First Florida Credit Union in Jacksonville has long been committed to creating a robust online hub of prerecorded trainings on its intranet to meet the needs of more than 200 employees at 16 far-flung branches.
After the coronavirus (COVID-19) hit, First Florida decided to offer only remote training, leading to soaring demand. Staff completed 150 courses in January, 200 in February, and more than 900 in March.
“The crisis simply sped up the process and amplified the need for the initiative to grow quickly to accommodate the new demands on our staff,” says Mark Stetzer, training manager at the $1 billion asset credit union.
Working hand-in-hand with leadership, from the CEO to branch managers, allows First Florida to make sure its online training is easy to access, interactive, timely, and enriching, Stetzer says. Leadership helps pick relevant topics for the two-person training team to develop into compelling educational content.
Current events also influence topics that are in demand. Electronic signatures, wiring funds, and telecommuting tips for have topped the list during the pandemic.
“We film trainings or provide live forums via GoToMeeting™,” Stetzer says. “For prerecorded segments, we edit them into digestible modules that we call Training Tutorial Videos, or TTVs.”
Communication is key to let staff know training is available for both required courses and professional growth, such as CUNA Professional Development Online (CPD Online) courses.
After every remote training, participants complete a survey that reveals whether they retained crucial information.
“It’s critical to implement a feedback system,” Stetzer says. “That has been a big part of our team’s success.”
First Florida’s training team also uses these best practices:
Stetzer also recommends meeting with the leadership team so it understands how remote trainings deliver tangible value.
“It’s critical now more than ever to ensure consistency of service and to encourage morale during the pandemic.”
Virtual training bridges the physical gap the COVID-19 pandemic created between credit union trainers and employees who need new skills, says Alicia Steindorf, CUNA’s director, online learning strategy.
Steindorf’s team develops CPD Online courses used by credit unions nationwide. She shares these virtual training tips:
• Blend training approaches. Use both synchronous training, where everyone learns the content together in a live event via videoconferencing, and asynchronous training, where self-directed participants learn by watching a video, reading, or taking an online course.
• Engage learners. Video, discussion, annotation tools, chat functions, and screen sharing can boost engagement.
• Use two-way video when possible to catch learners’ nonverbal cues.
• Keep sessions to 90 minutes or less. For every 90 minutes of training, offer at least a 15-minute break.
• Find free tools. Trainers can record videos on an iPad or smartphone, use Skype for Business to create a one-to-one link to walk an employee through a process, or upload content created by your credit union to a learning management system such as CPD Online.
Check with your information technology department to learn about tools the credit union already owns.
• Be empathetic. Remember, everyone is under stress.