When Julie Bishop and her business partner, Richard Gardner, co-founded IT Naturally in 2019, they knew that they wanted to use technology as a force for good and put people at the heart of the company. In year one, the IT managed services provider recorded a multi-million-pound turnover. Together, Julie and Richard had launched a business that was not only making a profit, but it also employed a happy and empowered workforce that was delivering exceptional customer experience. But how?
“I never had a burning desire to launch a company but when the opportunity arose to create IT Naturally, I knew I wanted it to be the company that I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” explained Julie, CEO of IT Naturally. “Richard and I knew that our company would have strong ethics; we knew we’d give some of our profits to charity, we knew that we wanted to be a B Corp company, and we knew that our people would be our most important asset. Therefore, we engaged in LinkedIn Learning. It was paramount that we invested in our people and put their development first.”
Empowering employees to develop their careers
IT Naturally was born from the demise of Thomas Cook. Julie and Richard were working for the tour operator when it went into administration. One of the group’s airlines knew it had to go it alone to survive but needed someone to run its IT infrastructure services. Within one month of Thomas Cook collapsing, Julie and Richard had founded IT Naturally and signed its first client. The pressure was on. As a new company with a big contract, IT Naturally had to hit the ground running and create internal policies and procedures, as well as offer its new workforce training and development. However, it was Julie’s wish to offer more than mandatory skills training.
“We’re an IT company and a people company,” Julie continues. “We deliver IT services to people so our priority must be our people.”
For Julie personal and professional development were crucial. “Our company operates 24/7. We are on the end of a phone, ready to listen to our customers so that we can understand their IT issues before fixing them.
“We have a huge variety of people working for IT Naturally. Shift workers, people who are new to management roles, and various technical disciplines – each member of our team has a different talent and there’s a requirement for training that meets a wide variety of individuals’ needs. This is where LinkedIn Learning has been a huge support. The platform has enabled our employees to take control of their own training and career development.”
Investing in a workforce
According to Julie, customers that phone IT Naturally’s service desk are often stressed, so they have invested in their teams’ training so that they can meet customer requirements, soothe their anxiety, and solve their problems quickly and efficiently. She believes it’s these customer service skills which are key to IT Naturally’s net promoter score (NPS) of 90.
“We believe in our people and trust them,” she says. “Our view is that if an employee makes a mistake, it’s probably because we haven’t put a process in place for them to learn how to do something right. We assume the mistake is not deliberate and that it’s an issue we need to sort out. It could be that we need to write a knowledge article so that our employees know how to deal with a particular issue in the future or that we need to train people. Whatever the outcome, we invest and support our people.”
Taking control of leadership training and career progression
IT Naturally adopted LinkedIn Learning in 2019; each employee has access to a LinkedIn Learning licence. The platform empowers employees and allows them to take control of their learning at a pace that suits them.
Reveals Julie, “We use LinkedIn Learning for mandatory skills training, but we also use it for diversity and management training. But what’s exciting is that everyone in the business is encouraged to learn something for at least one hour a week so that they can develop themselves.”
Employees are encouraged to learn a breadth of skills – from project management to customer service. IT Naturally has developed learning pathways for each role within the business and there are learning pathways with a specific focus on leadership for employees who want to progress further.
Awakening the possibilities in a workforce
Renowned English conductor Benjamin Zander considers it is his job to awaken the possibilities in others. His insight resonated with Julie, who believes that IT Naturally’s adoption of LinkedIn Learning is highlighting all the possibilities that are open to employees.
“We’re helping people to take charge of their own career and development,” she reveals . “When people join our company, it’s often the first time they have been given an opportunity to learn. We always look for someone with the right attitude and aptitude because we know we can give them the training so that they can be what they want to be.”
On average, the IT Naturally team spends four hours training per month. Employees are encouraged to recommend pathways to their colleagues. Courses and pathways are tracked so that progress can be monitored. Sometimes if someone recommends a particular training course or programme, it can become part of the on-boarding process for that role.
“Giving our employees access to LinkedIn Learning is basically the business saying: ‘Here’s an opportunity to get wider training and qualifications’.
“Our service desk employees are given basic training but because they are taking control of their careers, they are watching more videos, finishing more courses, and getting further and further down the line with their development. They won’t just look at the skills needed for their role, they’ll do courses in behavioural and influencing skills, which are critical if you are on the front line and a customer’s first port of call.”
The adoption of LinkedIn Learning has been remarkable with 100% activation of LinkedIn Learning licenes for all employees since launch. Strong results have been recorded in employee satisfaction surveys and extremely high customer satisfaction scores have been registered too.
Julie concludes: “Our adoption of LinkedIn Learning has been key to our progress. LinkedIn has supported us on our business journey and has enabled Richard and I to offer training to a workforce that is eager to learn. I strongly believe that putting our people at the heart of the business has been central to our success and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the many benefits of personal and professional development that LinkedIn Learning brings.”