Take Control of Your Career Path

Take Control of Your Career Path

How Banks Can Uncover Internal Hidden Talent & Maximize Their Investment In Training Employees



In the next five to ten years, there will be many talented community bank leaders retiring. Most senior leaders in PACB member banks express concern about their ability to attract, retain and develop management-level talent and to identify talent within an organization that might be developed for future leadership roles. Boards are equally concerned about the make-up of their most senior leadership team. A review of proxy statements illuminates the number of potential bank CEOs and executive management retiring in the next several years. Are you one of those banks?

Let’s begin with where does your organization discover the talent to develop? It is a common misconception that when faced with finding future talent, the most successful path remains recruiting talent from the outside. However, we would like you to challenge that misconception.

First, historically, and particularly for management roles, leaders brought in from the outside fail to perform to expectations and fail to achieve their prior leadership success. Why?…It is due to the leader’s lack of knowledge and understanding of the bank’s culture. In our work with banks, we have regularly seen momentum lost on a promising outside leader. These outside recruited leaders simply could not transfer their prior success to a new organization.

Second, many supervisors and managers promoted from within often receive no formal leadership development training. I see this in working with managers that I coach across multiple industries of both national and international companies. While these individuals have proven to be a valuable asset for their organization, a significant knowledge and skills gap exists when confronted with leading teams and guiding the direction/strategy of departments within their organization. First time managers face additional pressures such as leading former peers and friends. These new managers must now serve as the driver for not only their own work and success, but also that of their team.

Your Hidden Valuable Internal Talent

How can banks identify individuals within who are capable of stepping into leadership roles and then provide them with training to be successful in those roles. For the purposes of this article, we will focus the attention on Millennials and Generation Y leaders.

The Millennials and Generation Y

Research performed by Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger Folkman, and contributor for Forbes Magazine, reviewed 17,000 worldwide leaders in their training programs who represented companies in virtually all sectors. Mr. Zenger found that the average age to receive formal leadership training was 42. More than half were between 36 and 49; fewer than 10% were under 30; and fewer than 5% were under 27. This means that in a typical organization, a supervisor functions for 9 years before they receive any formal leadership training. Zenger’s findings match the trend I see in the clients that I coach as well. He believes that most companies are waiting too long before offering Millennials and Generation Y leaders an opportunity for leadership development. I and PACB agree. I was fortunate to work with two organizations early in my career who developed young supervisors by providing leadership and management training. Ultimately, as research supports, it is not the technical skills that derail a leader, it is the soft skills; which are fundamental to management. If your bank supports the idea that employees can grow and progress if offered the training and opportunity to do so, it can create a culture that encourages employees to take charge of their career, own their ability to develop leadership skills at an earlier age and be equipped to flourish in roles which currently do and do not exist within organizations.

We all know the employees inside organizations who make critical contributions and have tremendous positive impact but have no direct reports and lack a formal management title. We call these employees unsung heroes. They excel in their current role, are not easily replaced, and yet are often overlooked for leadership development. In my work, I see talented employees who if approached by a leader regarding a potential management role, would with encouragement, take the opportunity. When I ask bankers about their first leadership experience, there is a commonality to the story. A leader within the organization saw their potential and encouraged them to apply, or simply placed them directly into a leadership role. Two groups of employees tend to fall into this category, individual contributors and women. According to the research cited by Jack Zenger above, at every level, women were rated better overall leaders than their male counterparts. Two of the traits where women outscored men to the highest degree – taking initiative and driving for results. In a world, where the war for talent will only increase, banks need to look within their walls to develop talent. With the right encouragement and training, most people when tapped for an opportunity will develop into extraordinary leaders.


Ensuring that the Use of Training is Beneficial for the Bank

Organizations continue to make a healthy investment in employee training, and employees are spending more time learning, finds Association for Talent Development (ATD)’s 2017 State of the Industry Report. Organizations spent $1,273 per employee in 2016 on direct learning expenditure, compared to $1,252 in 2015. Interestingly, the top three areas of training content were managerial and supervisory (14 %), mandatory and compliance training (11%), and processes, procedures, and business practices (10%). Developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workforce continues to be a priority for organizations yet, how do you ensure the use of training is beneficial for your bank?

Banks need to make certain that their investment in hours and dollars spent in training are wise. Your employees might have different perception and value of the investment than the bank’s leadership team. Employees view an investment in the ability to grow skills and knowledge to help performance in their current job and to position them for future leadership opportunities within the bank as a critical factor in the decision to remain at the organization. Some employees are willing to trade a more competitive salary offer for the opportunity to receive career-related knowledge and skill building training. Offering career-related skill building training significantly increases employee loyalty; thus, retention, and assists banks in creating a pipeline of talent to fill leadership roles now and in the future. The chance for on-going development signals to employees not only a commitment by the bank, but also serves as one of the top five factors consistently cited by employees as an important piece of their career experience. Further, we believe that community bank employees should be actively involved in their own training and responsible for planning and building their own career paths with support from the bank. Employees should utilize individual development plans to stand accountable for incorporating training and knowledge into current roles.

To ensure the return on investment from a bank’s perspective, NextGen“U”, resources to fast-track your career, a new, industry leading concept has been developed and will be ready this summer for roll-out at your bank. The leadership development program, offered by PACB, captures the best of both worlds; an online program featuring video-based training that simulates live, interactive instruction. The curriculum was designed to address all of the points and skill gaps described within this article. NextGen“U” is comprehensive; offering real-world, practical leadership and career success guidance with relevant tools and strategies to develop employees professional lives and put them on a path to greater impact in the bank and the community. Employees will have a guide to management, leadership, and career-pathing once they complete each of the NextGen“U” modules. Community bankers’ feedback from the program pilots has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve received comments such as:

“The curriculum of NEXTGen‘U’ is not only a beneficial program for your Bank’s future management team; it can also be helpful for your current management team.”

“We currently have a “Goal Setting and Career Planning” survey our employees may complete to inform supervisors of their short and long-term career goals. I believe NextGen‘U’ will assist our employees in achieving these goals. The tracks, along with the Bank’s mentoring program, will allow our employees to become the professionals we are looking to retain and promote.”

“PACB’s NextGen‘U’ is a great resource for community banks looking to build, grow and develop talent within their existing employee base. I am excited about the added soft skills classes and using them to enhance our in-house training programs.”

“As a small community bank, we often struggle with finding relevant material to enhance employee development. I believe that if we want to continue to attract and retain employees, we need to provide opportunities for them to become more engaged in their career growth and development. These modules can help us create those professional development opportunities. Engaged employees equal increased productivity.”

Community bankers can choose to take part in individual, or all of the fifteen available self-paced or instructor led online modules. The modules are grouped into Four Tracks:
1. Personal Development
2. Thought and Character
3. Connecting with Others, and
4. Community



To learn more or to see a demo module, please contact Barbara Holbert. PACB is extremely excited to offer NextGen“U” to increase membership value and provide community banks the tools, skills and techniques required to strengthen community banking’s most valuable resource…its future leaders.