Henri’ Dawes: Transforming Training & Development at Achieve
By Erica Bigley, Vice President, Corporate Communications
Published on March 10, 2023
Training and development in the workplace is key to keeping employees engaged, satisfied, and fulfilled with their careers. Continuous education and access to essential resources not only benefit company performance, but allow employees to feel valued, supported, and inspired to advance within their role.
Our commitment to employee training and development is evident from day one as a new hire. Led by Henri’ Dawes, Senior Director of Training and Development, our team of corporate trainers spent 129,000 hours in 2022 alone educating new hires. Plus, 18,000 hours spent on leadership and additional career development training. From leadership skills to entry-level talent development, our dedicated trainers ensure everyone in the Company has access to resources that help them grow their careers.
Henri’ came to Achieve to transform the training and development program. “I wanted to design an organization that helped people evolve their skills and understand how important our services are. At the same time, we had to make sure our people could do their jobs right out of the gates.”
One primary area of focus for her team was redesigning the Member Services Advocates training program. This specific team is at the heart of what we do as a Company, dealing with sensitive information and people struggling with their finances. And while their role is focused on supporting our members as customers, Henri’ cares for our employees as her own customers to ensure they’re happy, feel valued, and thrive.
“I have a passion for making sure what we do impacts the employees as if they were my customer. Their happiness and satisfaction ultimately trickles down to our members so we all can succeed,” says Henri’.
The Member Services Team is not an easy role to step into, so Henri’ and her team of trainers make every effort to talk about the importance of empathy and compassion when training new Member Service Advocates.
When Henri’ took over, the program was initially two weeks long, which was not enough time to set our people up to successfully help our members.
They doubled the length of the program from two to four weeks in an effort to build a deeper skill level and give confidence to the new Member Service Advocates entering the organization. This extra time meant more hands-on classroom time but with that, brought new, unexpected challenges.
“Now, our employees have been in class for a few weeks and are about to take phone calls for the first time. The anxiety is usually high because they’re about to implement skills only learned in a classroom setting with little to no real world practice,” said Henri’.
Seeing this pattern, the training team, in partnership with Member Services leadership, implemented time on the phone with real member interactions earlier in the program instead of waiting to take phone calls after all four weeks of training were complete.
“This new strategy has helped condense and compartmentalize training so that they learn a little bit, then get on a phone call to boost their confidence right away by getting to speak with members sooner. They also get to experience what it’s like handling pain points with empathy and have that “I'm doing something good” feeling.”
This new training strategy has improved the way we evaluate what our teammates need to be successful. The Training and Development Team is always looking for new ways to keep people engaged, motivated, connected with the mission of Achieve. As we continue to grow as a Company, training and development will have a significant impact on talent retention and the success of our members.
Henri’ and her team continues to evolve its practices and knows that their work is far from complete. “We are constantly re-inventing, reimagining, and retooling how we teach and what we teach to match technology advancements, consumer needs, and workforce planning. It is perpetual evolution and change and that’s what I love!”
Want to join Henri’ and team Achieve? Check out our open roles to apply! Apply Now