ASB Bank – Financial Advisor Legislation
New financial advisor legislation training means reading pages and pages of legislative jargon and regulations doesn’t it? Not when Kineo Pacific instructional designers teamed up with three banks in New Zealand to meet the challenge of training hundreds of staff to understand the impact of these changes on their roles, processes and ways of working with customers. We are really pleased with the result – making even financial legislative training interesting and engaging.
How Australasian banks have used e-learning to address critical business changes
New financial advisor regulations came into force this year in New Zealand resulting in the need for financial institutions to address the training needs of all staff. Why all staff? Because, it’s not just financial advisors knowing what they must do, but all staff knowing the new boundaries and what they must not do in respect of giving financial advice. Kineo Pacific assisted three major Australasian banks to undertake this change; one of these banks was ASB Bank.
It took a while for the new legislation to be finalised and released – so while it seemed that there was a reasonable lead time, addressing the detailed learning needs of all staff before the deadline of July 2011 was always going to be a challenge. Each of these banks has been innovative in how they have addressed the training challenge. They chose to use a blend of e-learning with face-to-face training and in some cases quick reference guides to facilitate the distribution of new knowledge and skills. E-learning was the perfect answer to distributing new learning modules to a wide variety of staff, nationally and within a short time period. There was simply no way that armies of trainers could have gone out and facilitated these changes in time and for a reasonable cost.
Making it real…
We take our hats off to financial policy analysts and legal departments who sift through Acts of Parliament and regulations to ensure that business practices are adhering to ‘the rules’. It’s a detailed job and someone has to do it! However, when it comes to explaining what the legislation means to someone’s day-to-day job, then the art of the instructional designer comes into play.
Our instructional designers (as well as doing their own homework about the legislation) worked with the business experts in each of the banks to understand the impact of the changes; what that meant for processes and job roles and then helped to define the key outcomes and performance expectations.
Taking a subject like new legislation and regulations to a wide variety of staff may sound a bit daunting, but we take the view that you have to put yourself in the shoes of the learner and think about what it means for them. This is when the creativity kicked in! There were in fact many different types of outcomes to cover: new concepts, differentiating service types, new processes, decision-making, and more! We thought carefully about a mixture of graphical and text interactions to get over new concepts because legislative subject matter can often be very wordy indeed. It was important to help learners recognise what they could now offer in their job role, as well as supporting them to practise making the correct decisions for specific customer needs. The ideal approach seemed to be building up the new concepts until finally challenging the learner in the types of real situations they might encounter. ASB Bank also chose to use audio explanations to support on-screen text and graphics to vary the mode of delivery.
More than just content…
We can’t ignore the fact that when change happens, it is never about ‘reading the manual’. Changing our practice means changing our behaviour as well. The use of online situations and scenarios helps us to build in the emotive side of learning; facing the consequences of not making the correct decisions is always a powerful strategy. After all, for the three banks who took this change very seriously, not getting it right has serious financial and reputational consequences.
Working with the three banks on this initiative also meant that they could benefit from our growing knowledge of the regulatory concepts and reusability of the instructional design approach, even though some of the detail of the modules would be different for each organisation.
Hundreds of banking staff in all three banks across New Zealand were ready to go by the time new legislation came into force! Online modules helped to get the key changes and new concepts across – with short online scenarios helping staff to test their understanding of the situations they would face on a daily basis. A blended approach proved to be the most cost-effective way of handling the large volumes of training over the short time period before the new regulations came into force.