Richard Kuti, Operations Delivery Manager, Environmental Services
Richard Kuti graduated in 2010 with a BA in Business Administration. Prior to Serco he worked as a Contract Manager for a skills and employability charity. Richard joined Serco through our Operational Development Scheme. His first placement was as Programme and Change Manager for the Serco-operated London Cycle Hire Scheme. Currently in his second placement, he is a Project Manager and the Data & Analytics lead for Serco Environmental Services. In addition to his full-time roles and training, Richard has helped to establish Serco’s first ever BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) network.
How is a Serco career different to employment elsewhere?
“The biggest difference is the huge number of things we do. I’ve worked for big organisations, but Serco’s like nothing you’ve seen before. I’ve been here nearly two years and Serco hasn’t stopped surprising me. And yet, it’s all part of Serco – all delivered the Serco way. If you work for Serco, you’re part of a much bigger picture, and one worth caring about. It’s not always easy and it’s not always necessary, but if you can keep your eyes on the bigger picture, you’re destined to succeed. I’m always moving around, looking around, asking myself, ‘what can I learn from this situation or this person?’ or ‘how can I push myself forwards?’ or ‘how can I add value?’ I make it my concern. A big win for Serco is a big win for me. I’ve not felt that with other jobs before.”
How have you developed in Serco? What contributed?
“Before Serco, my management style was more reactive. ‘Shooting from the hip’, you might say. There’d been no focus on the art and discipline of management. I was looking for something different before I came to Serco, but I wasn’t sure what. When I encountered Serco, I realised they could help me stretch and build on a set of transferable skills I already had, whilst educating me in sectors I had no experience of. Serco has a very clear vision to be the ‘best managed business’ in public services. That commitment has shaped my thinking and approach, and the breadth of training has really brought it to life. I’ve never had as much opportunity for development anywhere else before. No one at Serco has ever said ‘no’ when I put my hand up.”
Who has supported you, and how?
“I have quite a few people to thank for being where I am today. Two of my line managers in particular have been instrumental in broadening my horizons and helping me take a more strategic view. I owe them a lot. The best thing my first manager told me was, “widen your gaze”. There’s so much you can learn and apply from outside your immediate environment. My current manager opened the door to training and experience, giving me more freedom to tackle the challenges we face. They’ve shown a lot of belief in me and they’re ready to support me when I need it. They see something in me, and if I ever lose confidence in myself, their confidence in me lifts me up again.”
“The Talent team who have coordinated the programme have also been helpful. This business is a mass of moving parts – even in your day job, you can’t be certain of what will happen next. They do everything they can to help us navigate the business and keep us informed about opportunities that come up. Lastly, the HR Director for my Business Unit has championed me in many different ways – staying in touch, looking out for me and encouraging me to push myself.”
“Sometimes we face challenges we can't solve by ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s the nature of the work we do. For example, we’re a people-based business. Some of the biggest challenges are delicate issues concerning people, with many different factors to consider. Of course, there's a lot of structured help in place, but sometimes you just need to talk a situation through with someone. I’ve built my own support network of people I can rely on when I need help – and they can rely on me too. It started with my colleagues on the Operational Development Scheme. We all got to know each other quickly – our personal goals, strengths and weaknesses. When I’m in a pickle, I know I can talk to them.”
In what ways do you consider your work to be meaningful and making a difference?
“I totally buy into Serco’s public service ethos. We've all been on the receiving end of good and bad public service. Everything we do here enables better service on a day-to-day basis. I work alongside our business managers to help them make better decisions, solve problems and deliver improvements that impact directly on people in the street. It’s all about little changes that make big differences and helping the business build better relationships with the public it serves. In this way, I consider the work I do very meaningful.”
What are the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of your work in Serco?
“Helping people – I really get a kick out of that, whether it’s members of the public or our own people. Seeing people happy and appreciating our services or enjoying their work lets me know that I'm contributing and delivering value, and receiving positive feedback gives me confidence that what I’m doing is making a difference.”
“Something very close to my heart is BAME representation in business leadership. A career in public services is not always seen as a career of choice in those communities, and yet the public we serve is a massively diverse society. This was something I’d focused on in my career before Serco and when I asked my HR Director if there were any plans to address it, he offered me the opportunity to help do something about it. I wasn’t expecting that, but I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s something we all need and I’m so proud to be part of getting it off the ground.”
To what extent has your experience in Serco shaped your thinking about your future?
“I’ve gained amazing insights into public services. Before I came to Serco, I had no clear sense of what I wanted to do because I didn’t know what was possible. Through Serco I’ve come to recognise the breadth of opportunities available to me. I know what the opportunities are because I know who the customers are, what their requirements are and what skills are needed to deliver them. If you asked me, ‘did you ever envisage yourself in this job?’ I’d have to say, ‘no, I didn’t even know it existed’. Now, I have a very clear sense of what I want: to earn the opportunity to show what I can do and to make a bigger difference. To take what I do to the next level and see how far I can go.”