Bedford Falls Community Bank once had a stellar reputation for providing the highest level of customer service. That was until last year when five medium-sized regional banks merged to create Bedford Falls Bancorp

Human Resource Development and Training

One of the roles an I/O psychologist is often asked to fill involves training program evaluation or creation. Consultants Ann Thomas and Juan Olivera, Owners of T&O; Consulting, were hired to evaluate problems at the First National Bank of Bedford Falls. They will both interview three employees on a number of issues related to training and development.
• View the First National Bank of Bedford Falls video case study, which details the training and development issues at the First National Bank of Bedford Falls.
Put yourself in the position of an I/O psychologist who has been asked to assist Ann and Juan with the evaluation of the training program. Propose evidence-based recommendations to improve the training program and to measure its outcomes. In your discussion, using courseroom resources and supplemental library searches of peer-reviewed literature, address the following items:
• Evaluate the current bank training procedures. What areas of concern do you see? How systemic are the problems? Does the bank have evidence-based methods in place for training and development?
• Propose an evidence-based design for a training and development program that could be presented to the bank. How will this proposed design measure the outcomes? Ensure that the proposed training design and evaluation are measurable. Discuss how it will address the existing problems in the bank.
Case Study
First National Bank of Bedford Falls
Bedford Falls Community Bank once had a stellar reputation for providing the highest level of customer service. That was until last year when five medium-sized regional banks merged to create Bedford Falls Bancorp. The intent of the merger was to improve income from services, and achieve higher productivity all while maintaining their status as “the friendliest bank in town.” Unfortunately, none of those goals have been met. Productivity is down, employee morale is at an all-time low, and customer complaints are on the rise.
Ann Thomas and Juan Olivera, partners in T & O Consulting, a private firm that specializes in retail bank services, have been hired by the corporate office to make recommendations for improving efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
Today, Ann and Juan are interviewing Bedford Falls Bank employees to gain a better understanding of the problems at hand.
Scene 1: The Bank Manager’s Office
Judy Schram, the bank manager, sends an email to her employees about the impending visit of the T & O Consulting Firm:
From: Judy Schram.
Sent: Monday 8:00AM.
To:Kwan Yang and Stan Montgomery.
Subject: Interview with T & O Consulting.
As you know, Bedford Falls Bancorp has hired T & O Consulting Firm to evaluate and make recommendations about our training and development process. The two HR consultants are Ann Thomas and Juan Olivera. They will be arriving at noon to conduct 1:1 interviews with you both. Please make them feel welcome.
Thank you for volunteering to be interviewed. I encourage you to speak freely during your interviews and discuss any issues or problems you believe need attention.
Thanks, Judy

