Banking on Enterprise E-Learning: Part 5 in This Series Tells How PNC Bank Made the Most of Its Learning Management System to Up-Skill Employees through a Competence Manager Application. the Summary Follows

Article excerpt

"Leave the t-shirts for conferences," says Paul Dickerson, e-learning manager at PNC Bank.

When it comes to getting employees to the computer for training, a well-researched and well-planned communication marketing strategy and course listing are more powerful lures.

Which is why e-learning at PNC's Regional Community Bank--a division of a large, diversified financial-services company called PNC Financial Services Group, based in Pittsburgh--is in the process of implementing an application that shows employees the skills and classes they need to excel in at their current positions, as well as career planning activities. It's a competence manager application, and it is part of the bank's learning management system, a Pathlore product. Each job in the bank will eventually have a competency model that includes all courses that teach the skills required for a manager position.

"Workforce readiness is a strategic part of training and part of the bank's business strategy," says Dickerson. "Employees can look up their required skills and classes with their managers, find out the skills they need, and sign up for the classes that teach those skills. It also helps target training dollars. If there are competency gaps in certain areas, or if a business unit or individuals want certain competencies, we know to target those areas. It helps us know what we should offer."

Of the 24,000 employees at PNC Financial Services Group, 13,000 use the bank's LMS--11,000 from the Regional Community Bank (known to the public as PNC Bank) and 2000 from PNC'S mutual fund processing company, PFPC. RCB and PFPC are among the financial institution's five different lines of business.

The competence manager application is part of an overall strategy to leverage technology and improve training delivery and design. The bank began this effort four years ago when it was looking for ways to remake itself from a stagnating, albeit profitable, business into a growing, thriving entity. As part of that initiative, the CEO brought together a group of executives to find ways to leverage more ownership and pride among the workforce.

The executive team came up with a "leadership initiative," which sought to make all employees act more like leaders, give them more empowerment, and make them more receptive to customer needs. To make that happen, the team decided to invest heavily in upgrading technology throughout the Regional Community Bank, especially within the distribution system. A significant portion of the investment was to go towards a customer relations management system.

"So as to better serve the customers," says Dickerson, "the vision was 10,000 aligned leaders."

In the beginning

The technology improvement, dubbed the Genesis Project, was carried out in four phases; the final phase was rolled out this year. Each phase involved substantial investment in training and other improvements to enable workers to carry out their new roles. "We needed to figure out a way to provide skills and knowledge for the technology conversion, but we couldn't pull people out of production to have it done," says Robert Leininger, director of HR. At the time, Leininger was director of training for the RCB. The thinking was that the group needed to leverage technology and that it might involve an LMS."

At the time, transactions were processed through a mainframe network, which was about to be replaced with networked PCs and a browser-based CRM system that would connect 740 branches to the Internet. With the extension of browser-based technology to the branches, Leininger saw an opportunity to get training involved with the Genesis initiative. At the time, e-learning was limited to discrete departments and not available to all employees. Leininger proposed running connections from an LMS to all of the branch offices, thus extending e-learning to the employees who have the most frequent contact with customers. …