Why you should be taking a campaign-based approach to F&I learning
It’s one of the worst-kept secrets of workplace learning: people are built to forget. While most people implicitly know this by how little information they’re able to retain after completing onerous courses, they might not be aware that there’s a more effective, nimble approach to learning that borrows from an unlikely source—marketing.
It makes sense. Marketing campaigns make noise and raise awareness about a topic or product and ultimately inspire consumers to click, buy or perform some other desired behavior through a variety of methods and touchpoints. No successful marketer sends one email, rubs their hands together and waits for the accolades to roll in.
Workplace learning needs to be as agile, proactive and reactive to meet people where they are. This is true even in the incredibly regulated financial services industry, where there’s more pressure to get things right with people’s money hanging in the balance and compliance as an ever-present albatross. That’s where campaign-based learning comes in.
When you need to know a lot about a lot of things
During a recent episode of “In The Know”, Amy Wallace, VP of Learning and Development at Members 1st Federal Credit Union, joined host JD Dillon to share how moving associates from the classroom to campaign-based learning has helped to keep pace with so much change.
“The focus in financial services shifts and changes with the economy,” she offered. “So, it’s no shock that during the pandemic, here in the United States, we had an influx of cash for a lot of people, we had federal stimulus money. . . so people had lots of money on deposits and we needed to be able to have conversations with them about the best way to use that.”
“Now, we’re in an environment with inflation where it is and associates are helping those people prepare for their financial wellness. There’s just this space of needing to know a lot about a lot of things in a changing environment that creates an interesting dynamic in financial institutions.”
One way Wallace and her team at Members 1st approach this interesting dynamic is borrowing key marketing concepts to maximize access, reinforcement and measurement—and incorporating common microlearning principles that get results.
Want to know more about how learning campaigns keep F&I associates informed and engaged?
“Campaigns are really stolen from marketing,” explains Wallace. “In the same way, learning campaigns take these traditional classroom events that were braindumps, where you got all the information at one time and were expected to retain and apply that, and spread it out over a period of time, in the flow of work, [completed] around helping members or doing other things at the branch. It allows you to digest the contents the way humans truly process information. It is friendly to how we actually learn.”
Connecting training metrics to business outcomes
Wallace was keen to point out how, as an Axonify customer, Members 1st has the ability to personalize the solution and tailor the associate learning path to keep up with business goals. This proved especially helpful once the company identified recurring topics that required frequent refreshers.
“There are a set of regulations around ensuring that we don’t pass fraudulent cheques and we provide training on that,” says Wallace. “We’ve also built out Axonify Reinforce questions, and so after people take a module on it, we have these daily reinforcement questions that space out over time and they’re assessing both knowledge and confidence.”
Wallace shared that without fail, every April before tax day, branches are flooded with questions about IRAs—individual retirement accounts—and because there’s so many regulations around them, member education is a huge internal priority. With this awareness, the teams at Members 1st plan a learning campaign that gives their associates targeted training to refresh their subject matter expertise before anyone walks through the door. Staff are now prepped and ready to deliver up-to-date advice.
Of course, no training is worth delivering without the ability to track results and measure success against pre-set benchmarks. While Wallace acknowledges that annual F&I compliance training isn’t going away anytime soon, being able to have insight into which behaviors are being improved as part of a larger always-on learning system, and how associates actually apply the training, is invaluable.
“Across the organization, we have a live look at who’s highly knowledgeable on the topic of cheque fraud, but is underconfident—who doesn’t think they have the answers—which is good to know because we can coach to that,” says Wallace. “I think it really comes back to being laser-focused on what’s the behavior you’re trying to drive and what’s the business metric that you can use to measure that.”
“There’s this space of needing to know a lot about a lot of things in a changing environment that creates an interesting dynamic in financial institutions.”
-Amy Wallace, VP of Learning and Development at Members 1st Federal Credit Union
No two learning campaigns are alike
Building a customized learning campaign should focus on the associate knowledge you’re trying to impart or the business problem you’re trying to solve and take advantage of the flexibility that just isn’t there in a one-and-done classroom setting.
Especially exciting to Wallace is the ability to add various elements that speak directly to the topic and amplify engagement.
“The beauty of campaigns is that you can include anything you want! They can include everything from an infographic to get you thinking about the information to a short introduction video,” she says. “We leverage Axonify [and] have daily reinforcement questions that we use over time when a topic is presented, especially when there’s a change. So it’s not just about onboarding, it’s about reskilling, too.”
Financial services will continue to be a meticulous industry that requires not only solid knowledge about evolving practices and procedures but associates who can confidently apply that learning when interacting with members who’ve put their money and trust in someone else’s hands. It’s a relationship that requires a continuous and dedicated eye and a steady hand to smooth out the bumps in the road on the way to a satisfying experience for the customer, associate and, ultimately, the business.
P.S. If you’re looking to keep your finger on the pulse of buzzy conversations happening across the frontline, register now for the next episode of “In The Know.”