Team members working together.
Investing in employee advancement is a crucial component to the growth of most businesses. At The Bancorp, we are dedicated to providing employees with resources to grow and thrive in an open, collaborative, and inclusive environment.

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To help facilitate connecting employees with the right resources, The Bancorp has a dedicated team committed to surveying and researching the needs of our employees and creating tailored experiences that foster employee growth. In this blog, Maria Mejia, AVP, Learning Experience Designer, covers some of the questions you may have about our Learning & Development team at The Bancorp:

What is Learning & Development?

Learning & Development (L&D) is about empowering human performance and doing so in a way that supports critical business priorities. As L&D professionals, we have the distinct privilege of working with individuals and teams to expand their skills and unlock their potential. We often work with people while navigating change, which can be anything from working toward a goal or overcoming barriers to success.

Our work spans four areas:

  • Designing training programs that attract and retain talent
  • Creating self-directed learning opportunities that motivate and engage employees to develop new skills
  • Developing people capabilities that align with business strategy
  • Promoting a values-based culture that rewards lifelong learning

Today's learners absorb information constantly, so we cater to the way employees process information. To that end, we also focus on providing opportunities for consistent practice to help employees recall and apply their newfound knowledge.

Why is Learning & Development important?

Well-designed training can positively impact an organization’s culture and the bottom line. In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, the ability to innovate is critical to success. The organizations that do this best are those with a strong learning culture. The Bancorp recognizes learning isn't a one-time event. We design our programs to create continuous learners. Why? Research shows that ongoing development helps employees build the ability to challenge and test new ideas.¹ These attributes are vital to problem-solving, spotting new opportunities, and developing new products. Companies risk stagnation when they fail to encourage employees to seek out new knowledge and skills.

In what ways can development opportunities empower employees?

Employees are in the driver's seat when it comes to their professional development. Most of our programs are self-directed and anyone can access training that aligns with their needs anytime.

Our Take8 program supports individuals during their Career Discussions and Performance Appraisal processes. Take8 encourages employees to complete at least 8 hours of non-assigned professional development every year. We're not asking employees to do anything extra—many are already involved in other development activities. We're simply offering recognition for this work and creating a culture of appreciation. Learning is something to be celebrated. The Bancorp rewards credit for various learning experiences like webinars and podcasts, technical boot camps, academic coursework, virtual conferences, and online classes.

Similarly, our self-directed leadership development program—called L.E.A.D.—is designed with managers and directors in mind. L.E.A.D. stands for Learn, Engage, Aspire and Develop. The program doesn't have a finite beginning or end date, and participants take part at their own pace. They can earn digital badges for specific types of activities that certify expertise in a given area. These rewards mirror the core knowledge domains emphasized in the program: Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Influencing, and Executing.

What makes L&D programs effective?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. At the start of every project, we undergo a discovery process that helps us identify pain points. We define our target audience, uncover knowledge or performance skill gaps. We work with the stakeholders on desired outcomes and how we'll measure the program’s effectiveness. Research instruments such as interviews and surveys help assess results and we also examine other empirical evidence to support knowledge acquisition. Feedback is also important to creating effective programs; our executive steering committee shares their comments to help refine and expand our offerings.

What are ways to get employees excited about L&D?

Learning is a two-way street at The Bancorp. In fact, our organization has been recognized as a Champion of Learning by the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Employees are strongly encouraged to get involved with Employee Learning Week (ELW), an annual week-long event sponsored by L&D. Most ELW sessions are led by employees and designed to expand and develop professional and personal skills. We want to highlight the talent our employees bring to The Bancorp community!

The Bancorp recognizes every career path is unique, and our programs are designed to help employees achieve their goals. We also promote self-development because this model of workplace education provides the most flexibility. Employees can create and structure their ongoing development plan on their own schedule.

Every employee has free access to LinkedIn Learning, an online educational platform. With LinkedIn Learning, employees can access thousands of expert-led videos covering business, technology-related, and creative skills. The Bancorp also maintains an active partnership with the American Bankers Association (ABA), and employees can access courses on various topics on-demand and anywhere. Both services feature offerings that help employees fulfill their continuing education unit (CEU) or professional education (CPE) requirements. No approvals are required to participate.

At The Bancorp, our call to action is this: Commit to discovering something new every day. Learning is everywhere—in a course, podcast, article, or video. Share your experience with your team and exhibit the changes you want to see. Make suggestions. Roughly 80% of employees value receiving personalized recommendations from their managers based on career goals and skill gaps². Acknowledge and reward the behavior you want to be repeated!

1. Van, D. N., & Masie, E. (2018). Elevating: Learning & Development: Insights and practical guidance from the field John Coleman, “Lifelong learning is good for your health, your wallet, and your social life,” Harvard Business Review, hbr.org, February 7, 2017
2. 2020 Workplace Learning Report, LinkedIn, 2020