A 13-year run at one of the largest credit unions in the world. It was the ride of my life.
With the help of a great team of trainers like Linnea Evans, Suzanne Collins, Tom Headington, Stephanie Horvath, Wanda Henderson, and Marti Harrell - along with a small army of internal Subject Matter Experts and under the brilliant guidance of the legendary Jenny Budreau - I had the honor of helping build FORUM's entire organizational development structure from scratch. Some highlights include:
Revolutionizing the onboarding process for new employees: When I started at FORUM in 1998 (known as Indiana Telco at that time), training for new branch employees consisted of several hours of HR paperwork, about two hours of cramming basic teller system info, then it was out to the branch or department. 14 years later, new branch teammates enjoyed three full weeks of intense training under the constant guidance of experienced trainers and specially-trained branch staff. And that was only the beginning.
A tough and rewarding path of ongoing development: An experience-based 18-month training plan was created for every branch teammate that combined training classes, real-world experience, and intense quarterly in-person assessments. Designed to take a new employee from basic skills to being able to essentially run an entire branch by themselves in under 18 months, it wasn't easy. Front-line financial services jobs aren't supposed to be. But along that path came the confidence, credibility, and proven expertise to make a member's financial dreams come true for every branch employee who completed it.
Forging incredible and soon-to-be-incredible leaders: Leadership development at FORUM was often a three-letter word like FFL (FORUM Future Leaders), MIT (Manager in Training), and LET (Leader Effectiveness Training). Emerging leaders in FFL and MIT completed a rigorous 12-month training program centered not just on learning management and leadership techniques, but how to apply them on the job, fail forward fast, and earn the trust of the teams they eventually led. Half of the employees who completed FFL and/or MIT went on to successful leadership roles at FORUM. And every leader - either in title or behavior - spoke the LET language and used the LET skills to solve the right problems and lead courageously.
Embracing the power of media: FORUM was one of the first credit unions in the country to invest in internally-produced audio and video packages as a means to supplement and reinforce sales, service, and leadership expectations. A bi-weekly webinar called FORUM News Network, along with over 100 short video clips like the ones above, were produced over a 5-year span to transform and support FORUM's award-winning culture.
$700 million in asset growth in 10 years. Turnover slashed in half. Over 1,000 hours of new training and development programs - 95% of which were created internally. Best Places to Work in Indiana awards in 2008 and 2012. Top Place to Work recognition from The Indianapolis Star in 2010. Two Top 125 national awards from Training Magazine. One national honor for overall training excellence from the American Society of Training and Development. Becoming a benchmark for excellence in credit union training.
It led to some mind-blowing individual honors. The national Training Professional of the Year from the Credit Union National Association. Listed as one of the Top Trainers in the World under the age of 40 by Training Magazine. Earning the Senior Professional of Human Resources certification from the Society for Human Resources Management. Writing for, and being featured in, CUES, CU Water Cooler, CU Broadcast, CUinsight (starting July 2012), The Good Men Project, and others. Speaking at over 40 local, regional, and national events in the last 10 years, including both the ASTD and SHRM national conventions, the largest training- and HR-related events in the world (and rated one of the 10 best speakers at the SHRM shindig).