4 Solutions to the Communication Challenges of HealthTech Adoption

Despite significant advancements in healthcare technologies (HealthTech), many providers in the sector are having difficulty adopting and realising their full potential.

TeleHealth, which is shorthand for providing health-related services through telecommunication technologies, underwent a rapid acceleration of adoption when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Since then, the majority of patients have embraced the convenience of digital engagement and virtual care options for enhanced access to personalised, high-quality care and follow-up monitoring.

However, at the same time, an alarming number of physicians and providers have scaled back their use of TeleHealth as they struggle to keep up with the increasing demand for virtual visits and health condition remote monitoring at scale, creating a shift in patient-physician relationships.

Here at Webhelp, we see the same issue across the entire spectrum of HealthTech — consumers are on-board, but providers are often slower to adopt the technology. This trend extends to almost every technology offered within the consumer care and healthcare system, especially software and physical solutions that create new digital diagnosis or treatment opportunities.

We believe that adequate communication and related solutions are the key components to solving these challenges, so this article outlines several strategies for aligning patient and physician perspectives and empowering providers with the full potential of HealthTech solutions.

Virtual training and onboarding for clinical staff

A great starting point is to help healthcare professionals to understand the benefits that healthcare applications and similar HealthTech tools can provide.

During this process, representatives can inform, train, and onboard doctors at their offices, in the hospital or online. Additionally, this is an ideal opportunity to host webinars and introduce multidisciplinary boards into the process – a medical science liaison, for example.

By organising these virtual events through digital channels, providers can understand everyone’s preferences in-depth, monitor the information provided, analyse attendance trends and obtain valuable feedback to inform future strategic planning. As previously reported at Webhelp Medica, providers have begun offering webinars, remote workshop sessions, and social networks intended solely for clinical staff, suggesting that the industry is open to digitising its communication endeavours. Now it’s just a matter of increasing adoption.

Support, training and outreach for patients

As part of this solution, providers could run informative campaigns to build awareness of the different healthcare apps available whilst implementing patient support programs for specific treatments and drugs. Providing motivational calls to help patients understand the benefits of these is a proven enabler.

Once implemented, nurses can teach patients to be autonomous in their treatment, such as administering injections themselves at home. Once the patient becomes responsible for this process, the nurses can carry out continuous remote monitoring, including as part of virtual wards through SMS or other channels, enabling patients to follow treatment and monitoring plans independently in their own homes. When Webhelp Medica implemented a self-injection learning program for almost 3,000 patients, 99% of physicians and 93% of patients were highly satisfied with the approach, highlighting the efficacy of combining nurses with digital support.

These initiatives become game-changing for non-tech users and vulnerable or immobile patients, especially when coupled with the creation of online patient groups where people can discuss their pathology with others in the same situation. Equally, it’s crucial to include caregivers, families, spouses, and patient associations to expand these groups further and provide more support and autonomy for patients.

We like to think of this process as creating “expert patients” trained in their pathology with the knowledge to help other patients with their treatment routines, lessening the burden on clinical staff. It also allows physicians to strengthen their relationships with patients by enrolling them in coaching and learning programs.

Ongoing monitoring to link clinical staff with patients

Once engaging with clinical staff and patients through training, onboarding, and outreach, the monitoring and follow-up process is where the optimisation of patient-provider communication flourishes. By customising patient journeys based on their uptake of technology and putting digital technology at the heart of the follow-up wherever appropriate, clinical staff can vastly increase patient awareness of the importance of care continuity.

While it’s essential to determine whether patients feel comfortable talking with health professionals remotely, virtual monitoring ensures that problems and concerns can be solved quickly, efficiently, and effectively for many pathologies. For example, for psychological and behavioural follow-ups, providers can install a team of remote nurses and psychologists, or even tobacco specialists and dieticians, to follow the patient’s progress and provide guidance and advice via digital platforms or telephone calls.

For tech-savvy patients, there’s an opportunity to apply conversational SMS platforms and social messaging tools to communicate with clinical staff instantaneously. Clinical staff can also automate appointment and medication reminders to reduce the rate of no-shows and ensure patients stay on track with treatment plans. Plus, providing an inbound line allows autonomous patients to ask questions if they have any doubts about their treatment.

