President’s Day staff training: Did it stick?

Each year, credit unions use the President’s Day financial services holiday to provide staff training. Even if your training was virtual this year, calculating the cost of this type of training day goes far beyond the hard costs of guest speakers and producing the event. The one-day salary of each of your employees adds up to a lot of eggs in this proverbial basket. If you hold this type of training event, how do you ensure that the concepts your team is learning truly stick? 

To be considered “sticky,” an idea must be understood, remembered, and change behavior. While it would be fantastic if we all remembered every piece of information delivered over the course of a 6-hour day of training and then acted on it, that’s just not realistic. In fact, research done in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus and replicated in 2015 by Jaap Murre and Joeri Dros has proven that we forget 75% of what we’ve learned within the first day. 



Does that mean that we’re doomed to forget most of what we learn and that training days are a waste of resources? On the contrary, the benefits of a full day spent together go far beyond the lessons taught. That said, there are four ways to ensure what your team learned will stick with them and result in the desired behavior change. 

Start by prioritizing the day’s content to determine the core message you wanted your staff to take away. Some concepts are more critical than others – it’s your job to make the determination between what is “nice to know” versus “need to know” information from the day. Then weave in these four elements:

  1. Identify the Relevancy
    Despite our best intentions, sometimes our team doesn’t grasp how our messaging and our goals relate to their position at the credit union. It’s up to the leadership to point people in the right direction. That means anyone at the credit union who has made the connection between the content and their daily activities should share that connection with others. If you’re not sure if the connection was made, ask a few questions:

    1. What was one thing you took away from the training?
    2. How do you think that applies to your role at the credit union?
    3. What new skills will you use in your role? 
    4. What can I do to help you succeed with your new skills?

If the person you’re talking to struggles, help draw the connections and relevancy with them – don’t do it for them.

  1. Share Success Stories
    During your weekly team meetings, ask team members to recount a time during the previous week where they experienced success or encountered challenges practicing new behaviors that were experienced during the training. This gives you the opportunity to review the core content and reinforce the relevance to their position at the credit union. It also helps the entire team learn from other’s experiences.Stories are mini simulations – they teach people how to act, even if the experience wasn’t theirs directly. Firefighters naturally swap stories after every fire and by doing so they multiply their experience. After years of hearing stories, they have a richer, more complete mental catalog of critical situations they might confront during a fire – and the appropriate responses to those situations.By visualizing and mentally rehearsing a situation through someone else’s story, it helps us perform better when we encounter that situation with a member or co-worker. Hearing stories acts like our own personal flight simulator, helping us to respond more quickly and effectively. By sharing “here’s what I did in this situation,” it helps others to think and plan for what they would do.
  2. Model the New Behaviors
    Employees follow a leader’s example. If their leader isn’t using the best practices – why should they? Consider what happens when you’re learning another language. It’s easier when you can practice it and use the new vocabulary daily. It’s much more of a struggle to learn a language alone than it is to practice it with someone else – even if you both make mistakes along the way.Consider what you learned during your all-staff training day as a new language or new skills. The benefit of learning as a full team is that you all have a level playing field as a starting point. If one person excels, let them become a team coach to reinforce the content. Which brings us to our next point…
  3. Praise Early and Often
    When you observe employees using skills and information from the training, praise them for their behavior. Remember the old adage, “Praise in public, correct in private?” (Catherine the Great said it in the 18th Century, then Vince Lombardi said it again a bit more recently so it must be true.) Whether it’s verbal praise, a nod and a smile, or a shout out on the credit union intranet, reinforcing the desired practices is a sure way to get staff to use them again. Plus, it also shows others what the desired behavior looks like and what good things can come from using what they’ve learned.

It’s not too late to review the core message from your all staff training day to refresh the learning. In fact, creating a coordinated message across internal communication channels reminding staff of your amazing day together will reset the learning curve so you can move forward and enjoy your team success. 

If you’re in the need of staff workshops, employee engagement, management motivation, or financial counseling education reach out to the team at CU Difference. Our combined experience in the credit union movement will help you and your team recognize, develop, and use the credit union difference to optimize the member experience, create an engaging staff experience, and build coaching confidence.

Angela Prestil

Angela Prestil

As Senior Consultant for CU Difference, Angela brings a distinct specialty set in the critical areas of employee engagement, leadership development, and member loyalty strategies. She has helped hundreds of ... Web: Details