Director of Learning and Development Ian Wearne explains why RS’s investment in training will drive significant benefits for customers

At RS we are building our People Journey framework, which focuses on creating job-role specific Development Paths for our employees. These Development Paths are designed to ensure that each employee can perform optimally in their job role, and deliver excellent standards in service and value to our customers. As we learned from Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, there is a clear correlation between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, so we are rolling out development programmes centered around making our customers happy.
People development is important, indeed fundamental to the RS strategy for a number of reasons – the rapid pace of change in business, including the MRO industry means that our people need to continually learn and develop to keep pace and operate at the leading-edge in our markets for the benefit of customers.
In addition, RS has a clear approach to continuous improvement as an organisation to better serve our customers now and in the future. We’ve spoken before about setting ourselves apart with our dedication to customer service and we are working hard to ensure our people fully understand their part in this; hence the knowledge and learning they need to be exceptional in their job roles will continue to be supported by the RS approach to Learning and Development.
As examples, in 2017 we designed and delivered two exciting, innovative programmes, which will remain core components within the RS People Journey framework. We delivered a training programme to ensure employees gained a higher-level understanding of how we can provide tangible business benefits for our customers. We also focused on further enhancing our management and leadership capability across our sales and service management community.
"The conversations our people have with customers will be enhanced and focused on the customer’s agenda so that RS can provide solutions and value"Ian Wearne, Director of Learning and Development, Northern Europe, RS
Management Development Programme
We are working hard to continuously develop our managers through training that will help them to work better with their teams and customers. Our Management Development Programme has been running for over a year focusing on improving our managers’ management, leadership, coaching and people skills.
Through the programme, our managers have been engaged and inspired to further build critical skills such as inspirational leadership, values and ethics, emotional intelligence, and engaging in performance-enhancing conversations.
The Development Programme will ultimately benefit customers because our managers will be better able to help their teams implement our business strategy. By being equipped to lead and coach, our managers and their teams will be even better placed to meet customer needs, support their challenges and deliver value.  
"We want to be seen as a strategic partner for businesses where RS can help customers improve the way they operate"Ian Wearne, Director of Learning and Development, Northern Europe, RS
Customer First
We want our customers to be fully aware and informed of the full capability of RS, which extends well beyond the supply of a full range of MRO and Electronics products.
We want to be seen as a strategic partner for businesses where our knowledge, innovation, experience and capability can be used to help customers improve the way they operate, which in turn will deliver efficiency and cost savings. Crucial to all this is that our people fully understand the value we can bring, what it serves to deliver for customers, and that we are able to support and deliver the strategy across the business.
There will be significant benefits for our customers as a result of this training. In practice it will mean their conversations with us will be enhanced, focused on their agenda, understanding their business so that RS can provide the right solutions and value. We want our people to not only consider the practical details but also the solutions we can offer.
We have already begun to see the impact of the training, but this is a long-term programme. As more customers become aware and learn more about the full capability of RS, they will start to reap the benefits and feel the positive impact on their business objectives.