In another example, providers could email patients a QR code that refers to an informative video explaining, presenting, and informing people on their pathology, treatment follow-up, and tips for improved well-being. After a teleconsultation, physicians could also automate a message to check in on long-term patients and ask if they have questions about their treatment.

When implemented correctly, virtual wards and outpatient monitoring processes like these bring clinicians and patients closer together, preventing communication challenges before they occur.

Round-the-clock medical information helpline

Another relatively untapped communications solution is a readily available information helpline operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An incoming medical information line can provide patients with status updates on product availability, medication request follow-ups, medical information requests, patient data and held information, pharmacist information, specific questions from a doctor, and pharmacovigilance.​

 

With these four communications strategies and solutions, healthcare providers can improve their relationship with HealthTech, encouraging physicians to share the same enthusiasm for technological evolution as their patients.

Emma Bouché

Head of Healthcare

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Connecting biotech, healthtech and medtech - Webhelp to lead discussion at LSX World Congress 2022

Webhelp are delighted to be announced as an official partner at this year’s LSX World Congress, taking place in London on 10th-11th of May.

The 8th annual LSX World Congress will welcome many industry leaders, from founders and CEOs of innovative start-ups through to healthcare giants. Attendees span various healthcare backgrounds, including experts in biotech, healthtech, and medtech.

Representing Webhelp are Dr Jerome Stevens, General Manager & co-founder of Webhelp Medica, Emma Bouché, Head of Healthcare at Webhelp UK, and the newly appointed Tom Houston, Healthcare – Client Partner, Gobeyond Partners (part of the Webhelp Group).

A keynote panel hosted by Webhelp opens day two of the congress and is entitled ‘The Devil Is in the Data: How the Medtech Sector Is Optimising Its Data Assets and Connecting with Consumers in a Wholly Patient-Centric Approach’.

Jerome Stevens will moderate on behalf of Webhelp, joined by four speakers – Marc Julien, Co-CEO of Diabeloop, Laurent Vandebrouck, CEO of Chronolife, Eliane Schutte, CEO of Xeltis, and finally Ian Crosbie, CEO of Sequana Medical.

The panel will discuss topics such as:

  • Unlocking the full potential of health data, and new applications in 2022
  • Healthcare professionals and patient onboarding, training and ongoing support
  • Information is power: ethical data use and the importance of patient transparency
  • How to ensure data security and demonstrate best practice for Healthcare professionals and patients

 

Commenting on the panel, Jerome said:

“I’m looking forward to joining innovative leaders to collaborate and share our expertise on health data in the medtech sector and the opportunities this creates. With particular focus on optimising and securing data and prioritising patient-centricity, it promises to be an invaluable session.”

 

Keep an eye out for first-hand highlights and key takeaways from our panel discussion.

For more information on healthcare trends read Emma Bouché’s recent article here.


UK Healthcare innovation continues to accelerate in 2022

Emma Bouché, Head of Healthcare for Webhelp UK, looks at how the seismic impact of COVID-19 has accelerated a culture of innovation within UK Healthcare, and predicts some of the key areas that will be on the sector’s agenda in 2022. 


Healthcare investment is soaring through ever greater innovation

In September 2021, the UK government announced plans to add an average of £12 billion per year for health and social care over the next 3 years. On another front, venture capitalist investment into digital health saw an almost 300% rise between 2017 and 2020. As a result, the flow of innovation shows no signs of slowing, and is in fact accelerating. Finding efficient go to market strategies and leveraging next generation commercial models is key to driving innovation adoption.

Virtual healthcare models are evolving at pace, moving from purely “virtual urgent care” to a range of services enabling longitudinal virtual care, integration of telehealth with other virtual health solutions, and hybrid virtual/in-person care models. All have the potential to improve patient experience, convenience, access, outcomes, and affordability.

The challenge for healthcare professionals in 2022, is simply to keep up – adapting the new innovations and technologies to local demands, and paying attention to human issues as well as technical will prove the difference between success and failure.


A COVID-driven wakeup call for Medtech providers

Whilst a few pioneers had started to experiment with next-generation commercial model design pre-COVID, the challenge to connect remotely with customers during the crisis has completely changed the game.

