The successful learning journeys for our people here at Sigma Connected is the core of our training and development programme over the past 10 years.
So here in the latest of our online Q&A series, we chat to Yasmin Neal, our Director of Learning and Development, who talks us through the lasting impact of our training approach in the UK, South Africa and Australia, how it is inspiring our people, and what’s next on the road map.
Q. Hi Yasmin, and thanks for joining us in the hot seat for our next Q&A session – this time all about training and development. Perhaps we can start by asking what you see as the main goal of the learning programme in Sigma Connected?
Yasmin responds: For me, the main goal for our training programme is to ensure constant development. Whether an individual’s long-term career journey is with us or somewhere else, we want them to feel they have added new skills and new experiences which stand them in good stead for their next chapter. That goal is at the core of all the training we create whether it’s client-specific induction training or content that develops our people further, such as our leadership programme.
Q. So what sort of training do you create?
Yasmin responds: For the client-specific training, I think there are probably a mix of answers to this question as our clients all come at training in different ways or have different needs. Mainly, the design and delivery of our training needs to be adaptable and flexible, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
Some clients will ask us to deliver their existing training material, and we are well practiced at learning the content quickly and then delivering it as though we are an extension of their internal training team. Where possible we will always take the opportunity to collate our own thoughts and feedback to then share back with the client, supporting them in continually developing and improving the content. Working in partnership in this way enables Sigma employees to be in the best position to deliver an excellent customer experience.
There are also times when we are asked to design the training material and session plans ourselves. We will work collaboratively with the client to ensure that the content we produce is aligned to their internal values, brand and voice, whilst achieving the learning objectives. We also work hard behind the scenes, helped massively by our Quality Coaches and Quality Assessors, to constantly evaluate how our staff are performing against the benchmarks our training programmes set. This insight is fed back into the training to make sure we have a continuous improvement loop.
Q. Whilst there are always areas to improve in, what do you think makes our approach to training so effective?
Yasmin responds: We’ve worked hard to refine our induction programme – learning what works, what doesn’t and listening to feedback. That has been huge for us and allowed us to build multiple induction programmes which gives people a great insight into Sigma and the clients they are working with.
I think that the success we have seen has been a result of always adapting and improving and being eager to try new methods of learning to engage employees. I’d be wrong to say that we’ve got all of the programmes perfect, I don’t think that’s possible for any business. However, we are constantly working to improve them as the business develops and as the challenges our clients face change and evolve.
Q. How do we approach training which focuses on more softer skills, or training which helps career progression?
Yasmin responds: Our continuous e-learning capability through our Sigma Discovery platform plays a huge role and gives access to resources such as TED talks, management learning tools and a suite of information on key issues such as mental health and wellbeing. It is always there and available, no matter what time of the day. It has been a really important platform for us, alongside our virtual classrooms, as many of the teams worked from home during the pandemic and many continue to do so.
Q. Lastly, what’s next for the L&D?
Yasmin responds: The continued development of our leadership and career development training programmes are our next big projects. We want to help people who want to move up the ladder, or who want to test themselves in a different team or a different part of the business, so this is a really exciting focus for us. We have already started to roll this out but are still early on in the journey and have a lot left to achieve.
We can always do so much more to improve if we want to keep impressing our clients and inspiring the constant stream of new people who are joining us as we grow.
One of our values is built around ‘always learning’ and the Learning and Development team here at Sigma Connected want to ensure we are empowering the Sigma family to do just that.
For further information, or a wider discussion about the impact our training and development programme is having for us and our clients, contact us below.