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Cloud services company iomart was great at building employees' technical skills, but it needed to offer more rounded training in soft skills and improve consistency of learning. Cath Everett reports on how they dealt with this challenge.
In a competitive commercial world where customer service is becoming ever more important for companies wishing to differentiate themselves, helping customer-facing employees to acquire and refine "soft" skills is vital.
This is just what managed and cloud services provider iomart Group set out to do three years ago when the business began to expand.
When Tom Millar joined the business as group training manager, his aim was to introduce a raft of new performance management and staff development initiatives.
Before he arrived, the focus in learning terms had been on sending key staff – of whom about two-thirds work with some form of tech - on technology certification courses. They would then drip-feed knowledge to others through on-the-job training.
As the company got bigger, it became increasingly difficult to provide training to larger numbers of predominantly millennial engineers in that way, says Millar.
“But we also realised it’s not just technical skills that count – it’s softer ones too,” he continues. “It’s all about how people interact with customers and ensuring they’ve got the skills to talk to them and understand their perspective.”
Millar therefore decided to introduce SkillSoft’s learning management system, working with line managers to devise various structured staff development programmes based around SkillSoft’s online catalogue of 15,000 business, professional effectiveness and technical courses.
The system also offers access to tools such as wikis, which employees can develop over time fo