How Members 1st builds confident associates by taking a deep dive into data
At the onset of the pandemic, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, like so many other businesses, needed to reframe how they thought about training seemingly overnight.
Suddenly, they had frontline associates who had to get up to speed—fast—while working from home. They also had to ensure these same associates would be ready to perform when the doors of their branches reopened. No small feat for any business but Members 1st was able to leverage right-fit training and communications to continue to deliver stand-out service to its members.
During a session at AxoniCom LIVE 2021, Amy Wallace, Vice President of Learning and Development at Members 1st Federal Credit Union, shared how reimagining knowledge transfer helped leaders within the organization connect training to on-the-job behaviors—and how the data behind it made all the difference.
Make learning a habit, not a chore
Training is a necessity. But if employees had a clear understanding of what the value of those training programs represented to their own professional growth and development and were able to see how the programs impacted their confidence when speaking to customers, they just might look at learning differently.
About two years ago, Members 1st took a hard look at their existing training to see how employees were engaging with the content and how their participation in training was translating to skills on the job. The data showed that it was time to make a change, especially since Wallace and her team knew that maintaining high levels of engagement from home would take a bit of creativity.
“Put yourself in the shoes of your frontline workers, and really understand what will keep them engaged and coming back,” advises Wallace. “As we think about the way that we trained previously, we had robust classroom training, but understanding how that training translated to behaviors on the job was an area that we couldn’t pinpoint. So, wanting to be able to coach our associates and ensure that they had the knowledge that they needed, to exhibit the behaviors in the workplace, really led us to this perfect partnership with Axonify.”
Members 1st isn’t the only organization focused on upskilling employees as a way to boost confidence and bolster retention in a labor desert. In fact, 48% of employees surveyed for Wonolo’s 2022 Industry Report, “Voices of the Gig Economy”, cited “learning new skills” as the reason for leaving a current job or looking for more opportunities.
And we know this is the case among the frontline, with deskless workers looking for career pathing that puts them on a forward trajectory. Ensuring they get there requires a training strategy that’s focused on getting results.
For Members 1st, the secret to continuous employee engagement is giving them a training experience that forms a habit by capitalizing on both external and intrinsic motivations, while fitting into the flow of work.
They created something called The Axonify Cup, a friendly, internal-only competition held every three months for bragging rights among learners, which proved to be a big hit.
“We’re seeing sustained engagement over the other months because we’ve built the habit to get in and use the platform daily,” shares Wallace. “So, it’s just a neat way to ensure that our associates are having fun, but also getting in and doing daily training so that we have the data we need to coach.”
Take the guesswork out of coaching
It’s one thing to notice on-the-job improvements in your employees but having the data to show how training has led to associates doing the right thing for the business is another.
In the past, tying training program efficacy to business goals was a big struggle for the organization’s L&D leaders. Having access to training evaluation metrics lets senior leaders know—in real-time and at scale—how and where training is impacting the business beyond training course completion rates and test scores.
“Axonify has provided us with this incredible wealth of data that lets us know, not only what an associate’s confidence is, but what their knowledge level is with a topic, which has put us in this incredible space of coaching,” says Wallace. “Because when an associate is struggling to have conversations with a member, before we used to guess.”
With their new training strategy that helps to close the gap on learning measurement, Members 1st leaders can see where associates are having trouble in their interactions with customers and pinpoint exactly where they need extra reinforcement. It’s also helped the business identify coaching opportunities for the specific learners that need it— saving time and resources for the associates and teams that are already excelling.
“We all know, at the end of the day, our frontline workers are the bread and butter of what makes our organization successful,” says Wallace. “Allowing our frontline managers to have the data that they need, to have effective coaching conversations, and to get feedback on learning and development about programming, is worth its weight in gold.”