not too hard for too long.  Down the road, you’ll remember your hobbies, vacations, and crazy spontaneous adventures a lot more than your late nights in the office.  Pick a team that understands work-life effectiveness where you will learn, grow, work smart, improve, deliver innovation you are proud of, and enjoy the ride.

See where a career at Telstra could take you.

Tags: IoT, leadership, people,

I’m a recruiter at Telstra and these are the leadership qualities we look for

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on November 20, 2017

3 min read

We're hiring now. Click to explore jobs and apply

Telstra people leaders play an integral role in the development and performance of their teams. As the Recruitment Delivery Manager for Retail, Marketing & Media, I keep this in mind when finding the next generation of leaders. Here are my top three leadership qualities I seek in candidates:

  1. Ability to articulate ideas clearly

Communication skills say a lot about a candidate’s leadership style, particularly how they conduct themselves and interact with individuals at all levels of the organisation. For example when I’m hiring for sales roles, I take note if they follow up their application with a call and if they’re engaging and responsive – this may be a great sign they’ll do well in the job!

For customer-facing roles, I try to put myself in the shoes of our customers – does the candidate check if it’s a convenient time or do they pick up on social cues if I’m busy? If they do, this is a fair indicator that they have good people skills. Written and verbal cues may strongly indicate how a candidate will lead and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.

  1. Passionate about their field

One of the most foundational traits of a good leader is a genuine interest in the field in which they’re applying. To gauge interest, I may ask the candidate to elaborate on industry trends that are having the greatest impact on their role, team, business or industry. Succinct, thoughtful answers indicate a depth of industry knowledge –an invaluable trait for employees in leadership positions.

Great leaders are also passionate about their team development so as a recruiter, I seek to understand their preferred management style and perception of staff development. I may ask a candidate to elaborate on the best team they’ve ever led or a challenging team member they’ve managed and how they managed it. Successful leaders show a passion for winning as a team and not just as an individual.

  1. Fit within workplace culture

In order to gauge a candidate’s cultural fit, I ask questions about their ideal role. I may ask what their best day at work was and why, or ask them to describe characteristics of their ideal company. Their responses help draw a picture of the workplace culture they’re likely to thrive in.

It’s also important that a candidate find out for themselves if a workplace is a good cultural fit for them. During the interview, a candidate could ask the recruiter what the culture of the company is like as well as what they enjoy most about working there. A candidate whose leadership style fits with workplace culture is likely to succeed in a high pressure role and build good working relationships.

If you’re applying for a leadership role with us, I hope you’ve found these tips and insights helpful.


Three ways Telstra is empowering and developing its graduates

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on November 6, 2017

2 min read

Telstra has a whole range of programs available for graduates, students and early career seekers. Learn more about where a career with us could take you.

One of the great things about Telstra’s Graduate Program is that over 18 months we get to be part of a series of courses that help us to develop and grow as young professionals.

Recently, we completed ‘Module 3- Innovation and Growth’, which was facilitated by Impact International.

This program encouraged us to push our own boundaries and challenge ideas in a supportive and engaging environment, that allowed creativity to flourish.

To complete the module we had to undertake a competitor analysis, do an impromptu pitch, work on a mood board, learn how to implement stages of innovation and even create a freestanding structure to catapult an object (there is never a dull moment at Telstra!).

Here are the top three things I learnt from the day.

1. Don’t fear failure

We should all actively strive towards a ‘growth mindset’ rather than a ‘fixed mindset’.

People with a ‘growth mindset’ like to try new things, perceive failure as an opportunity to grow and see feedback as constructive.

This is compared to a person who has a a ‘fixed mindset’. They don’t like to grow their abilities, hate to be challenged and because they stick to what they know, they limit their openness to embrace change and innovate.

Therefore, in order to be a successful innovator, people need to consciously work towards becoming or sustaining a “growth mindset”.

2. Collaboration is key

Never underestimate the power of people!

Being part of the Graduate Program allows me to to collaborate with individuals from a diverse range of fields.

For instance, a HR Graduate has the opportunity to work with a Marketer, Network Engineer and Finance Graduate on the same project.

This reflects a ‘Project Ways of Working’ mindset to problem solving, that recognises that creativity requires differing skill sets.

3. Practice, practice, practice! 

These graduate modules allow us to put theory into practice in a supportive setting.

This helps to grow our confidence and refine techniques so that we are equipped with the necessary skills to apply to real-life scenarios in the future.

The Graduate Program creates an environment for individuals to succeed through guidance and additional training, and delivers on its promise to provide development opportunities to graduates and employees.