Lindsay LaNore: A new spin on training

By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA

Professional development programs are vital to the health of a community bank, and the new year is a great time to revisit training opportunities. Before this year ends, take a close look at what your bank is doing to offer an employee experience that includes dynamic learning opportunities.

According to the 2019 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn Learning, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. However, the number one reason employees feel held back from learning is time. It is critical for managers to step forward, create the time and increase employee engagement with learning.

There is no one-size-fits-all training program. Your bank has the flexibility to enhance and enrich its own training program, so why not try some new ideas for the new year?

  • Make learning part of the culture. Set expectations that professional development is valued. You can even make it part of your annual review process to ensure that goals are adhered to.
  • Provide training in multiple ways. Offer training by peers or external experts, face to face or online. Everyone has different learning styles, so the wider range of options, the better. The on-demand nature of digital training can be a game changer. External resources can provide video support, or banks can take control themselves using tools such as GoToMeeting, Zoom or, which offer screen-sharing and recording functions. This gives employees an opportunity to access training when it works best for them.
  • Sometimes shorter is better. Instead of tackling the bank’s annual Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) training requirement in one staff meeting, consider breaking up the session by job function or business line. This allows the training to be specific to each employee’s role at the bank and provides for more meaningful understanding.
  • Focus on the practical. One component of effective training focuses on practical tasks, including physical or digital simulations, interactive animations and site visits. Use your bank as a training ground. Resurrect the concept of role-play during your training sessions.
  • Create a resource library. Create a digital or physical repository of information from the whole team for the whole team. Alternatively, buy 20 new business books each year and circulate them.
  • Let go of control. Self-directed learning can be empowering for employees. Give your team a wide-open calendar in which to complete their training or assign a specific training budget to each team member.
  • Remove distractions. Encourage employees to step away from their regular tasks and spend time in a dedicated training space. Make it appealing.
  • Get outside. If you have limited space, leave the bank. Visit a coffee shop or a community center. Sometimes a change in scenery may be exactly what’s needed.

  • Lindsay LaNore ( is group executive vice president of Community Banker University