5 top tips from Train Together
After starting their Cognassist journey during lockdown #1, Train Together have experienced great success. Read on to find out their 5 top tips for surviving lockdown.
Train Together are an independent training provider based out of Leicestershire specialising in education, facilities, financial and healthcare sectors.
Charles Dall’Omo is the CEO and Founder, and he sits down with me to discuss how they’ve handled these “unprecedented” times.
Charles tells me that when the first lockdown struck back in March 2020, Train Together were already on the front foot when it came to online communication. They had Yammer and Teams firmly in place, with consistent adoption of the platforms across the company.
So they had that side of things nailed going into this – but what can we learn from their other lockdown measures?
Below, we chat through what have been the biggest factors in Train Together’s continued success throughout the P*ndemic.
1. Your values should be your gravity
Nurture, empower, be dedicated, courageous and genuine.
In times of disaster, it’s easy to lose track of who you are and what you stand for and focus solely on the problems in front of you.
Train Together took the opposite approach and ensured their actions centred around the values their company was built on, which have adapted with them over time.
It’s easy to see how this level of consistency and focus was a comfort to staff, who in many ways were able to view their lockdown adjustments as business as normal. If your operational guiding star is always locked onto nurturing learners and team members, then you’re still working towards the same goal as before – but with new and different routes to achieve it.
Nurture is a key focus for Train Together and Charles tells me, “we can do so much more with Cognassist to ensure we are living and breathing our nurture value, it automates check-in points with learners which is really helpful for staff.”
When things changed rapidly in March 2020, Charles says they had a clear focus and prioritised doubling their efforts for learner support. But what exactly does that look like?
2. Invest. Invest. Invest.
Once you know what your key priorities are, you know where to invest. And we aren’t just talking financial investment.
Train Together knew they had to do more for all students but especially the most vulnerable.
They took a holistic approach to investments, looking at people, software and processes. Charles tells me, “You can’t just pay for these things and then be done with it. You need to set up the internal processes to ensure they succeed.”
Here’s what they did:
- Undertook an internal restructure, promoting existing team members and hiring to expand their learner support team.
- Invested in software that focused on learner support: MyConcern and Cognassist. Charles explains Train Together were already providing additional support to learners from a cognitive and pastoral perspective. But when lockdown struck, they needed software to help them scale this support, “Before we could survive without Cognassist…not anymore.”
- Took the time to embed these tools into the operational, day to day processes of Train Together, rather than seeing the software itself as a quick fix.
Charles explains how the right tools can have a powerful and positive impact:
“Support was already being given, it was just hard to track and evidence. Now, Cognassist makes a huge difference to learners and to us financially.”
“Cognassist is the first thing our learners do every month, they’re very engaged. Even if they’re struggling with their course, they’ll complete the monthly support strategies from Cognassist.”
CEO and Founder, Train Together
3. Reasonable adjustments
Another element of this laser focus on learner support was to ensure that the lockdowns didn’t impact those students who require reasonable adjustments.
On a basic level, Train Together reviewed all upcoming deadlines and ongoing timelines for learners to ensure adjustments were swiftly made.
Looking at their larger scale approach, Charles tells me that with the help of Cognassist, they’ve built a “definite policy” for how they implement all reasonable adjustments.
Everyone on the team is clear on what to do, how to do it and when to do it.
In a lockdown context, this level of process is essential to ensure consistency of support for every learner.
4. The Organisational Safety Steering Group
This group brings together every department involved in safety (so, basically every department) to ensure cross-organisational collaboration at a time when communication could have been a downfall.
The aim of this group is to keep all risks as low as possible throughout the organisation. To build good practice into the way they work before encountering a specific issue.
They found that just by bringing this group together, they uncovered optimisation opportunities as well as potentially risky areas to overcome proactively.
5. Listen to people on the front line
Perhaps one of the most simple, and yet fundamental, tips from Charles is to encourage input from and listen to your team members that spend the most time with learners.
They’ll be clued up in ways that senior management might not be.
This links back to the earlier focus on being guided and anchored by your values. One of Train Together’s values is empowerment.
It’s vital that staff feel empowered to speak up when they have innovative ideas or spot potential problems, even (and especially) when disruption hits.
The flat structure of Train Together helps with this, Charles shares their organisational chart with me, which is more of a web or a birds-eye view of a 3D cone. Lacking any sense of hierarchy, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were looking at a mind map to begin with.
This flat structure has also helped to make their decision making processes quicker and more agile, which Charles mentions has had a massive impact on their performance throughout lockdowns.
And that’s it! Some top tips from our partners at Train Together. I think we can all agree that CEO and Founder Charles Dall’omo is a man with a clear focus on high quality learner support.
And he’s one who puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to his team. Last November, Train Together officially became a Partnership.
Now, not only do staff enjoy a share of profit but they also have greater visibility of the organisation’s overall finances. This move mirrors what we’ve discussed about really living and breathing the values – what better way to empower your staff than to get them involved at every level and give them ownership in the company.
After going live with Cognassist in March, Train Together have achieved great success, increasing revenue and learner engagement.
If you’re interested in scaling up your learner support, book a demo with us today.
Marketing and Events Manager