"Pass the Aspirin". (Community Banking)

ABA Banking Journal, June 2002 | Go to article overview

"Pass the Aspirin". (Community Banking)


If you have a management conundrum you's like input on, send it to Steve Cocheo, executive editor; e-mail: scocheo@sbpub.com; fax to 212-6331165; or mail to ABA Banking Journal, 345 Hudson St., New York, N.Y. 10014. Please note that the mention of a vendor name in "Pass the Aspirin" in no way implies its endorsement by either the banker answering the question nor by ABA Banking Journal.

THE HEADACHE

"What steps does your bank take to control employee training costs?"

THE REMEDY

Steve Goodenow. president and CEO, and Mary Kay Bates, senior vice-p resident, human resources, Bank Midwest, Minnesota-Iowa, N.A., Okoboji, Iowa.

Our $350 million-assets bank does business in both Minnesota and Iowa, with a total of seven offices spread between both states.

About a year ago, we hired a firm to survey our 120 employees and two issues that came up again and again were communication and lack of career advancement opportunities. As we examined our past hiring practices, we could see a pattern of going outside our organization for a majority of our hiring. Communication issues are more easily solved than career development issues. In order to give the issue of career development the proper attention, the proper strategy would need to be developed and implemented.

We had felt for some time that we needed a better approach to human resources issues--some kind of structure that would help coordinate our training and education efforts was warranted. One of the first steps was to hire Mary Kay Bates, a former employee who, among other things, had been in the training and human resources area for a large Iowa bank that had merged out of existence. Now, as a beginning, these issues had a definite home. Efforts have begun to better implement training, to devise ways to improve customer service skills, and to create a clear system of job descriptions. We have started to incorporate education and training issues into employee performance reviews for tracking and monitoring purposes.

Having these functions centralized has enabled the bank to better determine how to meet its needs. For instance, we have been putting more emphasis on "training the trainer." That is, instead of sending six or seven employees to an offsite workshop or seminar, we send one or two. …

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