How important is it to be yourself at work?

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Zoazy has been at Nationwide for over a year and a half within the contact centre. Before Nationwide, she worked in retail from the age of 16-22, which included a motorcycle clothing store. She decided to make a change to broaden her career prospects and switch things up.

Why work at Nationwide?

I applied for Nationwide because I knew it would open up my career options and allow me to progress if I was willing to put in the work: I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly, but I took it upon myself to ask for a taster day in the design team. Once I saw what they did I knew it was for me. 

In the short time I’ve been here I’ve moved from Customer Service Consultant to Work Support, and now into my new role as a Training Consultant - all those late nights and early mornings were well worth it! Longer term I’d like to become a senior training consultant, and gain extra technical skills. This will help me focus more on the design side of my role which I find the most interesting.

When I first joined as a Customer Service Consultant I found the shifts difficult, but I knew I’d have to stick with it to achieve my longer term goals. Once I actually began training and took my first call I saw how much work I’d need to put in to be the best I could be for our customers.

“ Some of my friends also work for Nationwide; a lot of them are in customer service which is where I started, it’s a great place to begin a career here. When people my age hear ‘call centre’ the biggest misconception tends to be that it’s going to be easy, which I have to say I thought too before I joined. ”

I think customer service is at the heart of everything we do at Nationwide; I can really say that with confidence having worked in different areas (working on the phones trying to do my best to help customers, and now in a training position guiding our new starters into being the best they can be). It’s made me realise how much we stand out from the crowd when it comes to customer service.

Do you feel you can ‘be yourself’ at work?

I definitely do feel that I can be myself where I work. I used to think Nationwide looked for a certain type of person, and I think that’s why my initial interview made me so nervous. Since working here that notion has really gone; where I work really does have a great mix of people.

“ I’m a big believer of PMA (positive mental attitude) and I think that as long as I put out a positive vibe and do the best I can, others will see past things like my tattoos and see me for my hard work. At Nationwide I haven’t felt judged, but I’m aware that I work in a financial institution so some people may not agree with my tattoos. ”

I was 18 when I got my first tattoo for my birthday; I had a robin on my inner left bicep. I got it as it reminded me of home; our garden is always full of birds and the robin was my favourite. I've since gone on to get a number of tattoos, all of which are personal to me. Whilst I have no regrets about deciding to be tattooed, I’m in no way qualified to give advice. To any other young person thinking about possibly getting a tattoo I'd always just say to them to STOP and THINK. Tattoos aren’t for everyone and the key is to be sensible in what you choose.

As someone with a number of tattoos, I remember feeling the pressure to cover up in a previous retail job, which made me not want to go to work as I felt like I was being judged. I’m very aware of how lucky I am to work in an area that is non-customer facing as it gives me a little wiggle room when it comes to having my tattoos on show - I know other colleagues may sometimes have to cover up but I think it comes with the job. For me, it's important to respect everyone's views.

Can ‘being yourself’ help you to perform better at work?

Being myself at work means I'm more relaxed, and in turn I feel it helps me perform better in my role. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that I really do work with some great people here at Nationwide.

“ One of the best things about working at Nationwide has to be the people, everyone’s so willing to help each other out and it makes for a great work atmosphere. I’d say the people here are fun, pro-active and kind. ”

I’ve never had any issues here; those that I’m closest to at work are great. We always have a laugh but can still get our heads down and get the job done. 

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