United Culture Logo

"Organisations are failing to listen to people, and many are wilfully ignoring what matters most."

Welcome to #UCVoices, a series that shines a light on our vibrant network of clients and collaborators and the amazing things they are doing in our industry.

Ally is team UC’s latest member, and we feel beyond lucky to have snagged her. Starting her career in BT, she leapt from the commercial space into the comms team at BT Digital where she drove engagement, delivered communications for their global team and was a wellbeing lead and an agile coach to boot. At UC, she’s settled seamlessly into the team and our clients are already feeling the benefit of the fresh perspective that she brings.

Ally, we know you were consulting internally in your previous role, but what’s excited you most about venturing agency-side and advising a broad range of clients? 

So many things.  

Definitely exposure to more industries - I’d only worked in telecoms up to now, albeit in lots of different roles and consulting across a broad range of transformation projects.

I was also excited about the breadth of projects that we tackle at UC, as well as the pace. It’s exciting to be able to dig into a project, deliver great work, and then move onto another in a matter of weeks or months.  

The variety also ticks all the boxes for me – the new faces we meet daily and discovering new ways of tackling challenges depending on the client – it’s been really refreshing.

I also felt that my career would really benefit from seeing both sides of the coin – being able to apply my in-house experience in an agency context while really honing my expertise in employee experience, culture and engagement.

 Has anything surprised you so far? 

Yes – I was at BT for twelve years and it was a big decision for me to leave. I thought the change would be seismic, but it feels like I’ve always been here. It’s been a much more natural and easy transition than I ever imagined it would be.

We are launching our 2023 Work Remastered research imminently and you've had a pivotal to role to play in analysing the results. As someone who worked at a large global business – what do you think are the biggest challenges organisations are grappling with right now?

Two things stand out to me.

The breadth of the demographic that businesses need to engage today, especially in large organisations, is a real challenge. What people who have worked within the business for twenty or thirty years wants is radically different to those who are just embarking on their careers. Organisations have got to adapt and find a way of tailoring the way they engage people with very different mindsets, because they can’t possibly be everything to everyone.  


People also have a sense of agency that they didn’t have before and are willing to prioritise what’s important to them. Organisations are failing to listen to them, and many are wilfully ignoring what matters most to people. They are not consistently dealing with the very real issues that people are faced with – the cost-of-living crisis, the caring burden as the population ages, societal unrest – major things which can impact people’s wellbeing and how productive they are at work. There is still a stark lack of innovation and a reluctance to try new things to deal with the issues head on.

Spoiler alert. Let’s give our readers a sneak peek into our research. What surprised you the most about what we’ve uncovered? 

The expectations people have of leaders today is staggering – they expect so much of their executives and it’s a tall ask. Leaders need to be so many different things to different people, and it’s a vulnerable position to be in when the expectations are so high. It makes strong communications and engagement more important than ever.

We’re a creative bunch at UC, where do you go to get a shot of inspiration? 

Honestly, I get a lot of inspiration from a scroll through LinkedIn. I use it as a starter and then look up and explore anything that catches my attention. It’s brilliant for book recommendations, interesting articles, interviews and video content. And because I’ve got a pre curated network I’ll always find someone saying or sharing something I’m genuinely interested in.

Tell us about your perfect Saturday.

An early morning (I’m definitely not a night owl!). A long dog walk, pub lunch and a trip to the garden centre on the way home. And definitely a good book. It’s not wild but it works for me!

 It’s well known that we love good food at UC -what’s your favourite London foodie spot?

Lorne, in Victoria. It’s a tiny neighbourhood restaurant – you feel like it could be on your local high street, I wish it was on mine! It’s personal, with lovely quiet service and the food is brill. 

What excites you most about the year ahead?   

Getting established in agency life, building new relationships with clients, delivering good work, being a proud UC-er! It’s cheesy but it’s my genuine answer!