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Blog Graphic – Cristian Rivera

Cristian Rivera, Director of Solutions; the journey of a passionate learning professional

Post Series: Storytelling

“This is not just another day; this is yet another chance to make your dreams come true.”

Lisa Lieberman

Cristian Rivera, Director of Solutions for Learning Tribes, shares with us an inspirational experience about how becoming part of a contact center opened doors he never imagined and explains his role today.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I like to think about myself as an easy-going, enthusiastic guy who is in love with L&D. SITEL was my first job experience, and I never imagined how far it would take me.

2.What were your plans when you joined SITEL?

Back then, I was just 19 years old; my priority was to finish college, so I decided to apply at SITEL to make some additional money for myself, gather some experience, and improve my English. Still, ten years later, here I am, and the rest is history.

3. What skills did you develop throughout your journey as a customer service representative?

Working at Sitel allowed me to learn about different abilities that I didn’t have before, such as customer service, people skills, and work ethic; those simple lessons took me to many places.

4. Tell us about a moment when things didn’t turn out the way you expected.

I fell in love with the Learning Department after a few months I started working at SITEL; however, things were not as simple as they looked.

I had to apply three different times before I got the position; this was very demotivating, mostly because I was very young, and I thought I was ready, but if there is something I don’t regret, it is every lesson that I learned.

Staying optimistic about applying again and consistent about my performance allowed me the opportunity to be exactly where I wanted to, and that changed my entire life.

5. Why did you choose to move to the learning department?

I didn’t choose learning; learning chose me.

Back then, all my peers were becoming coaches, so I wanted to follow the same pattern, but my supervisor said something I would never forget:

“If you become a coach, you are going to do a great job impacting 20 agents on your charge, but if you become a trainer, you will influence every single person on this campaign.”

Those simple words made me fall in love with learning.

6.Tell us about the most significant hurdles you faced as a Learning Manager.

Many things are challenging about this role, but I’m going to mention four:

  1. The Learning Manager role, in essence, is very similar to the site director role since you have to influence other leaders and create harmony by working in partnership with other departments and ensuring that your learners will have the best onboarding experience.
  2. As a Learning Manager, you have a significant amount of responsibility for an agent’s success or failure, meaning that you have to be aware of your learners’ needs and prepare them to do a good job.
  3. You also have to handle different logos simultaneously, making sure you understand the context of each one of them, including KPIs, business models, clients, and others.
  4. Micromanaging people is not an option in this role, giving you the responsibility to build a solid developmental strategy for your team to feel empowered enough to become self-sufficient.

7. How was your transition from SITEL to Learning Tribes?

I had the best transition ever, starting from my Director, who didn’t hesitate for one second to support me and encouraged me to take this new challenge.

I also had a fantastic group of senior trainers on my team who were very independent and made me feel that everything would be alright after I left.

Once I came to the Learning Tribes family, they made me feel at home, and even when we started to work in a virtual environment only, I was empowered very early in the game.

Even if someone asked me to design the perfect transition, it could never be even close to what happened to me.

8.How do you collaborate with SITEL today?

I have this phrase: “I want to be the training Robin to your operational Batman.”

You have many resources and a specific amount of things that you need to achieve, including operational KPIs, responsibilities, goals, deadlines, and others. Still, we can be your partners to help you go there way faster.

For example, if the learning curve to a new hire class is 12 weeks, we can determine how to turn that into four weeks by including me in your process.

We can be the training experts to make sure that through learning, things happen.

9.Based on your experience, what’s the process for preparing a training curriculum?

  • Designing the process: This happens when our creative team and instructional designers put together how the training experience structure will be developed.
  • Implement the strategy: We want to have a strong team for practical new hire training.
  • Measuring: This is super important since we need to understand what we are trying to accomplish. It’s not just about making a training look pretty; we need to know the success measurements.

Getting to know Cristian’s story is very impressive, and this is why we decided to ask two random questions we knew would be very meaningful to him:

1. What do you consider to be your most significant professional achievement?

The team I built as a Learning Manager is my legacy today. I saw them evolve and improve from the very first interview to where they are today.

We started with a team of 5 trainers only, and then we became 35, and I’ll always be proud of them.

2. What is the most memorable advice you’ve ever gotten?

I remember a manager told me once: “The path through hell is full of good intentions.”

When working with people, you need to have a powerful emotional intelligence to provide and accept feedback.

Sometimes we try to protect people, and we hesitate to do things, like staying quiet to protect someone’s feelings, but if you do that, you are already hurting someone.

You have to be super assertive in how you do things and how you communicate things for the good of the people surrounding you.

In conclusion, Cristian is an excellent example of perseverance, resolution, and determination; even though the path was challenging and demanding, he is happy with every single lesson he learned and is entirely sure that the best is yet to come.

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