Medtech providers are now working hard to design a next-generation commercial model that capitalizes on digital and omnichannel interactions. The shift to omnichannel sales is a strong lever for value creation for Medtech companies. According to a BCG 2021 Medtech survey measured over a 10 year period, the commercial productivity of remote sales reps can be double or even triple that of traditional field reps when embedded in a well-oiled, omnichannel model.

Customer loyalty also has a huge impact on longer-term profitability. It is essential that the day-to-day customer process is well oiled between marketing, sales, and customer  management. A successful end-to-end customer journey relies on an agile, use-case-oriented design approach, leveraging an omnichannel sales force with performance-enhancing technologies, and a focus on customer success as well as sales.


Care pathways are being re-designed to optimise capacity and provide care closer to home

Part of this re-examination involves assessing the effectiveness of existing care pathways, as we shift from an illness-based, provider-led system towards one that is patient-led, preventative in focus and offers care closer to home.

In 2021, the NHS introduced virtual wards and remote monitoring at 92 sites across England, to allow for safe hospital discharge of COVID patients. Although initially designed purely for this purpose, these virtual wards began to be successfully implemented to ease pressure on NHS staff, allowing for remote care for many patients from the safety of their own homes.

The anticipated logical progression of this in 2022, is to expand the roles of the non-medical professional workforce to help manage the growing burden of chronic disease more efficiently and effectively, with technology innovations allowing patients to play a greater role in their own care.

This won’t be a smooth transition, however. Healthcare organisations intent on driving this change in 2022 will need to consider multiple factors, including role design, change management, and appropriate technology. Most of all, they will need to ensure the end user, the patient, is at the centre of every decision.

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Your Guide to build an efficient patient-oriented strategy at a
global scale

In a context fueled by digital disruption and global acceleration, healthcare companies must design a new framework to better provide a seamless, constistent care accross all moment and all frontiers Through this white paper, Webhelp Medica reveals its best practices and learnings based on more than 20 years of expertise. Mixing feedbacks, testimonials and regulatory analyses, here are the keys to a winning strategy.

Read the Whitepaper Here

OneShot #5 - Influence

Our 5th edition of OneShot is here!

Download your OneShot magazine

Following the unprecedented situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous companies have been forced to make vital adjustments to stay afloat and also guarantee business continuity. Our interesting reads also include:

A Word: KOL – Key Opinion Leader
A Number: 10,000 subscribers and no more
Three Opinions: Influence: How to get your messages across?
One News: TikTok supports its position in Europe
A Demo: The dark social
A B-Case: How Webhelp’s KYC participated in securing a platform by Bpifrance
A Hashtag: #TrustYourInfluencer
An Offer: MyStudioFactory
An appointment: Conversation 2020, Paris
A Conversation: How to restore confidence in the time of fake news?
A Story: Santa Claus, citizen of the New World

Read all about these exciting and thought-provoking topics in our 5th edition of OneShot.


How AI and data analytics can support vulnerable customers

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the identification and protection of vulnerable customers was a significant focus for companies and regulators. Here James Allen, Chief Risk & Technology Officer for Webelp UK Group looks at the impact it will have, now and in the future.

In these testing times, the identification and protection of vulnerable customers will now assume even more importance as organisations work on proactively recognising customers who need assistance, prior to the predicted surge in demand for financial support - as aids like employee furloughs, payment holidays and credit schemes end.

Worryingly, prior to the outbreak over half of the UK population were already financially vulnerable, with one in six people unable to cope with a £50 increase in monthly bills, according to a survey of Britain’s personal finances by the City regulator. The Financial Conduct Authority’s biggest ever survey of households found that 4.1 million people are already in serious financial difficulty, falling behind with bills and credit card payments, with 25- to 34-year-olds the most over-indebted.

Furthermore, 50% of adults (over 25.6 million people) “display one or more characteristics that signal their potential vulnerability” and just under 8 million are over-indebted.

And this is not limited to the UK, as the 2019 Prosperity Now Scorecard finds that forty percent of American households lack a basic level of savings and don’t have enough savings to make ends meet at the poverty level for three months if their income was interrupted. Almost half (48.1%) of Americans with credit had scores below prime and 20% of households had no credit in the past 12 months and were likely to be without access to it.

