Creating an effective training program isn’t for the faint of heart. Yet having an effective training program can reduce risk and increase production, revenue and retention. Perhaps more importantly for financial institutions, effective training can lead to increased regulatory compliance.
Developing an effective training program (or revitalizing an existing program) is a big endeavor. It’s critical that financial institutions take a strategic approach to determining the strengths and weaknesses of their program. The critical first step is conducting a Training Needs and Risk Assessment. Knowing how to identify the training needs of your institution is the foundation on which your program is built upon.
What is Considered “Effective” Training and Why Does it Matter?
An effective training program is one that enables team members to develop the needed skills in their job position. Training equips employees with the information needed to learn new skills as well as reinforce existing regulatory compliance procedures.
Not every employee has the same job description and training needs. The same applies to the needs of each unique institution. Each financial institution needs to identify its own internal needs to develop an effective training strategy.
Why is it important that your compliance training programs are effective?
Your people are your biggest and most important resource. Have you considered how many monetary losses could have been avoided had the employee received the proper training? Or how many customers would be handled more effectively with better communication skills?
The skills your employees need within your institution are rapidly changing. The financial services sector is one of the most highly regulated industries. With rapidly changing regulations and the acceleration of the digital transformation, your staff requires new skills to complete new tasks while ensuring compliance and great customer service.
Step by Step: How to Determine if Your Training Program is Effective
STEP 1: Analyze Your Overall Program
Look at your training program at a holistic level. Analyze what training formats are currently being offered. Do they meet the current needs of your learners?
During this step, you should also look at the root cause of losses and risks. Has your financial institution suffered any monetary losses within the last 12 months? How many of those could have been avoided with training?
Compliance is also an enormous part of your financial institution’s training curriculum. Did your institution have violations? How did it hurt your institution? Your compliance officer(s) can help identify areas needing improvement.
STEP 2: Analyze Your Specific Programs
Every department within your bank or credit union has unique training needs. Creating programs that are role-based provides employees with the education, tools and resources they need to not just do their job but perform it accurately.
During step two, identify role-based training programs currently in place. Then, analyze how you are assessing these skills. What parts of these programs are strong? Where are there areas of improvement or training gaps? Ask yourself and other department heads, “Have we received any customer complaints in these areas?” Often your customer complaints can help identify training gaps.
STEP 3: Summary – Where are you now? And where do you want to go?
Evaluate your compiled feedback to determine a baseline score for your overall training program. Determining a baseline gives you the data to measure your success over time.
Don’t forget to communicate with your departments and business lines to gather their feedback as well. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither are exemplary training programs. You don’t have to tackle everything all at once. Start with the area of greatest need and then begin to expand your efforts. By collaborating, you can focus your time and resources on the areas that need the most help.
STEP 4: Implement a Plan
Congratulations! The hard part is done! By this stage, you should have a clear understanding of where your training programs are doing well and where you can improve. Training programs are always evolving and changing.
Commit to revisiting this assessment quarterly, semi-annually or annually to ensure you are building a training program that is systematic and flexible. The baseline score you gave yourself in step 3 will help determine where you are improving and where you may need to pivot.
3 Tips and Reminders for Effective Training Programs
- Commit to reviewing, updating and revisiting your Training Needs and Risk Assessment at least once a year – ideally semi-annually or quarterly. Every curriculum needs constant review and introduction of new training, new experiences and new components. Committing to a review schedule will enable you to identify new training gaps sooner.
- Share your self-assessment with your compliance training provider. While only compliance consultants and regulators can provide compliance or legal advice, your training provider can point you in the direction of courses on topics you may have gaps on.
- Include your department heads in the process. Department heads will have a good pulse on their specific needs. Asking for their insight brings them into the process, gaining better alignment sooner in the process.
It can be overwhelming when developing training programs across your entire organization. By taking a thoughtful approach to assessing whether your training programs are effective will not only improve your employee’s experience – but it can also prove the worth of your training department within your organization. Effective training programs assess for risks and training gaps on a regular basis.
Training Needs and Risk Assessment
Financial services are one of the highest regulated sectors. With the turbulence of the current pandemic, rapidly changing regulations and the acceleration of digital transformation, employees must complete new tasks at high speed while ensuring compliance and excellent customer service.