I remember my first job as a bank teller 30 years ago. Banking at that time hadn’t changed significantly from even my parents’ generation except for the drive-through experience and ATM’s. I helped customers with many of the same basic transactions – making deposits, cashing checks, or withdrawing money.  Most of my customers had been banking with the same institution for many years, decades even.

To say that banking looks different today is quite an understatement. The transactions haven’t changed a lot but the landscape around them certainly has. It’s not just how transactions are handled today with digital platforms and mobile capabilities; it’s the growing competition for sharing and moving money with non-traditional banking channels like PayPal, Venmo, Facebook, and other nontraditional payment services.

As technology enables customers to complete more transactions on their own, when customers do interact with their bank, they have increasingly higher expectations around the advice and service they receive.

Let’s look at the “new” bank employee. How does he or she differ from the bank teller I was expected and trained to be 30 years ago?

This generation needs to possess skills vastly different than their predecessors from the 20th century. They need to know and understand the technical aspects of their jobs: product knowledge, relevant laws and the bank’s policies, while mastering sales and customer service skills, and be proficient in the systems used to do their jobs. How do banks and other institutions meet this talent need?

One obvious option would be to find and hire talent, however, 2020 has made this increasingly difficult. Not to mention the importance of continuing to maintain and leverage the institutional knowledge in the existing workforce.

This leaves financial institutions in a position where they must invest in reskilling and even upskilling their current workforce.

We have found that the ROI for businesses that get talent right is 2.5 times greater in the first year after a transformation.
“A strategic blueprint for making the most of banking talent” by Dana Maor, McKinsey’s Israel office

As banks take steps to ensure their teams are ready for today’s banking jobs, they should keep 3 things in mind:

1) Use a blended framework for learning that is delivered over time

The days of taking bank employees offline for a 3-5 day class at a training center are over. This “drinking from a fire hose” approach is expensive and has been found to be ineffective. Instead create a framework where learning is delivered over weeks (i.e. for a new system), over months (i.e. onboarding). Combine short self-paced modules with targeted live or virtual classroom experiences to allow employees to learn over-time and apply skills as they learn them.

2) Provide integrated, realistic learning experiences

While your learning framework will likely include experiences dedicated to specific products or processes, be sure to focus on learning that ties together the product, system and customer interaction skills. Provide realistic customer scenarios for structured practice. Offer coaching and feedback either one-on-one or in the classroom.

3) Create robust, easy-to-access performance support

Because banking jobs have become more technical, it’s important to provide accessible tools for your people to use on-the-job. If a Teller can’t remember the acceptable forms of identification for verifying a customer’s identity, she needs to be able to look-up that information quickly. If a banker doesn’t know what item to choose in a drop-down while opening an account, he needs to be able to get the answer without stopping to ask his neighbor. The performance support should be as seamless as possible to help make the customer experience seamless as well.

Our team at PDG has deep experience developing customized learning solutions for banks and other financial services organizations. We can partner to create upskilling and reskilling plans leveraging learning experiences that help drive the performance you need.

Performance Development Group

We founded PDG because we believe that people drive the success of the business and we wanted to drive the success of people. Getting better at your job should be exhilarating, so why is it so often painful? We started as a learning solutions provider, but we soon realized the world was bigger than that. Learning is one of the tools in the toolbox. That’s why we are dedicated to driving real, measurable business impact through focused performance solutions. As people continue to evolve how they work, we will stay focused on delivering innovation to organizations across the globe and delighting our clients every day.

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