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Keeley Vaughan-Davies, Chief People Officer, DOCOMO Digital

Keeley Vaughan-Davies: Promoting Assistive Modern Work Culture

Embarking on her professional journey in executive recruitment, responsible for sourcing C-suite roles for a leadership position in Europe, the Middle East, and APAC regions, Keeley VaughanDavies has come a long way in managing employee relations. Today as the Chief People Officer at DOCOMO Digital, Keeley implements her well-versed regulatory aspect of work worldwide, directly reporting to the CEO.

Being passionate about fostering a culture of innovation by empowering people and coaching people managers in essential elements of leadership, Keeley led pan-regional and global remits covering human resource functions at MoneyGram International for around eight years. She gained a deeper appreciation of the evolution of the fintech industry and the various people challenges that surface in a high-growth business environment that changes rapidly, having operated in different regions. Her experience is garnered with a rich multitude of every aspect of lifecycle management. She cares deeply about coaching and mentoring high-performance teams and driving employee engagement and empowerment with meaningful organizational development interventions.

Hurdles Along the Way

When Keeley stepped into DOCOMO Digital two weeks before the onset of the pandemic forcing the company to switch to remote work overnight, she expressed, “With a global workforce in twenty offices, I had the task of leading the shift while balancing employee expectations and morale. The shift to remote work meant that we needed a different culture that empowered employees to bring their best selves to work and collaborate effectively despite being highly disparate in terms of geographies and time zones.”

Keeley wanted to show the organization’s employees that they cared for their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing as not everyone managed the transition and others. Simultaneously, DOCOMO Digital underwent a large-scale business transformation that changed the organizational structure, required skillsets, career framework, and compensation strategy. It aligned its vision, purpose, and values that its employee could buy into and stand behind, which had to be managed with the switch to remote work.

Keeley has been instrumental in developing an entire framework and policy around employee-driven flexible working while ensuring that productivity remained high during a significant business transformation in a highly fragmented industry and volatile hiring market.

Making Mobile Commerce Thrive

DOCOMO Digital is the international payments business of NTT DOCOMO. NTT DOCOMO, the parent, has been a pioneer in direct carrier billing and innovation in payments and loyalty.

DOCOMO Digital espouses the same spirit of innovation and customer excellence, partnering with carriers, merchants, OTT services, app stores, and payment providers worldwide in developed and emerging markets. It solves the challenges of customer acquisition and retention, regulation, and complexity for its partners with alternative payment methods such as direct carrier billing and digital wallets.

With teams based in fifteen countries, DOCOMO Digital enables its partners to grow their digital services revenues while enhancing the customer experience for their users. Its robust managed services platform and coverage across carriers and the most locally relevant payment methods enable faster time-to-market, especially for streaming, gaming, eCommerce, and productivity application providers.

DOCOMO Digital is the largest integrator of carrier billing for the Google Play Appstore and the Amazon Prime video and music bundles. The organization unlocks growth in digital revenues for over two hundred mobile carriers around the globe with its leading-edge payment and subscription bundling solutions. Juniper Research has recognized DOCOMO Digital as the best direct carrier billing provider for two successive years.

As Flexible a Network Gets

DOCOMO Digital is making concerted efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its worldwide teams while supporting their transition to remote work. It encouraged employees to undertake a more innovative approach to work wherein they feel wholly empowered to choose how, when, and where they want to work. The company offers a smart working allowance across the board to everyone in the business every year, and colleagues can choose to spend this allowance on any that makes working from home more conducive. They could decide to come to the office spaces if they wish to meet colleagues and customers in person entirely of their volition. The senior leadership team made an official commitment last year by undertaking and publishing a “Smart working Pledge” that could be found on the people section of its website.

Keeley notes, “The purpose of this pledge was to commit to our employees, beyond the pandemic, that they are trusted and empowered to work where they feel most productive. We will remain mindful of their needs regardless of the working environment they choose.”

The Technological Step Up

Keeley states that DOCOMO Digital is in the business of technology, supporting its customers and partners through their digital transformation journeys. She says, “Technology is central to everything we do. We ensure our teams have access to the latest hardware and software tools they need to do their work well. We have a very open-door and transparent approach to evaluating new tools and technology that colleagues recommend. We take pride in our agile approach to experimenting with new technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

In the next couple of years, DOCOMO Digital is evolving to be a cloud-native business that will further accentuate its ability to support customers and partners worldwide. It thrives on helping people stay connected. It has tried, tested, and implemented several new solutions that provide its teams with innovative new ways to connect socially, collaborate and manage projects across borders.

Preparing for the Subsequent Changes

Keeley says, “The one thing that we all recognize is that the world of work has changed irrevocably. Flexible work will continue to be the norm, and empowering people with choice will be crucial to hiring and retaining the best talent. At the back of the recent surge in attrition, also referred to as the “Great Resignation,” it is clear that people are looking for a sense of purpose in their work beyond professional gratification.”

Thus, supporting people in acquiring new skills and career transition is crucial, and it also boils it down to the impact of your business beyond profit. That is why companies that do well will be the ones that have a well-articulated vision and mission with a verbal commitment to sustainability.

Keeley mentions that with the advances in technology, people are likely to see further augmentation of work with either physical robots or robotic process automation, implying that training the workforce of tomorrow for skills that do not exist today. It will be a time of constant change, and coaching people, especially managers, in qualities like curiosity, humility, and resilience will become more critical.

Over the Horizon

DOCOMO Digital has a long-term commitment to the professional development of its people. It encourages them to acquire new skills based on their interest and aspirations, providing them a series of learning interventions focused on soft skills and leadership to support colleagues as they become people managers.

Valuable Guidance

Keeley advises the next generation of aspiring business leaders to seek good mentors actively. She says, “I have had the good fortune of finding some genuinely inspirational mentors who helped me along my journey to becoming the leader that I am today.”

“They would also do well by having a spirit of experimentation to test and learn from new ideas, using evidence-based practice and an agile approach. People should actively seek diverse cohorts and communities so that they can appreciate perspectives and views that are different from their own and can enrich their thinking,” Keeley concludes.