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08 April, 2022

In the banking sector, learning and development is a highly complex function that comes with a range of challenges, including technological disruption, tough market competition, massive workforces with varying learning needs, and strict compliance with regulatory training requirements. Each of these factors makes the ongoing activities in talent development a significant task to achieve.

This blog aims to outline a plan for creating a learning and development program designed to help talent development teams in the banking sector meet their objectives with minimal hassles.

Different Components of L&D Programs for Banking Professionals

Some of the key components of L&D programs for banking include:

a. Systems Training

This involves supporting the implementation of new systems through hands-on workshop training and in-depth manuals with detailed process flowcharts, step-by-step guides, and screenshots.

b. Technical Training

Technical training includes building different technical competencies for the wide spectrum of bank functions and roles through a detailed and comprehensive portfolio of workshops and e-learning courses.

c. Training Curricula

As the name suggests, creating training curricula involves the development of trainer programs, training kits, and course material required for the management of internal training academies in banks.

Essentials of Creating an L&D Plan for Banking Professionals

Here are some of the essentials required to create robust L&D programs for banking professionals:

a. Chunk-sized Multilingual Learning 

Microlearning is one of the easiest ways to overcome the challenges related to time constraints that the banking workforce typically faces. Bite-sized, easily digestible information nuggets can be used to keep knowledge workers abreast of the changing digital banking trends or market fluctuations.

For instance, new policies and schemes are regularly released in banks, so banks can keep their employees updated with such a bite-sized approach. Additionally, microlearning also helps cultivate a culture of continuous learning. It allows banking professionals to keep pace with new customer interaction tools and innovative technologies to serve clients more efficiently through bite-sized information chunks.  

Since banking and other financial institutions usually have branches spread across various cities, a well-crafted multilingual learning strategy combined with microlearning can be instrumental in retaining the attention and interest of employees. It allows them to quickly absorb more learning materials in less time and also take assessments in their preferred language.

b. Learning at Multiple Levels 

Rapidly evolving trends, technological advances, and regular updates on Government policies/regulations make it necessary for banks to consider building a robust yet scalable learning infrastructure. To enable this kind of skill-building, banks must create a perfect blend of immersive learning experiences and capacity building by dividing learning into two different levels:

  • Individual-level:

Individual-leve

The current skillsets of bank workers are quickly losing relevance due to rapidly changing conditions. However, banking employees across the board are expected to strike a balance between developing new skills and their day-to-day responsibilities. Encouraging individual self-paced learning can support this requirement and help banking employees expand beyond their current roles. 

  • Organizational level

Various regulatory requirements have made compliance training a must in banks. There are several modern learning solutions that banks can utilize to conduct live or classroom sessions to help their employees at different levels to understand, apply, and comply with such regulatory requirements.

With constantly changing policies, guidelines, and digital banking requirements, such classroom and live sessions allow banks to bring all the employees on one single platform and update them about the changes in one go. 

c. Social Learning to Enhance Collaboration

Social learning is another excellent way to collaborate and learn from peers, especially in the rapidly evolving and ever-changing banking industry. It allows banking professionals to easily share information, post queries, and start a discussion thread on a niche/specific topic.

For instance, if a new employee wants to know the latest FD interest rates before meeting a client, they can easily post the query on the social wall, and their colleagues/peers/ teammates/trainers can respond to it, encouraging social learning.

d. Involving Managers to Nurture the Culture 

Including managers in the flow of learning is another strategy that L&D teams can use to create a robust learning culture. Having regular assignments and assessments in a learning solution can help improve employee performance substantially.

Since most learning solutions integrate easily with different systems such as CRM or ERP, it becomes easy to fetch data such as the number of clients on board or the total number of calls made for personal loans to give a KPI score in a learning solution.

Further, managers can also identify high-performing employees through KPI-based coaching and offer real-time feedback to employees with low KPI scores.

Steps for Building an Effective L&D Strategy for Banking Professionals

Here are key steps for banking and financial institutions to craft an L&D strategy that is both effective and efficient:

  • Understand Your Unique Business Strategies

Similar to other corporate programs, the first and foremost thing that you need to do is understand your overall business goals and accordingly align your L&D strategy to those organizational-wide goals.

This gives a clear direction to both your L&D and HR teams tasked with creating learning and development programs for banking professionals about what types of upskilling/reskilling they'll require to bring in ROI with their L&D strategy. 

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  • Set Clear L&D and Training Goals

After understanding your business strategies, it's time to set clear and well-defined objectives for your employee L&D and training. It is important to remember that these objectives should be tied back to organizational development and be people-centric.

Also, make sure to make these goals objective, clear, trackable, and obtainable. Once done, share these goals with the employees to make it transparent as to what your L&D strategy is aimed at accomplishing.

  • Conduct a Detailed Skills Gap Analysis

Understanding the goals of your L&D strategy should be followed by conducting a skills gap analysis on the specific areas your L&D program will be focusing on.