Furthermore, a report from the ING Group states that southern European economies like Italy and Spain are especially vulnerable to the economic effects of COVID, exacerbated by the importance of tourism which accounts for at least 13% of GDP and about 15% of total employment. They also have a larger share of vulnerable workers and a higher chance of bankruptcies due to firm size.

However, throughout all this we must remember that vulnerability can be a temporary and fluctuating status, with many causes, including mental health, dementia, changes in employment and personal circumstances, literacy, numeracy and socioeconomic factors.  It is key to use technology to help people on an individual basis, never forgetting that unique set of circumstances they may be experiencing.

Plus, regulators will be keeping a close eye on these new developments, and the pressure may soon be on firms to use all available routes to safeguard customers and prevent the global financial crisis from deepening.

So the question for many global companies has become, in the post COVID world, how do we identify and support customers who are financially vulnerable, without compromising operational efficiency?

And this is especially important for us at Webhelp, as we carry a people-first commitment and our think human value through to the customer base of over 32 clients in the UK, India and South Africa.

It’s clear that data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) is already changing the way that companies offer support to their most vulnerable customers, and that this may play a part in reshaping the regulatory landscape. While establishing if someone is vulnerable and how best to support them is a very human judgment, at Webhelp we believe that sensitive and careful use of data, using AI to segment, can help direct the right customer support teams to the right people, spotting potential issues before they become a problem.

We combine the very best in technology and skilled people to create the best outcomes, as Chris Bryson, Webhelp Global Data & Analytics Director explains:

“We’re helping clients leave no stone unturned to reveal customer vulnerability. Whether customers tell us directly that they’re experiencing issues, or if they show characteristics of someone who can be vulnerable; using analytics from customer contacts and records helps us and our clients see those signals clearly.

We use our own unique speech and text analytics engine, which is applied to advisor and automated customer conversations. The resulting Voice of the Customer analytics drives constant improvements in the way we measure quality and enhances the overall customer experience.

As a result, we can help our clients to spot vulnerable customers who would otherwise slip through the net. At the heart, it’s about helping our advisors to better support that customer, and working with our clients to ensure they are recognising these signs of vulnerability.”

By using this insight, and access to the best analytical technology, and to the right people to put this in action for the greater good, we can confidently move forwards and create a better financial environment for both clients and customers in the future.

To discover more about customer service models post COVID-19 read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp Group, on Reimagining service for the new world.                                        This aims to address these crucial questions and is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.

 

 

 


Demand Marketing guides salespeople to the best business opportunities

(Article published initially in French in Actionco.fr)

Selling is hard. More than ever, marketing-commerce congruence is essential to accelerate growth by generating higher value qualified leads. 

While the first two thirds of the B2B customer journey is now in digital form, "it is essential to stimulate the customer as soon as he prepares to make a purchasealone, online, to help the business to make this purchase intention a reality", underlines Alexandre Barthel, Marketing Director at Webhelp Enterprise. 

From data to information, from information to action 

Demand Marketing is above all based on data: "The ability to collect data to extract information is crucial to understand your audience and address them in a personalized way, the antipodes of the "’mass’ Direct Marketing actions of 20 years ago". It is now a multitude of highly targeted marketing campaigns that delivers value and feeds Lead Scoring. This method consists of allocating points according to behaviour within a digital path: opening an e-mail, clickingvisiting a site, etc., in order to produce a ranking reflecting the prospect's interest in the commercial offer and his propensity to buy. The objective is to guide the sales force in priority towards these opportunitiesReinforced by automation, Demand Marketing plays a major role more than ever in generating leads, in a daily life without trade shows or even face-to-face meetings. 

