Summit Credit Union in Madison, Wis., didn’t specifically target millennials when it introduced a new employee onboarding program in 2013.
But the $2.3 billion asset credit union certainly incorporated training concepts that appeal to young adults and set the table for long-term employment.
“A huge part of an effective plan for anyone—millennials, in particular—is to support employees and provide them a complete understanding of being part of a company’s culture,” says Nancy Kasten, Summit’s senior vice president of human resources and organizational development. “We show them where they fit in the big picture.”
Kasten says Summit accomplishes this goal through:
• Personalized training. The learning and organizational development department builds a unique training plan for every new employee, based on position, and communicates the plan electronically. Employees receive emails outlining courses to attend—internally and through CUNA Professional Development Online—along with calendar appointments.
“So you get a good feel of what’s coming up over the next three, six, even 12 months,” she says.
• Instant gratification. New employees spend the first week in training mode—but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting in a classroom for five straight days.
The credit union has a hard-and-fast limit of two days for all its courses, so new hires spend chunks of the week at their workstations and within their departments. “We want the learners to apply the skills they’ve acquired immediately, which ensures a higher rate of retention.”
• Blended learning. The training mixes face-to-face, Web-based, and multimedia delivery in an informal, comfortable atmosphere.
For example, new hires watch a video called “Cooking With Keith” in which CFO Keith Peterson explains basic financial metrics through a series of cooking analogies. And facilitator-led sessions are two-way discussions.
• Expressing values. Much of the initial training centers around Summit’s “common threads”—such as its strategic road map and focus areas—and “essential behaviors,” the etiquette and professional standards Summit employees practice. This is a plan “to immerse the new employee into the culture.”
• Star treatment. Every couple of months, new staff receive an invite to a day-long program called “new employee development.”
CEO Kim Sponem leads off the session, and gets to know the new hires through casual conversation. Throughout the day, other senior leaders show up to offer insights about themselves and the functions of their departments.