Thursday, September 15, 2005

We Are Not Just Corporate Cheerleaders

Today I returned from a national conference for credit union trainers. I went to this conference for my own professional development but also to accept a national award, the Training Champion Award, presented by CUNA (Credit Union National Association). Although there are several award categories (we won first place last year for our internal university) this award is perhaps the most intriguing to me. It acknowledges management teams that demonstrate support for training initiatives at their respective credit unions.

We nominated our executive team for several reasons. Bill, our CEO, is chancellor of our university. He meets each new hire to talk about our mission and values and mentions how training is not just a benefit, but an expectation to help us achieve our vision of becoming one of the 10 best places to work. John, our Executive VP, works with the training department as a strategic partner by collaborating on our core system processes or by supporting training programs. (He also created and sang an awesome song for our university launch). Sherry, our Senior VP of Operations is a student in Verity University and a strong supporter of training. Shari, our VP of Marketing & Business Development, is a VU student and also a teacher—she just created and taught a Business Writing Skills class for all staff.

What I learned at this conference is that many other organizations do not have this support. Other individuals expressed frustration at being viewed as “just a trainer” or the “corporate cheerleader” or “not having respect at the executive table.” In a way, I can relate. I started at Verity just over three years ago and took on a relatively new and undeveloped function. We had some reputation building to do, too. Since that time, we have hired another trainer and our programs have gone through a metamorphosis from frontline systems and regulations to include leadership, sales, quality service, advanced system functions, communications, time management and one-on-one or department-specific programs. I think the key is to always strive for something better. To celebrate success, but never sit back and say, “good enough.” I think learning is an ongoing process that can often be enhanced, improved, updated, or recreated to be more dynamic, more engaging, or more effective.

I would like to have this amazing summary sentence right now that would leave you inspired to go read a book or want to sign up for a class at Verity (if you are an employee reading this blog) or maybe just stop and say out loud, “right on, sister!”…but…I guess I’ll just say that I’m excited to be back and get to work on the next program launch. I hope it makes a difference to someone at Verity.

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