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Elevations CU’s Learning& Development Transformation

Elevations Credit Union joined elite companies across the globe after being ranked in Training magazine’s Training Top 125 in November. The Training Top 125 recognizes organizations with the most successful Learning and Development programs throughout the world and has been the premier learning industry awards program for 20 years.

Laura Finney

Now part of the Training Top 125, the Elevations Learning and Development team embarked on a transformation starting when I joined the team as Vice President – Learning & Development in July 2018. We shifted from a heavy instructor-led training organization with little to no content development to a blended learning organization with videos, eLearning micro-lessons and virtual instructor-led training options to better reach employees at all locations along Colorado’s Front Range.

Our Learning and Development team rapidly shifted from using training content that was fully paper-based, inconsistent, outdated and lengthy to a vastly improved and well-received blended learning model. This model is tied to performance and includes value-add eLearning and on-the-job training, which led to a 40% reduction in classroom time for member-facing retail roles.

While there were no metrics on the training program previously, we require all newly deployed trainings to include the Kirkpatrick Four-Level Training Evaluation Model, which is designed to objectively measure the effectiveness of training. Elevations implemented Levels 1 (reaction) and 2 (learning) data into all training programs, and Levels 3 (behavior) and 4 (results) for selected programs. We are now able to collect immediate feedback and data on content and facilitation opportunities, with a robust focus on continuous improvement.

Additionally, our team aligned our roadmap with the overall Elevations strategic and business plans in order to operate as strategic business partners. Here’s how we aligned with specific strategic initiatives:

Data Analytics

Our Learning and Development team overhauled the Learning Management System’s user groups, which allowed the Elevations Analytics team to pull data accurately. This ultimately provided the organization with ready access to critical information, improved analysis of performance and assisted with the ability to proactively predict members’ needs.

Previously, user groups were only set up by location. This proved very limiting when assigning mandatory training by role because Elevations’ branches have multiple roles at each location. For example, all staff at one location would be assigned all compliance training, whether truly required for their role or not.

The Learning and Development team partnered with multiple stakeholders, as well as IT and HR, to ensure the data feed from the Elevations workforce tool populated users into new groups. This allowed for the ability to assign learning plans with greater ease. Some users were in single groups, and some users fed to multiple groups.

Users now have properly assigned learning plans based on their specific roles. Plus, by using specific change management principles to ensure adoption, on-time completion rates in 2019 for targeted compliance trainings have increased by 32% in comparison to 2018. This ensures that vital training is completed and employees are not overburdened with training that isn’t necessary for their role.

Workplace Enablement

Additionally, our Learning and Development team provided support for Elevations’ major goal of Workplace Enablement by overhauling teller and lending training programs. Today, Elevations invests in both new hires and existing employees by incorporating eLearning and virtual courses to cut seat time nearly in half while increasing speed to competency. New employees are now better prepared and more knowledgeable in a reduced timeframe.

Elevations has also invested in new technology to further improve its programs. For example, our Learning and Development team now has a mobile training lab that’s complete with a full classroom set of 24 laptops. This allows us to take our training offerings to multiple locations and hold trainings in the most appropriate space, ensuring that members conducting business are not impacted.

Diversity & Inclusion

Elevationsis proud of our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiatives, which not only include instructor-led and web-based training, but also a dedicated team called the D&I Connection. The D&I Connection takes direct feedback from employees and incorporates that back into training.

Partnering with a consulting expert in D&I, our Learning & Development team created a robust program including an in-person, required class of approximately three hours. Our team coordinated a 25 participant per session schedule, accommodating the needs of branch and contact center locations and hours. This ensured that all Elevations employees attended over a three-week period in the first quarter of 2019.

Additionally, our Learning and Development team is slated to produce additional blended D&I training based not only on the existing content but also incorporating any additional findings from the D&I Connection. D&I trainings will be updated and deployed annually to all employees that previously attended the initial classroom training.

Final Thoughts

Financial institutions are faced with complex compliance and risk mitigation requirements that change frequently as the result of new technology and the regulatory landscape. At Elevations, our Learning and Development team’s data-driven learning strategy emphasizes proactively identifying training opportunities to improve performance and meet business needs. We monitor organization-wide data dashboards daily, looking for performance trends and monitoring items sensitive in nature to Elevations.

Shifting from a simply “training to train” attitude to a comprehensive learning and performance ecosystem allows our Learning & Development team to quickly identify areas of opportunity for targeted training intervention.

Elevations Credit Union is a member-owned not-for-profit financial institution serving Colorado’s Front Range. Elevations provides a broad portfolio of financial products and services including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto loans, mortgage loans, home equity loans, student loans, business banking and loans, and financial planning. Founded in 1953 as the U of C Federal Credit Union in Boulder, Elevations has grown from 12 members and less than $100 in assets to an institution with more than 140,000 members that manages more than $2 billion in assets and is the No. 1 credit union mortgage lender in Colorado. In 2014, Elevations earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In 2015 and 2016, Elevations was named one of the Best Companies to Work for in ColoradoTM. Readers of local newspapers name Elevations “Best Bank/Financial Institution,” “Best Mortgage Lender” and “Best Customer Service” year after year. To learn more, visit elevationscu.com.

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