Building the next generation of credit union leaders

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If credit unions want to develop the next generation of leaders, they will need to establish training methodologies that empower staff and provide them with the skills and knowledge to guide their institutions to long-term prosperity.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to establish a holistic training strategy that invests the necessary time and resources into teaching their employees. For example, a survey of 1,481 employed learners found that more than one-third “had received no training from their organizations in the previous 12 months.” Rather than utilizing training and continued learning opportunities, countless financial institutions are opting to hire workers who they believe already have the existing skills needed and don’t require additional career development. With the ever-changing market landscape, this approach is doomed to fail.

Credit unions can chart a different course that prioritizes setting the industry benchmark for training transformative leaders, ushering in sustainable growth and meeting its members dynamic needs.

Here’s how:

Understand your employees

To craft an optimal training program, credit union leaders should first have a foundational grasp of their employees’ skills, knowledge and learning styles. Whether you utilize Myers-Briggs or some other accredited assessment tool, be certain you have the requisite information and data to begin formulating an effective training program that fits your employees’ needs.

Create a learning-based culture

Credit unions should cultivate learning-based environments that foster and promote the creation, acquisition and transferring of knowledge. For example, employees ought to “feel safe disagreeing with others, asking naïve questions,…..[and] tak[ing] risks and explor[ing] the unknown.” This type of learning based-culture is critical to creating a daily routine of learning and improving your employees’ skillsets.

Avoid one-size-fits-all strategies

When financial institutions do implement a training program, many utilize “a one-size-fits-all strategy” that fails to account for the differing learning styles, skills and abilities of its employees. Consequently, these programs often have less than optimal results. Credit unions need to build adaptability into their training programs to allow for the variability of their employees. As the leader, you must tailor training strategies that aide your employees’ career development and help your credit union progress to meet member demands.

Rethink continued learning

A frequent issue that occurs in financial institutions is employees simply do not have the time in their week to be trained. According to a report by Bersin, “among the more than 700 organizations studied, the average employee had only 24 minutes a week for formal learning.” Additionally, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that only 52 percent of Americans “have adequate time for career development activities.” Clearly, organizations are not allotting enough time for their employees to learn or be trained. To ensure employees get the full benefit of learning opportunities, credit union leaders must be cognizant of workloads and schedules when instituting training sessions.

Embrace innovation

Technological innovations have mitigated many of the inherent challenges that prevent effective training from occurring. For example, massive open online courses offer employees the opportunity to learn at their own pace from top experts and thought leaders. Many of these courses are priced reasonably or are free of charge. There is no excuse for credit unions not to incorporate such innovations into their training strategies.

Prepare for technological shifts

With automation and blockchain perpetually increasing their presences, credit union employees should have a firm understanding of such emerging technologies and how they are shaping the future of the financial industry. Many organizations already are transforming their workforce to meet the technological changes that are happening. Credit unions need to follow suit and incorporate training on the newest technologies and how they can positively impact the institution.

By consistently implementing effective training strategies, credit unions will benefit from satisfied employees who want to contribute to their institutions’ goals and objectives. A 2018 LinkedIn survey of 4,000 global professionals found that “94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.” Both credit unions and employees alike thrive whenever trainings are designed to further skillsets and prepare for coming technological changes.

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Professional development Training Workforce management Workplace management Employee engagement Employee retention