Key figures  

 - Between 27% and 40%: this is the average contribution of marketing to turnover (source: Markletic March 2020) 

 - 69%: this is the share of companies that make the generation of qualified leads their top priority for 2020 (source: Hubspot) 

Predicting buying behaviour 

Beyond the essential work of segmentation, marketers are sometimes helped by data scientists to create predictive models: "it is a question of anticipating the need, in order to take proactive action, for example to retain a subscriber for whom signals of risk of termination have been detected"These models are now reinforced by web listening’ techniques, which consist of analysing online interactions to detect purchase intentions. The retailer can then propose an adapted offer, but "it goes without saying that the posture towards the customer, in particular the tone of the message, must be benevolent enough to be perceived positively," notes Alexandre Barthel 

 Social Selling completes the generation of demand  

 Demand Marketing is extended by an individual approach with Social Selling. The modern seller appropriates the brand's marketing content to share it with his ecosystem on social networks. Here again, the goal is to generate business. "This mastery of social selling has become the standard in sales to accurately identify and contact decision-makers. In addition to generating business opportunitiesthis approach enhances the expertise of the sales representativewho makes a commitment on behalf of the brand to a wide audience," says Alexandre Barthel. 

Would you like an audit of your sales model and evaluate the value of marketing campaigns to feed your sales force? Get in touch with specialists.  

 


How AI is changing the retail experience

As part of our #servicereimagined series, Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer for the UK Region, looks at how Artificial Intelligence is influencing the retail sector, how it is being used to leverage new customer service models and why brands must evolve to embrace this unstoppable wave, or risk falling behind the curve.

Whilst I love a good movie, the fictional relationship with Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a happy one – and almost universally results in a troubled experience for the human! The silver screen, and latterly the internet, often warns of the dangers of pitting man against machine, but in reality AI has seamlessly, quietly and unobtrusively embedded itself into our daily lives.

AI shares our homes, guides us when we travel, takes our selfie when we socialise and influences our retail and leisure activities, and it may well have become the most indispensable tool of the 21st century.

Beyond the media tropes, today AI is firmly focused on problem solving, by making millions of decisions at a basic level without human intervention. Machine learning allows processes to adjust to new inputs, and avoid pitfalls based on experience. Essentially it uses multi-layered data analysis to predict patterns and, in some cases, to uncover and direct customer behaviours.

It is much simpler, more benign and much, much more useful to business than its movie counterpart.

Dave Pattman, Director of CX Services at Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp Group, sheds some light on this when he says;

“Whilst AI is everywhere, most experts agree that business is currently using the narrowest point in the definition, by enhancing brand delivery with mathematics, statistics, machine learning, deep learning and big data. However, even in its simplest form AI is making a radical difference, and is visually in our daily lives in our smart home device functions, autonomous vehicles and predictive text.”

 “AI solutions are being developed in a broad range of sectors, and will inevitably be used for common business tasks like auto classification and recommendation services, which will streamline operations and drive revenue. However, the real benefit will come to those business that combine next level AI technology with the right skilled personnel – and use this to stimulate and track consumer emotions!”

But what does AI mean for retailers?

Both physical and virtual retailers could see a benefit of integrating AI into their processes, to improve task management and customer insight. As we reported in our blog on the future of retail post COVID-19, shoppers will be looking for a more experiential real journey, and traditional brick and mortar enterprises will have to work harder to compete. As the storefront.com magazine reports:

“Brands need to reimagine the total in-store experience, and technology is key. In-store technologies must be able to solve business processes and incorporate planning and strategy, rather than just implementing flashy, PR-driven technology. It’s crucial that retailers effectively merge technology and function, which is why AI is at the forefront of in-store tech.”

However, I believe that it is in customer service management where AI has the most significant potential for change, gathering detailed customer patterns and preferences, capturing both short term consumer market fluctuations and informing longer term business planning.

As AI grows more and more prevalent, at Webhelp we are also exploring language processing for the purposes of automation, as Chris Bryson, Webhelp Global Data & Analytics Director explains:

“The direct interaction between customer and machine is allowing us to analyse conversations, at scale, and to make recommendations. We have developed own speech and text analytics engine, which we apply to agent and automated customer conversations.

At Webhelp, this is deployed to drive efficiency in our measurement of quality and to create CX improvements through actionable Voice of The Customer analytics”

When intelligent algorithms are used to process customer and sales data, there is a wealth of actionable and valuable information to be discovered. Intelligent chat bots, voice analytics and word recognition are also changing the game for retail customer service. And, as David Turner, Webhelp CEO for the UK region, Webhelp are at the forefront:

“We have already made significant investments in our digital and automation capabilities to help clients improve customer experience and reduce costs using digital self-service, and leverage technologies such as chatbots to reduce volumes of non-complex and low value interactions. At the same time, we are identifying where human support adds value to digital experiences. Providing guidance and support to customers during high value, complex and emotionally important journeys.”

