What practical steps have you taken since signing up to the framework to ensure professionalism standards are met by the end of 2018?
We are promoting professional qualifications across Scottish Widows. A great example of this is the support we are giving to the 3,000 colleagues in our customer services teams who serve advisers and customers every day.
We have made a significant commitment to support colleagues achieve a high degree of professional competency. Working with CII we have achieved CII accreditation for our induction programme for new colleagues. We are also encouraging colleagues to gain the LF1 qualification and, within the first year of our commitment to raising professional standards, over 190 additional colleagues will become LF1 qualified.
In addition, by the end of 2017, we estimate there will have been a 52% increase in the proportion of customer services colleagues studying for professional qualifications. We have also changed the way we support personal development to make it easier for colleagues to gain skills to support advisers and customers. Our study workshops have significantly improved the pass rate for qualifications. Since signing up to the framework, the pass rate has risen by 19%, with 85% of colleagues now passing first time around.
Have there been any challenges in the rollout so far, and, if so, what has proved difficult?
There have been challenges. The high demand from colleagues for professional qualifications has been challenging, given the availability of CII tutors.
To ensure we are able to sustain our commitment, we have trained colleagues to run our own inhouse study workshops. We have made a commitment to raising professional standards. That will involve balancing the day-to-day needs of advisers and customers with giving colleagues the time for professional development. But in the long-term, we believe this approach will benefit everyone.
What difference should advisers expect to see as a result of this initiative?
By professionalising the workplace, we are investing in our colleagues, providing them with qualifications relevant to their role and a more clearly defined career path. We expect customer services will be more confident and better equipped to apply their knowledge to support advisers and customers, enhancing the overall service experience they will receive from Scottish Widows.
Ronnie Taylor is distribution director at Scottish Widows