Implementing new technology starts by creating a deployment plan and a timeline that outlines major steps and benchmarks, credit union leaders say. Next, assemble a dedicated, cross-functional conversion team that has the expertise and time needed to succeed.
Create a flexible training schedule so all employees, including remote workers, receive proper training on the new system, Jasper says. Managers should start training six months prior to a core conversion and employees should begin training four months in advance, she says. This includes plenty of practice doing transactions before the go-live date.
Training remote employees takes extra effort. “We scheduled alternating days for employees to train in the office, being as socially distanced as possible,” says Barnes. “Other approaches included recording live trainings so employees can review them later and scheduling Webex meetings with screen sharing. Trainers can watch remote employees’ screens as they practice, and coach and teach in real time.”
For the best training results, Jasper says training should accommodate all learning styles.
“Everyone learns differently,” she says. “Visual learners need to see step-by-step instructions with in-depth examples. Auditory learners need to hear you describe the process and walk them through it.
Communication is the key.
“Kinesthetic learners need to physically move through each step until the process becomes ingrained,” Jasper continues. “And tactile learners commit the process to memory by doing it with you from start to finish, over and over again.”
At Mercer County Community Federal, the HR/training and operations manager supervised the training.
“She came up with a theme, decorated the training room, and had giveaways, refreshments, and snacks that coincided with a beach theme,” says Carangi. “Employees had specific days they were scheduled to be in the training room. When the employees entered the beach-themed training room, they were taken away from their normal job duties and spent the day at the beach. We even had ‘Sandy’ days at the beach for all employees named Sandy.”
Collaboration and teamwork include accepting input—both positive and negative—from employees.
“Employees are the end users of the new technology, so it is important to consider their needs in the product selection and implementation,” says Barnes. “They know their jobs better than we do, and their insights can lead to the development of a better solution.”
For smaller credit unions, a major challenge regarding tech implementation is limited IT personnel. Many small credit unions can’t afford to have a fully staffed IT department.
Like many other credit unions, Mercer County Community Federal relies on outside vendors to help manage IT services.
“Not having IT staff in-house limits the time our employees have access to IT experts who can immediately answer questions and help with any problems that arise,” Carangi says.