These technologies are unavoidable, and brands must learn how best to use them to their advantage, as Craig Gibson Chief Commercial Officer Webhelp UK recognises:

“As the urgency for change and transformation intensifies in the post COVID landscape, some pivotal questions will be raised: How different will service look and feel in the future? How will businesses and their operations need to adapt? And how can employers engage and support their colleagues to deliver on new customer promises?”

To discover more about how to leverage customer service models in this new world, I would suggest that you read our new Whitepaper, a joint publication with Gobeyond Partners, on Reimagining service for the new world, which aims to address these crucial questions and is underpinned by our unique industry perspective alongside new research to discover the operating models of the future.


Whitepaper launch: Reimagining service for the new world

As the urgency for change and transformation intensifies in the post COVID landscape, Craig Gibson CCO for Webhelp UK, shares his thoughts on the launch of a new Whitepaper, a collaboration with Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp Group. 

At Webhelp, we have a commitment to use customer experience management to create positive and emotionally significant consumer/client relationships. Many of our previous blogs have discussed the importance of brand humanity and the how the multitude of emotions consumers experience can influence the customer journey and change attitudes towards companies and brands.

And whilst this remains a clear focus, we can’t ignore the impact that COVID-19 has had on both service delivery and development of the Customer Experience industry.

It is rapidly evolving, and as interactions have by necessity changed, customers’ expectations have shifted and priorities have become significantly different to those that were drafted onto strategic plans at the close of 2019.

We have shared some of the ways we met the immediate challenge of COVID-19, including looking at our strong partnerships with brands like Yodel, but the business world is still adapting to this new way of working, and the way customers have traditionally acted and regarded customer service is changing.

As an industry, brands must understand that the rules have changed, for good.

And I am not alone in believing that customer experience will be pivotal in this future landscape, as Feefo’s CEO, Matt West, agrees saying:

 “I think the ‘new normal’ will be more CX focused than ever. It will be all about fine-tuning right the way through the journey. Before all of this happened, evaluating the customer experience may not have been at the top of many businesses’ to-do lists, whereas this situation has brought the real value of a brand right to the forefront of the consumer’s minds. A refined CX is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s an essential.”[1]

It is time to tear up outdated plans and explore new and evolving needs which will drive future service development and innovation.

To this end, I have joined forces with Mark Palmer, Chief Executive Officer at Gobeyond Partners, part of the Webhelp Group, as we firmly believe that together we are able to provide a unique perspective.

There is no doubt that the need for transformation will only continue to intensify post COVID, and Mark hits the nail on the head, when he concludes that:

“COVID-19 is having a profound impact globally. Not only is it affecting our health, but it is fundamentally challenging and altering our political, social, and economic norms.”

And as our normal shifts, some key questions must be answered:

  • How different will service look and feel in the future?
  • How will businesses and their operations need to adapt?
  • And how can employers engage and support their colleagues to deliver on new customer promises?

Our new Whitepaper, combining Webhelp’s expertise in global customer management with Gobeyond Partners’ Customer journey design and transformation experience is called Reimagining service for the new world. It provides a clear framework, or roadmap, for tomorrow’s successful customer-focused operating models and is backed by the latest exclusive research from over 500 business leaders.

There is something wonderful about looking at the right map to explore the road ahead, as:

“Maps are like campfires – everyone gathers around them, because they allow people to understand complex issues at a glance, and find agreement.”[2]

We hope that launch of this Whitepaper will provide the stimulus for many further blogs and events, and I would like to personally invite you to keep the campfire of innovation burning and join the Reimagining service for the new world mailing list, by connecting on LinkedIn and by becoming part of our future conversation. We’d love to hear what you think the future holds.

[1] www.dma.org.uk

[2] www.sonomaecologycenter.org


The importance of remaining human, in the switch to digital learning

The business challenge facing the Webhelp UK Operational Learning and Development (Ops L&D) team, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was truly exceptional. Here, Declan Hogan Director of Operational L&D, UK region, reveals how they transformed their strategy while thinking human and what plans they are making for the future.

