John Jordan is the Head of the Academy at Bank of America, an award-winning employee development organization that trains around 40,000 people per year. As John puts it, The Academy is, “truly an environment where people can practice, where they can learn that goes beyond just the typical sort of learning environment into a really high-touch coaching environment and we’ve really seen great results so far.”
John has been with Bank of America for about 16 years in a wide variety of roles, all of which have prepared him to lead The Academy.
The Academy is used to onboard new employees, to support and train employees looking to move into a leadership position, to help employees enhance their current skills and more. They use a combination of web-based training and hands on practice. One example of training they have is a client engagement simulator that allows employees to practice using the online systems while having client conversations at the same time. This allows employees to get comfortable interacting with customers live on the phone before they officially step into their role.
Since starting The Academy, Bank of America has seen a lot of benefits from the program. Their turnover rate is the lowest it’s ever been and their client experience rating is the highest it’s ever been. John and his team understand the importance of investing in their people.
John says, “I’ve heard a stat that I’ve just sort of repeated over and over again, which is if you have a bad onboarding experience, you’re six times more likely to leave the company within the first year. We saw a pretty high turnover amongst people within our first year and it just became a question of, were they onboarded well? Were they trained to do the job well? Did they get good practice?”
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When you have great employee experience, you have people who want to stay at the organization a long time. And when you can have tenured employees who know what they are talking about and who can give great advice you get great customer experience.
One set of skills that The Academy is focused on teaching is soft skills such as empathy, problem solving, good communication, adaptability, creativity, etc…And John shares that they actually teach the basics such as how to give a proper handshake, make good eye contact, and how to hold a conversation.
“I think empathy is such an important skill in this day and age to really understand where the person sitting across the table is coming from. We have really put a lot of money where our mouth is on that front and through The Academy really invested in empathy. We feel like there’s a lot left to do there. I believe talking about technology of the future, things like virtual reality are going to maybe help us with that, to put us in someone else’s shoes or help us to see some of the challenges that our clients may be facing that we can’t necessarily know or see on a daily basis. Lots to learn there and I’m really excited about and hopeful for just continuing to build a more and more empathetic workforce.”
What You Will Learn In This Episode:
What is The Academy and how does it work
A look at how learning and development has evolved over the years
How the program is impacting turnover rates
How John and his team are leveraging AI for training
How leadership has evolved over the years inside of Bank of America
What skills will be needed for the future of work