CU’s Learning Culture Enhances Member Experience

Employee development efforts include job shadowing and a 'CEO of Your Career' initiative.

March 28, 2012

In October, $1.7 billion asset Summit Credit Union in Madison, Wis., received the American Society for Training & Development’s BEST Award, which honors exemplary staff education and development. Summit was one of only 32 organizations worldwide to win the award.

“A lot of our success comes down to the fact that Summit genuinely values its employees and recognizes [the importance of] growth and professional development,” says Kimberly Frederickson, assistant vice president of learning and development.

Some notable employee development efforts include job shadowing and a “CEO of Your Career” initiative. Through this program, employees may attend an event that showcases various credit union jobs and their requirements.

Participants then take a strengths assessment, form a personal board of directors (which includes their manager, a representative from the training and development department, and a human resources partner), and create a career plan.

Summit also plans to launch a crime scene investigation-themed risk-assessment educational program.

Continuous training is essential to employees’ competence and confidence, says Tracy Nelson, vice president of learning and organizational development. Otherwise, “it can take longer for new employees to get acclimated to their roles and to meet performance standards.”

Nelson says setting employees up for success “translates into a better member experience, as Summit employees are well prepared to advise and help members reach their financial goals.”

A strong learning culture also helps the credit union attract talented new employees, Frederickson adds. “And our employee retention is strong because we offer continual opportunities for learning and development.”

She says opportunities for professional development are particularly attractive to employees from Generation Y, who comprise most of Summit’s front-line staff.

“There’s a huge value to the organization to have a well-educated staff,” Frederickson says. “It supports growth as an organization because those employees are advocating for Summit.”

LIBBY VERTZis an intern in CUNA’s business-to-business publishing department. Contact her at 608-231-4096.