Learn to Earn Progress: Forming our Game Plan

Since my video was posted over a month ago, I have been overwhelmed by the response from the credit union community as well as my local community. My main focus for the last two months has been finalizing our strategic plan so that we can present our project blueprint to our board. In addition to showing our board, I want our staff to be excited about the idea of Learn to Earn, but I must first convey to them how much time and planning went into creating the program. To do this, I am gathering input from our frontline staff to understand how they want to learn and develop. Gaining staff buy in is crucial to any new program, especially one that affects their ability to earn a higher wage. Most importantly, I don’t want them to think of this as another initiative that will come and go, but instead be a lasting legacy of our credit union.

At this point in the planning period, I am looking at ways to perfect the program through research and beta testing. Since the first of the year, we have seen over 75 new hires, transfers, and promotions within our credit union. So, when Human Resources and I aren’t ready to pull our hair out, I have an amazing opportunity to create and refine the course curriculum for the Learn to Earn program. We did not previously have a training position before I took on my role as of the first of the year, so much of my time has been spent putting together training programs for new tellers and member advisors. With so many training groups coming through, I have been able to test out different instruction techniques to see which method is the most conducive to learning for our new employees. I am also looking at curriculum that will help our staff learn how to problem solve and think critically. Instead of just focusing on skills training, I want to help our employees develop themselves. By the time I am able to implement Learn to Earn, my curriculum will be fine-tuned and ready to go!

In addition to beta testing, I am researching how our credit union can successfully transition to a learning organization. My go to resource is always Harvard Business Review because I feel like the journal provides me with insightful information that I can put into action. I also look forward to reading Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline. Since I started promoting my project, many people have recommended this book as a must read for anyone that is creating an organizational program that rewards and recognizes education. In addition to developing our employees, I am also looking closely at common errors and mistakes that employees make and trying to reveal the reason behind the issue. Specifically, I have been studying a concept developed by Chris Argyris, called double loop learning, where he talks about questioning not only the problem, but the factors leading to the problem. If we are being inefficient or unclear in our procedures, all of the development in the world will not help our employees be successful. Therefore, I am including this as part of my research and consider this an integral step in the process.

I am so excited about my project because it will empower our employees to feel confident and able to think critically. No other credit union has tied their employees’ compensation directly to education and I know that other organizations will be able to take the blueprint we are creating and run with it. As I continue on this path, I want to get the opportunity to share the rest of my journey with all of you.  Please join me on my quest to bring Learn to Earn to life!  #learntoearn

Colleen Tilton