Recently, we spoke with Charlotte Blake-Smith, Gungho’s in-house Learning and Development Manager, to find out more about the specialist training that all new recruits go through to become a fully-fledged Gungho’er.
Tell us about yourself and your role at Gungho
I’ve been with Gungho for four and a half years having made a career change to join the team. I started initially as a Business Discovery Agent (BDA), as does everyone who starts at Gungho, and I was able to progress to Campaign Manager. I had worked within Learning and Development (L&D) before, and as Gungho was growing, the opportunity arose for me to move into L&D.
We had training in place but it wasn’t necessarily formalised and so we’ve been able to develop a full training plan. Having been a BDA and then a Team Leader who trained my BDA’s, I could see what was needed to get people up and running. It’s great that I’ve been able to use my first-hand experience to develop training that works.
What is the purpose of the L&D department and how does it support new recruits and established Gungho employees?
The purpose is to ensure that everyone feels comfortable, capable and good at their job as well as enjoying it at the same time.
People join Gungho for various reasons; they might want a career change, it might be their first job, or they might want progression. It means that we get this amazing eclectic mix of different backgrounds, personalities and experiences. It’s that diversity that makes Gungho so successful. What it means for L&D is that everyone starts at the same level and we provide them with a full six-week induction programme. It’s amazing to see people join with no experience and within six weeks they are almost fully fledged telemarketers on the phone making calls.
In terms of established employees, we focus on refreshers, keeping people motivated, inspired and enjoying it. For anyone who’s struggling or hitting a bit of a wall, which happens sometimes, we do what we call nurture sessions where we’ll fill in any gaps and zone into any areas that they feel they need help with.
For a new recruit, what does the first 6 weeks at Gungho look like?
We realised that people learn on the job, but it can be quite scary to be thrown straight in, so we don’t do that. You’re not on your own and will start with a group of newbies. It’s great because the groups tend to stay buddies and share their learning and experience. You’re never new for long because we’re growing so quickly that we’ve always got new people coming in.
New starters are very involved in the training, it’s not sitting in a classroom being talked at, it’s really interactive. Most new starters don’t know anything about the industry and once they have a solid basis, we get them on the phone and start refining their approach. Each week of their induction, their confidence and experience grow. By the end of the six weeks people are very comfortable on the phones.
Everyone is so supportive at Gungho, it’s not just L&D doing the training. Your team leaders will be coaching and nurturing you, everyone who you sit with will want to help because they’re all passionate about the job and they’ve been in the same boat.
How is the induction training delivered?
We have classroom sessions that involve playing examples of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ calls. As a group, we identify what works well and what doesn’t and help people develop their own unique approach on the phone. We’ll also have technical sessions where we have laptops open and learn about Salesforce. There are quizzes, as well as individual desk learning where you go away and do your own research. Role plays form a big part of the training and we do them over the phone and in the classroom. We also deliver accredited training via Skillcast.
We bring people in from different backgrounds, and we value people’s personalities. We don’t want to turn people into robots, we want them to play to their strengths so there’s a lot of listening to different types of calls so they can develop their own style. That’s what makes us so successful, everyone is an individual. It’s why people love working here because they can be themselves.
What topics are covered in the induction training?
We start with who is Gungho, what is telemarketing and how do we telemarket. We talk about what compliance is within the RegTech world, GDPR and data protection. We breakdown what calling is and each element of the call structure. This includes things like rapport building, how to get people interested in what you’re saying, and using language and your voice as a tool. We also focus on qualifying a call and look at how to get really good opportunities for our clients.
What happens after the first 6 weeks?
There is ongoing support and training throughout your career with Gungho. It’s not just about telemarketing, it’s also keeping up to date with regulatory changes, and if you move into a new campaign, you learn about our client’s products and services.
We also promote from within and when you’re moving into Team Leader, Campaign Manager, or Operations Manager roles there is further training related to those positions.
We are very keen to ensure that everyone is supported in the way they need and at a speed that suits them. The opportunity to continuously learn and develop in your role is one of the reasons people stay with us and we intend to develop our L&D offer even further in the future.