November is National Career Development Month, a time to focus on supporting professional growth and building a successful business with our people at the centre, as the driving force. We spoke to our Learning & Development Manager Mandy about what development means to Wave.
Q1: How do we set our people up for success at Wave?
A. When people join the organisation for the first time, we make sure they understand who we are and what’s expected of them so they can be successful in their role. We do that through our learning platform provider, Absorb, which offers skills training and development. It’s so important to know where you’re going and what the aim and goals of the business are, so we make sure we do that through Absorb, 1 on 1 sessions in our employee performance platform, Culture Amp, and through connection with the team.
Q2: What does Wave have in place to support our people with role progression?
A. We’ve got a skills matrix, which is all about knowing your job and understanding what’s expected of you at each stage of your career at Wave. We use it in knowledge-specific areas such as Credit Control, Billing and Customer Service, and development is done in stages. For example, someone may come in as a new starter or in a new team. With the skills matrix they’ll know exactly what skills and behaviours to develop in line with our company values and will move through stages.
We’ve also got lots of online learning available and we can support people with professional qualifications depending on what role they’re in and the value to both the individual and the business. Some areas of the business don’t have a skills matrix, and in those instances if they want to do a professional qualification they can apply to do so. For example, we have some of our people in Finance going through CIMA and have others going through the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) or completing HR and data science qualifications too. We have a specific budget for professional development and this helps develop people, adding value to their role at Wave.
Q3: What is our aim as a business when it comes to career development?
A. We’re a smaller corporate business, but that doesn’t mean to say that people can’t develop their careers with us, or even change career if they want to. On Absorb, we’ve got a lot of courses of all levels on a variety of roles and these are available for everyone. So, if you wanted to move up or change your career you could use the resources provided to achieve that. We also bring in external speakers to talk about different topics, for example mentoring, so if you decided this was something you wanted to pursue you could use our online learning to develop your skills. Absorb is not just for our people either – if they’ve got someone in their family who needs help with any of the available topics, they can use it too.
Q4: How does developing our people affect our success as a business?
A. I think it’s absolutely key, because if we don’t develop our people, we don’t develop our business. Our customers are our priority and if we don’t look after them by properly developing our people in line with the company’s goals, we’re not going to be successful. We all put our performance goals on Culture Amp and they’re aligned to what Wave want to achieve, and in some instances we might need some development to help support those goals in order to drive the business’ success.
The way I see it is - if you’ve got a car and you don’t service it, put petrol in it or pump the tires, then you’re not going to go very far. So, in order to run our business, we need to view our people as the oil that keeps the car going. That’s why we consistently keep them developed and supported in their career journeys.
Our approach to learning and development hasn’t gone unnoticed. We were nominated for an award by Absorb, meaning they recognised that we were a small corporate organisation but we caught their eye because of the way we developed our people both virtually and face to face. This lined up with not only business development, but also wellness and health. We ended up winning silver in the award, beating PepsiCo and many other large corporate players, which was a fantastic recognition.
There are only two of us in Learning & Development at Wave and we wouldn’t have won that award if myself and Jess, our Digital Learning Specialist, hadn’t worked together. Jess has all the technology knowledge, so if not for them, we wouldn’t have been as advanced. They’re also completing their own professional development, so I’d love to give Jess a big shoutout to round this all off!
If you’d like to work for us, we’re always posting new vacancies on our careers page. We’d love to hear from you.