In March 2020, upon observing the initial impact of COVID, our team faced an unprecedented demand; to deliver an overarching vision of safe, accessible, viable training - available at speed and at scale.

As a people-first business, colleague well-being was a driving principle, and as pre-COVID, virtual training made up no more than 5% of delivery, we knew that we had to rapidly increase our online service to both protect and inform our employees.

This was to be no small task, as the team operates across 25 sites covering 3 major geographic regions; the UK, South Africa and India. We deliver L&D to 11,000 people across 32 different client campaigns, encompassing a diverse range of cultures, sectors, scales and approaches. We focus on our 9000 frontline advisors, via a fraternity of circa 100 trainers, facilitators, L&D consultants and development specialists.

The Webhelp vision is to ‘make business more human’, so we knew we had to swiftly implement a comprehensive change of direction in strategy and delivery, in a relevant, but above all ‘human’ and accessible way.

We needed a reframed game-plan to meet the considerable demand of the many more employees working from home. With intelligent work force management, access to a daily War Room (to engage, inform and learn from senior leaders) and a freshly developed playbook, using an agile 5DI mythology, we understood the differing circumstances of our colleagues and designed tailored virtual sessions and digital learning spaces to meet their needs.

In just 14 days we achieved:

  • 100% online learning delivery for over 8,000 people working from home
  • Over 50 Webhelp trainers upskilled into a virtual environment
  • 85 core digital learning modules and 25 Digital Compliance Courses ready to deploy

And, our people responded with employee satisfaction scores of around 90%. During the COVID crisis we welcomed 5 new partners in retail, tele-co and key services and our learning team have been consistently central to speed and success.

Our programs and modules broke down existing physical training into short impactful interventions, supported with self-directed guides, an information portal, webinars and video and focused on key themes of communication and well-being and resilience

We used creative design solutions like gamification and split screen technology to engage, test, recognise and reward. Plus, we developed a virtual ‘hot seat’ environment and a soft go live to ease ‘call shock’ for new advisors. And, it was also crucial to invest time to skill the front-line trainers to deliver virtually. We made this real-world with a psychological contract between facilitator and learner that this is not training ‘as usual’: signal will drop, kids will interrupt, pets will make noise etc.

Alongside all of this, a constant dialogue was maintained with each client, keeping them at the heart of all activity, strong relationships based on trust and transparency were built, each playing a part in the decision-making process. You can read more about our partnership strategy in this interview with Yodel. who share their high level of satisfaction with our approach during COVID-19.

So, by necessity, but with insight, the ‘classroom only’ model rapidly evolved and 100% online delivery became standardised and transferable across all of our regions. Although our entire L&D catalogue can now be delivered online, a decision tree process is in place to establish if training should be virtual, blended or face to face.

Looking to the future

Reacting to the COVID crisis gave the world an unmistakable virtual capability call to action, however, our team were ahead of the game with an established L&D strategy for 2020 which had already initiated the clear and strategic goal of increasing the self-learning/digital proposition to enable learning anywhere.

Whilst the crisis has given us the stimulus to test, learn and roll out a virtual model, the focus has now began to shift to blended learning - drawing the best from both virtual and face to face approaches.

As part of our half yearly reflections, each training manager is presenting (via case studies) successes and suggestions on how to improve our new methodologies.

Online learning is growing in both sophistication and popularity, but it should never lose the human touch - as FutureLearn CEO Simon Nelson, who previously led the BBC’s transition from analogue to digital, remarks:

“The integration of digital technology into education has had a profound impact, opening up distribution globally and allowing flexible, on-demand, around-the-clock services for learners. It also connects us to vast stores of information.

However, skills like emotional intelligence, creativity, resilience, conflict resolution, or leadership will never go out of fashion. As technology continues to redefine the world of work, the traits that make us human will remain as important as ever”

Source: Britishcouncil.org

Webhelp is an intrinsically human company – a global melting pot of passionate individuals who actively want to change the game, to really make a difference in the lives of the people and business they work with.  I am incredibly proud of the agility and creativity of my team and how they remained focused and supportive during difficult times.

Our vision and culture will act as a compass to guide the next generation of people-centric learning, and we will keep challenging the status-quo to be the forefront of new thinking, now and in the future.