This could be varied across business departments, and you may require to create different skill gap analyses. It will allow you to have a better understanding of the depth of L&D training required for different banking departments and individual employees and ensure that you are targeted in your approach to creating personalized learning experiences.

  • Design Contextual Learning Paths for Different Banking Roles

Once you are done with skills analysis, it is time to use this information to create contextual L&D experiences for different team members' ability levels.

At this stage, you need to incorporate various employee training methods as well as different multimodal learning formats such as audio, video, and interactive training content.

The idea is to repurpose L&D content into an interactive, in-app experience that gives your banking employees answers to their problems while in the flow of work.

  • Use Employee Development Plan Templates

The best part about employee learning and development plans is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel to make a good one. There are a variety of templates already available that can make your job easier. The two main types of employee development plan templates that you can use are:

  1. Individual employee development plan- It's best to use this template in the early stages of your organization's process as it helps employees reflect on their personal career goals and how they might align with the overall organization's goals.
  2. A succession planning template- This template helps your organization look towards the future to find areas in which the company needs to expand. It also helps figure out which resources are already present and if they need to be developed any further.

You can use these templates as a guide to help you customize both your employee growth plan and the plan for your company.

  • Fit the Learning Opportunity to the Training Program

Once you've decided to create a career development plan for your banking employees, you also need to make sure the type of employee training fits the task. Here, you need to consider different methods of delivery for different goals.

For example, when it comes to leadership training, it might focus on coaching, cross-training, mentorships, and job shadowing.

On the contrary, upskilling uses various tools to expand your employees' current skills and knowledge. These are the direct skills-based learning opportunities for which you can consider approaches such as on-the-job training, microlearning, augmented reality, and more.

  • Track Results and Make Use of Data to Inform Your Decisions

So you have spent enough time coming up with a robust employee development plan for your employees, but how will you evaluate if it's working? To do this, you need to take time to monitor the success of your efforts and make a detailed plan to come up with solutions to problematic areas.

To do this, you can meet your employees regularly, discuss how the plan is going, and get their feedback on what they would like to change or retain. The idea here is to identify the obstacles that make it hard to follow through, such as not having enough hours in the workday or getting waylaid by interruptions. Identify different ways to make training time available and more effective.

Key L&D Trends to Focus on for Banking Professionals

In this section, we will unpack some of the trends in the L&D space for banking professionals that we might see in the future:

  • Shift to Remote/Virtual Training

With virtual work becoming a new normal in today's pandemic-hit world, remote training for banking professionals is going to see a sharp upward trend in the future.

An increasing number of banking and financial organizations are exploring and adapting to the new communication tools and collaborative practices to train their employees that were not quite common before the pandemic.

Organizations must embrace this new virtual training approach that focuses on systematically reconstituting the content delivery approach and adjusting the standards for learning goals to effectuate a rise in virtual training investments.

  • Higher Emphasis on Social Learning Methods

Increased adoption of social learning methods is another key L&D trend that will be observed in the future.

Delivering effective and engaging learning experiences that amplify the overall success of an organization's learning strategy is crucial to a business's bottom line today. Deploying various social learning concepts and technologies as part of the banking professionals' learning mix will become a necessity in the future.

Contrary to the traditional learning models, social learning involves a real-life approach to learning and focuses on how employees interact with their peers for just-in-time learning and skill acquisition.

The future will see a lot of organizations embracing social learning methodologies throughout the remote working period, monitoring their progress/effectiveness, and adjusting their approach to L&D accordingly.

  • Enhanced Focus on Soft Skills Training

As technology is taking centre stage today in the banking domain, coupled with evolving business practices through automation and artificial intelligence (AI), the future will see the focus shifting on imparting soft skills like agile thinking, communication, and collaboration.

To develop these skills, banking professionals will require engagement in varied digital training experiences over an extended period to be able to learn and practice them.

In addition, there will be a continued focus on soft skills training in the future, and L&D professionals will be required to partake in comprehensive learning and development experiences to develop these critical skill sets.

To Conclude

The banking and financial services industry has faced unprecedented disruption over the past couple of years, with some significant implications for talent requirements in the future. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing banks to challenge the status quo and accelerate their moves, it has become imperative for talent leaders to push for changes such as providing employees with robust skilling/reskilling support and offering diverse career paths.

By creating powerful L&D programs and making continuing education options available (as mentioned above) you can ensure that your employees, no matter where they are in their career, can access the resources they require to make a positive impact and develop the skills necessary to do their job and grow their career.

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Damin Babu
Damin Babu
Damin Babu is the Senior Marketing Manager at iMocha. A passionate marketer, Damin handles the partner marketing initiatives at Interview Mocha. A stickler for detail, she believes in the power of content to amplify the voice of a brand. Her exposure to the martech landscape at MarTech Advisor and previous stint in a digital transformation-focussed publication, The Digital Enterprise has helped her gain a stronger grip on the exponential HR Tech ecosytem. An avid reader, she loves poring into fiction novels, traveling and chasing her hyperactive Labrador when she is not delving into customer challenges and understanding the HR tech and SaaS marketing ecosystem.

Topics: L&D

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