An Effective Process for Training New Team Members

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“Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin’s quote has much truth to it, but in my experience training staff both at my organization and at credit unions, it’s a combination of teaching and involvement that gets the best results. And having the right tools and using different delivery methods is important for the training and retention of new material. So what steps are required to train new credit union staff in the most effective way? Let’s take a look!

Start with the fundamentals

You’ve just hired a new teller. Where should their training begin? Start with the most basics of basics: understanding the credit union industry and its cooperative principles. Many new tellers may be new to the industry. It’s essential the new employee be familiar with the mission of credit unions and how they operate with those principles in mind. You may already have internal materials, if not there are many online resources available.

Online classes for job specific duties

Once they have a good understanding of what makes a credit union a credit union, move on to assigning online classes to learn about their new position. These classes should teach a combination of the core software they will be using as well as soft skills (telephone etiquette, great member service, etc.). Once the classes assigned have been taken, follow up with tests if necessary to confirm retention.

When the tests have been successfully completed (I would require 80% to pass), it is time to introduce the new team member to the resources available to them to answer members’ questions at their fingertips. Resources would include online documentation, online help resources for the core system, as well as any credit union specific resources as it relates to policy and products. Other resources can also be from other vendors they need to have working knowledge of.

Hands on, but low risk practice

What’s next? Let them loose on the software and begin serving members? Not quite yet, they still have some learning to do. Online courses and other knowledge-based resources are great, but they have not had practical exposure to the actual software. Best practices would be to get them using a training environment on the core software to begin practicing what they have learned from the online classes and documentation.

Some software providers simply offer a generic training environment, while others offer a custom environment which is a copy of the credit union’s data. A custom environment is the best way to go, as staff get to work with the actual products and services that their credit union offers versus a generic library that does not mimic their products and services.

The new employee is practicing in a training environment while using workbooks that take them step-by-step them through activities and transactions while incorporating all the resources they were previously introduced to. This is a great opportunity for your new tellers to get hands on experience prior to them waiting on actual members.

Continuing education after getting thrown in the mix

Your new teller has started and is doing great. What’s next? Continue to check out what courses your core processor has to offer. These days most courses are offered via web conference or classroom to accommodate for your location and preference. Consistently follow up with your team members after their training to see what’s been difficult for them and answer any questions they may have. The easy practice is to stop your learning after you think you’ve become an expert. But tech and times are always changing–stay an expert by staying sharp.

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