Progression stories: Benjamin Lee
How does an ex-security guard come to be launching a pioneering helpline for Deaf people? By having a can-do attitude – and working in an organisation that cares about nurturing talent.
We welcome recruits from all sorts of backgrounds because they enrich and energise our workplace community. Read on to find out how Ben Lee has worked his way up from Advisor to Contract Manager in just four years – and whose job he’s eyeing up next…
Where it all began
At Connect Assist, we value life experience as much as work experience. Shared values mean more to us than CVs.
So when Ben applied for an Advisor role, it was no problem that his previous job was in security. Lots of the skills are the same: dealing with people, staying calm in emotive situations, diligence, and problem solving. All of which Ben has proved to have in abundance!
Plus, he told us straight up that he wanted to climb to the top of the ladder, and was prepared to work and learn to get there.
As an Advisor, Ben handled challenging calls on issues such as combat stress, building up his own emotional intelligence and resilience. He demonstrated he could deal with anything. We love people like that!
Onwards and upwards
The next rung of the ladder for Ben was Team Leader. At this stage, his manager also put him forward for succession planning, meaning we wanted to develop his skills ready for more senior posts.
Team Leader is a responsible and varied role. You’re supporting Advisors, so it’s helpful if you’ve done that job yourself. You’re arranging training, sorting admin, and providing that all-important link to the senior leadership team.
Just to make life even more interesting, Ben was doing all this in a pandemic, with a team working remotely. He drew up such a meticulous virtual plan that it got rolled out across the organisation. Ben took the lead on virtual training for the entire contact centre, too.
As our CEO, Ron Moody, said: “Ben’s professional confidence and expertise enabled us to feel confident when stepping out of our comfort zone for virtual training. He managed to create and implement something truly innovative.”
The next step: Contract Manager
Unsurprisingly, Ben was quickly promoted. The journey from Advisor to Contract Manager usually takes five years, but he got there in four.
Just to keep Ben on his toes, we’ve given him two very different contracts to work on, managing teams totalling 18 people.
Usually, new Contract Managers have a steep learning curve, but Ben received glowing reviews from everyone.
And don’t forget, this was during a pandemic. Advisors and Team Leaders were dealing with high levels of emotive calls, while facing childcare struggles and health fears themselves. Thank goodness for all that resilience Ben developed as an Advisor.
Helping to launch Sign Assist
Some of Ben’s chief strengths are his openness to new ideas, his adaptability, and his professional confidence. And if you’re going to launch a service that’s the first of its kind in the UK, you need those in spades.
Sign Assist is our video helpline for Deaf people, staffed by Deaf Advisors using British Sign Language (BSL), and we decided that Ben was the right person to be Contract Manager.
Could Ben speak BSL? No. Did he learn to? Yep – enough to welcome his new bilingual team on board, and help roll out company-wide internal communications in best practice for communicating with Deaf people.
Sign Assist’s bi-lingual Team Leader Chris Coles says: “From the second I started, Ben has been amazing. I’ve worked in jobs with hearing people for 15 years prior to joining Sign Assist, and I have never experienced someone show so much positive enthusiasm for the Deaf community before. His leadership has been exemplary and has inspired me to want to grow with the company.”
Sign Assist launched in April 2021, so what’s next for Ben? Our Compliance Officer is convinced that Ben’s after his job, as he’s shown so much knowledge of data protection! But there are all sorts of avenues he might consider.
If you share Ben’s willingness to learn, adapt, and work hard, you too could soon be building your career with Connect Assist. Take a look at our vacancies, and give us a bell or drop us a line if you’d like to chat things through.