It’s Back to School for Children and Adults

Does your employee training and member education strategy make the grade?

Research carried out by John M. Floyd & Associates (JMFA) suggests, there is a need for reliable financial education related to maintaining healthy financial footing. Following are five steps you can take to make sure your credit union is providing the knowledge and tools your members can use to address their financial needs. And, that your employee training ritual deserves more than just a passing grade.

Make sure employees fully understand your member service philosophy
When was the last time you listened to how your employees present your services and programs to new or existing members? Do they have the knowledge and confidence to fully explain the details — and member benefits and responsibilities — across the board? Or does their loss of confidence or personal bias get in the way of creating excellent service experiences for every member?

If employees lack the knowledge to explain your services precisely, or the passion to deliver the highest caliber service to everyone, your members’ experiences and your institution’s overall performance will suffer. However, using these situations to create teachable moments for employees can make them more effective ambassadors for the institution and likely make their jobs lot more enjoyable.

Establish on-going training opportunities to keep the rules and details top-of-mind
No matter how long an individual has been doing his or her job, there are various reasons why ongoing training opportunities are beneficial. Member expectations and needs vary; regulations on consumer products and services are always changing; new technology impacts the way the industry operates, and complacency can influence the way people address their daily responsibilities.

And don’t forget, just like it was when we were children, adults learn and retain information differently. Some benefit from face-to-face interaction, while others prefer the convenience of online opportunities. However, your employees prefer to receive information, everyone benefits from role-play opportunities where they can practice what they have learned to gain confidence in their knowledge retention and delivery. Providing employees with ongoing, effective training situations allows them to step away from their daily responsibilities to increase their knowledge, share member feedback with their peers, and learn different service techniques and regulatory updates (when industry experts are incorporated into the format). Training sessions are also a great way to build teamwork and reinforce the value you place in the contributions your employees make to the institution. 

Supply the tools necessary to facilitate service management
Whether it’s traditional classroom pencils, pens and notebooks, or next-generation cloud software, analytics and reporting capabilities, having the proper tools to capture and utilize information is essential to a long-term learning process and effective service management. When employees have access to up-to-date reporting information and account holder activity, they are in a much better position to see trends, spot potential problems and anticipate how to implement changes to improve the service experience. Real-time data is also a helpful tool for ensuring that performance and compliance issues are being dealt with effectively.

Stay apprised of changes in regulations and best practices
Maintaining awareness of the changing environment of our highly regulated industry is essential for avoiding potential compliance and legal jeopardy. Let’s face it, there are a lot of rules related to almost every aspect of banking operations — from deposits to lending to IT, privacy, cybersecurity and consumer protection. And they are constantly being scrutinized and often changed by regulators. Preserving compliance at every level can be challenging if you don’t have a full understanding of the risks and best practices related to your product and service offerings. 

Tapping into proven expertise around compliance regulations — as well as the risks of litigation around full consumer disclosure, fee assessment, processes and procedures — can help you avoid the repercussions of increased regulatory and legal scrutiny. What’s more, it can increase employees’ confidence and give them the satisfaction of knowing they are providing the best possible service for your members.

Provide on-going communication to reinforce member knowledge
For best results, employees aren’t the only ones who need ongoing access to information about available service options, account status and member responsibilities. Let’s face it, when consumers are balancing their financial needs with other work and family obligations, it can be overwhelming — especially when they are hit with an unexpected expense, have an unplanned employment interruption or face an emergency situation. They need to know right away that their financial institution is there to help them maintain financial stability until the situation passes.

By Roy Seifert, Client Trainer, JMFA