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The Impact of Leadership on Successful Staff Development

By: Keith Hughey, Senior Consultant, JMFA

As regulations, emerging technology and changing member service expectations continue to impact the everyday responsibilities of credit union employees, maintaining a knowledgeable, well-trained staff is critical for achieving a competitive advantage. 

The commitment starts at the top

It takes more than just informing your employees about the latest seminar or online training to establish a learning culture. Organizational leaders serve as motivators for successful staff development by keeping a persistent focus on continuous employee improvement. But don’t just talk about the need to improve. Provide avenues for staff to get the training and knowledge they need to feel empowered to change the way they function. 

Involve employees in the solution 

And while you may have an opinion about what type of training is needed, take the time to   gather input from employees about what they believe they need to do their jobs more effectively. They will be much more willing to focus their time and attention on the training if you involve them in the process. 

Identify opportunities to meet employee needs 

To make sure training opportunities do not interfere with daily business responsibilities, schedule sessions at different times of the day so everyone can participate, (but do your best to avoid after hours and weekends). Also, remember that people learn in different ways – so while an online webinar might work fine for Millennials or tech-savvy employees, Baby Boomers may be more comfortable with on-site, in-person training options. 

Set consistent, equal expectations for all employees 

While there may be instances when select employees are offered specialized training – due to job responsibilities or an interest in advancement – learning opportunities should be provided for everyone. 

Set a good example

Your participation in training sessions will reinforce your commitment to improving the organization and building a true team environment. Plus, you just might learn something that will enlighten you as to the realities of the working conditions of those under your management.

Gather feedback to gauge training effectiveness 

Allow participants to rate the training and provide ideas on any improvements that might be made. Once you have received the feedback, take it seriously and make the necessary alterations to the training mode or materials to ensure that your enrichment initiatives are successful going forward. Also, make sure you have processes in place to support employees’ ability to implement what they have learned. 

The benefits of your efforts will abound

Depending on the type of training that is needed and the number of employees involved, effective staff development will come with additional expenses. But making this an on-going part of your employee enrichment and retention playbook is an investment in the future success of your organization that can lead to the following results:

  • employees who are empowered to stretch their abilities and reach their potential;
  • improved overall performance and member service;

  • reduced turnover; and

  • the creation of future credit union leaders.

In an ever-evolving industry, staff development opportunities can be key to energizing your employees and helping your credit union reach its strategic goals.

About JMFA

JMFA is a leading provider of profitability and performance-improvement consulting. Simply stated, JMFA’s programs and services are designed to increase income or reduce expenses.  JMFA is proud to be a preferred provider among many industry groups, including CUNA Strategic Services. To learn more about JMFA, please contact Jim Griffis, JMFA regional director at or (856) 449-2441.