Internal culture and environment, and how central it is to training and how well an employer’s workforce functions, was the focus of recent remarks by James McKinney, Chief Operations Officer, Retirement Strategies, Inc.
An employer’s culture is about more than how it markets itself. “The culture has to be inside and out,” said McKinney. And that entails appreciating the importance of seemingly little things. “It’s not the big stuff, it’s the little things that happen day in and day out,” he remarked.
A culture of growth is very clearly aligned to a culture of learning, McKinney said. Foundational learning, he said, presents essential concepts — simple things, basics that can be shared. Among these are mission, vision, growth goals and opportunity; they also include concepts central to serving plans, such as knowledge of plan types, ERISA, qualified trusts, contributions and distributions.
That learning is not limited to a static venue, McKinney communicated. “I really like the classroom,” but “you will have to use a variety of ways to train and develop your staff,” he said. “Give staff a variety of options to learn and grow,” McKinney said.
An employer should remember to be flexible, as well. It’s hard to hold a class “when everyone’s stressed out” during heavy work periods and when staff must meet deadlines and deal with compliance-related activity, McKinney noted.
Remember the importance of the personal in training employees, McKinney suggested. “There’s a lot of value to the conversations we have with each other outside the classroom,” he said.
Mentoring is part of that, as well. It’s good to have someone that people can go to individually, McKinney said, adding that it’s important to “be cognizant of everything that comes along in day-to-day functions” in pursuing this effort. Similarly, he said, “Coaching is critical as you grow.”
And learning does not stop after initial lessons are complete, McKinney argued. “You’re going to have to constantly bring people back” to the fundamentals, he said, such as technical knowledge and ERISA.