Mandy Rutherford: Supporting Wave's training needs through COVID-19 and beyond

Mandy RutherfordOne of our core values here at Wave is to embrace learning. We encourage our staff to be curious about everything and always ask questions to help them to grow. That’s why, as part of National Customer Service Week 2021, we’ve been speaking to Mandy Rutherford, our Learning and Development Manager. 

Wednesday's theme - ‘Essential Customer Service Skills and Capabilities’ provided a great opportunity to discuss Wave’s culture of learning, how we’ve adapted our training since the pandemic, and to explain why it’s important to Wave, not only this week, but all year round.

A culture of continuous learning 

To touch on Monday’s theme, the changing world of work, I think we can all agree that the pandemic has flipped our worlds upside-down. It has really highlighted the need to be flexible in our thinking and our responses to our customers and look for better and smarter ways to work. That’s why, at Wave, learning isn’t just about taking formal courses, we learn from our colleagues and customers every day. We encourage our people to be curious, ask questions and keep learning so we can support each other as well as to grow and flourish as a business.

The right support at the right time

A great quote by Maya Angelou is ‘people may not remember your name but they will always remember how you made them feel’. Our Trustpilot scores are a great reflection and testament to our people, their dedication and their passion to support our customers.  Our colleagues who interact directly with our customers, have to learn and retain so much knowledge and they do a fantastic job, but they can’t do it alone. We have a great senior team here at Wave who champion learning across the business and part of my job is to understand the expertise we have in teams - where can we upskill? Where is there knowledge we can use to support other teams? And which courses and development opportunities can we provide to help them to be the best they can be for our customers?

The pandemic has accelerated our digital evolution

Like many other organisations, we’ve been forced to shift from a predominantly face-to-face way of delivering learning and take more of a digital approach. Whilst this new “digital normal” won’t always work for everyone, the pandemic forced our hand in many respects to hasten our drive to a digital transformation in training. Nobody could have predicted the pandemic, but we have seen some benefits by changing the way we offer training to our teams. Firstly, technology has allowed us to continue our learning over the last 18 months but on top of that, by offering digital training, our people now have the opportunity to revisit topics and we can reuse sessions in a way we never could before. 

We also follow emerging trends and research to help us offer the optimum learning experience for all our people. One of the changes we’ve made is to switch to shorter, live learning sessions. These have had positive impacts, not only on the focus of the attendees, but also the environment through travel reduction. As we plan for the future, we must be able to adapt. Technology will play a bigger part in how we learn and we have plenty of new tools and learning methods to look forward to. These include, social learning (where colleagues collaborate to learn how something works), gamification (using games to help users remember) and micro learning (short bursts of learning). Something we’re already enjoying as a business is receiving personalised learning suggestions. We give all our staff access to LinkedIn Learning which uses their data to provide tailored courses and content that might be of interest.

Find time for your passion

The world of work is a busy place but that doesn’t mean training should get deprioritised. We’re all learning every day, whether it’s how the company works, about the industry or even a new process, but it’s important we don’t forget to make time for our own personal and professional development. If I could leave you with one last thought, it’d be to find your passion. Thanks to the pandemic, many of us have been re-evaluating what is important and knowing what you want to achieve is half the battle. With a goal in mind, we can all start to carve out time to do something that matters to us.