When to take training inside your bank
Training continues to be a challenge for community banks. An Arkansas CEO recently asked: “At what point does a community bank need a training officer? What criteria do they select from to recruit and hire one? Do they serve more than one location?”
Two of our Prescriber CEOs asked their specialists to help out. Here’s what they had to say.
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Kitty Kendrick, executive vice-president and CFO, Bartow Country Bank, Cartersville, Ga., $381.1 million-assets.
We are about there, so maybe you’ll find the threshold at $400-$500 million in assets, and 100 employees.
The person that I would look for would need to be very knowledgeable, and an experienced user of most of our systems: core, teller, platform, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, CRM, etc. The candidate would need to be very technically savvy and a strong communicator. In our case, we would also want a trainer to conduct sales and service training, so ours would need to be personable and enthusiastic, as well.
I always like to promote from within, if possible, but I can see where it may be necessary to go outside. Also, training facilities are important; ideally a bank has its own training room. We would use one trainer for all of our employees and locations.
We’ve had fairly good success with using our own people as trainers. We’ve “trained the trainers”—pools of eight or so employees—to implement our sales and service program and our CRM system and that’s gone quite well. We’ve also used subject experts and that’s worked well also.
Sharon Carr, human resources director and operations officer, New Washington State Bank, New Washington, Ind., $212 million-assets.
In my view, if you have more than one location and have more than 20-40 employees, then someone should be designated to be in charge of training. They may or may not be an officer. Also, you may need to distinguish between whether they are to perform technical training, such as applications, or development training, such as a customer service program or management development. HR typically is involved in management development and even customer service training. If you only have one location and 20–40 people, you still must have someone to roll out training and it should be someone who has expertise.
In terms of recruitment, first of all, get a good job description that outlines what you want them to be responsible for. Many groups, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (www.shrm.org), have job descriptions, or your HR officer should be able to locate one.
Typically, you would have someone interviewing for a training position do a presentation to a group of your senior managers. You must decide: Will they do soft skills training or technical training? The skill sets for these jobs are both similar and different. A trainer to do development must be a mentor, a coach, and an excellent communicator. A trainer doing technical training must demonstrate to you how they would train on a technical application and must be able to learn multiple systems. Both types must be able to engage and hold an audience and keep them on pace.
Likewise, both absolutely must know how to facilitate, and have an understanding of adult learning theory; how to create curriculums; and how to design training materials and manuals.
They should be able to identify what competencies are needed for specific groups. They should have experience, too. Otherwise it takes time to develop a trainer.
When reviewing resumes, look for such factors as Langevin certification (Langevin Learning Services is a large train-the-trainer firm, www.langevin.com); membership in the Society for Human Resource Management; or an education or communications major in college. They need expertise in determining if learning took place, such as post-training tests.
Do they serve more than one location? That’s totally dependent on the size of the bank’s staff and number of locations, but, typically, yes. They would have to create a training calendar to schedule all the appropriate topics and employees. If the community bank is large, then obviously they might have assistant(s).
Also, a few things that I have found that don’t help:
It never works to just let someone do training in their spare time, if they wear multiple hats, because something will be sacrificed. Typically it is training that gets sacrificed.
Also, hiring outside consultants works for some things but it can become cost prohibitive and so once again training is sacrificed. On-the-job training can work if you take subject matter experts and get them training on how to be a trainer. Just because someone is good at their job does not mean they are good at training others for it; two totally different skill sets are involved. BJ
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