Judy Schram sends an email to the consultants giving details about the interviewees:
From: Judy Schram
Sent: Friday 2:00PM
To: T & O Consulting
Subject: Employee Interviews
Greetings Ann and Juan,
Two employees, Kwan Yang and Stan Montgomery have agreed to be interviewed for your evaluation on Monday. Here’s some background information on each of them:
Kwan is a teller who joined Bedford Falls six months ago. This is Kwan’s first full-time job. She also attends college at night and on weekends. Kwan is working towards a degree in business and marketing. She’s a hard worker but sometimes appears quite stressed. We’ve had a couple of customers complain about her attitude.
Stan is our teller supervisor. He manages all the tellers, including Kwan, as well as the administrative team. Stan has been with Bedford Falls for five years. He started here as a teller and has worked his way up to his current position. Stan’s tells me he has been overwhelmed with work since the merger. He’s a good employee and I would hate to lose him.
After you meet with Kwan and Stan, please stop by my office. I anticipate you may have some questions for me after you completed the interviews.
Best, Judy
Scene 2: Interview with Kwan Yang
Ann:
Good afternoon, Kwan. My name is Ann and this is my partner Juan. Thanks for agreeing to meet with us today.
Kwan:
No problem.
Juan:
We’d like to ask you some questions about your training and development experiences at Bedford Falls.
Kwan:
(laughing) What training?
Ann:
Do you feel you received adequate training when you started here?
Kwan:
No, not at all. We got this giant training binder that’s about 3 inches thick. We were told to take it home and read it. Since the merger, they keep giving us more stuff to put in the binder. I have a hard time explaining things to customers because I don’t understand a lot of myself!
Juan:
So you were given information to take home and study. Was there any other training you received as a new employee?
Kwan:
When I started we had this half-day training class on banking procedures, and policies. That’s when we got the binders. I’m in school right now so I really don’t have time to study all this after work. I don’t get it. Why can’t I train for my job while I’m here?
Juan:
What about ongoing training?
Kwan:
We have these hour long training meetings at the beginning of the month. But there’s no time to address all the issues that come up. Stan, my supervisor, asks questions about different products and gives candy to participants who give the right answers. It’s ridiculous. He treats us like children!
Ann:
Kwan, if you could change new employee training, what would you do?
Kwan:
Well, I’ve thought about my accounting class. There, we work on things in class; then we study and then work on the computer. There’s a structure to what we do-it’s not a free-for-all. I’d like to learn the material and then practice on the computer and then get feedback from someone. It would be nice to be able to practice using the software.
Juan: Are your co-workers helpful to you when you have questions?
Kwan:
Everybody is so busy and when they do respond, I get the short answer. It’s frustrating to always have to ask for help. Sometimes, when I get an answer from co-worker and then tell the customer, after the customer leaves, my co-worker tells me that I explained it wrong!
Ann:
How comfortable are you with customers?
Kwan:
Not very. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do when I have a problem. I don’t know how to handle unhappy customers. Do I ask my supervisor? Another teller? I tell customers that I’m new and still learning and it doesn’t seem to help. I don’t get much sympathy.
Juan:
In what ways has your manager or the lead teller been supportive?
Kwan:
I meet with Stan-my supervisor-once a week. He just sits me down and asks if I have any questions. I don’t even know what questions to ask. He says I should be studying all the time! I’m afraid to tell him that I’m not keeping up with the material but he probably knows it.
Ann:
How has your job changed since the merger?
Kwan:
More work and less time to do it. There’ve been people here to help us but I don’t know them. You know, I really wish I knew some of my co-workers at other branches. It would be nice to know whom to call about an issue, especially when I’m dealing with a customer from another branch.
Ann:
Is there anything else would you like us know?
Kwan:
Look, I really like my job here. I just wish I was more confident with customers. And I wish they’d respect my after-work hours. I’m a hard worker and I want to do a good job but I could really use some help.
Juan:
Thank you Kwan. We really appreciate your perspective and your honesty.
Scene 3: Interview with Stan Montgomery
Ann:
Good afternoon, Stan. My name is Ann and this is my partner Juan.
Stan:
Nice to meet you both.
Juan:
Stan, we’d like to ask you some questions about training and development at Bedford Falls. As the teller supervisor, do you feel your tellers are receiving adequate training?
Stan:
No. I hate to say it because I’m responsible for the training needs of the new tellers. I’m supposed to train all new hires and manage all the continuing training like when a new product gets introduced. I also handle problems with customers. Frankly, I’m overwhelmed. I wish I had the time to devote to new tellers but there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Juan:
Well then tell me about the training you do provide now.
Stan:
Like I said, the pace here is ridiculous. I have no time to do my job and get tellers what they need. The biggest problem is that management doesn’t allow a lot of time. We give new hires these binders filled with information that I’m supposed to train on but there’s way too much information in there. I don’t know where to begin. Lately, I’ve been asking the more experienced tellers to mentor the new tellers. Some of them aren’t the best at it.
Ann:
Do you conduct any ongoing training?
Stan:
Well, I have a monthly meeting but there’s never enough time to address all the issues that arise. Sometimes I get notified that I have to train or inform the tellers about some new policy or procedure that I barely understand. So when I think about it, I don’t have the time to properly train my tellers and I don’t have the time to train myself! Plus at my level, there’s no specialized training that we receive.
Ann:
If you could, how would you change the training? What changes would be beneficial to new employees and supervisors like you?
Stan:
I think it’s important that we have structured training on a more regular basis. Things change around here so fast. For new employees it’s a lot to learn. Even though I’ve been here a while, I don’t always remember everything that needs to be taught or communicated. With the merger, things are even more complicated. We have new products and new procedures coming at us and I barely have time to keep up with it all. Right now, training is not a focus and it should be.
Juan:
Is management aware of your concerns?
Stan:
Before the merger, my manager was more available and I could share my concerns with her. Now, I simply don’t have the time. It would help considerably if we had some sort of tiered training wherein I was able to rely on lead tellers to help train new employees.
Ann:
I know you don’t have as much contact with customers as your tellers but do you have any concerns with customer service?
Stan:
This is a huge area of concern. The tellers do their best but when it comes to an unhappy customer, they don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to handle the situation or whom to approach for help. Ultimately, I end up handling the major complaints, but what I see are problems that could be handled quickly and easily if the tellers knew what to do. The tellers are so concerned about making the wrong decision, they don’t make a decision and everything gets escalated as a result, and it falls on m y desk.
Juan:
What kind of support do you receive from your manager?
Stan:
We used to meet once a week, but because of the merger I’m lucky if I get to meet with her once a month. I know she’s dealing with a lot right now; this merger has caused a lot of chaos. More and more I have issues that need more than a yes or no response from her so an email here and there doesn’t cut it.
Ann:
How has your job changed since the merger?
Stan:
Much more work in much less time. It seems to me that a lot of problems could be solved if teller supervisors from every branch could communicate with one another. Right now, each branch is very isolated. Plus the management structure is confusing. Responsibilities are shifting and we’re not sure who to contact with specific issues. Communications from senior staff don’t always find their way to me and then my tellers don’t get the information. We’re all in the dark.
Ann:
What else would you like us know?
Stan:
Well I heard a rumor that I was going to be asked to train two new tellers at another branch. That’s just not possible since I doubt they will take away any of my job responsibilities. I’ve been here for several years, and I really like the people I work with. But my job has become awfully stressful. I know once upper management has things straightened out we’ll become more organized but I’m running out of energy and patience.
Ann:
Stan you’ve given us some great feedback. We really appreciate your candor.Good luck to you.
Scene 4: Interview with Judy Schram.
Judy:
Come in, sit down. How did it go today with Kwan and Stan?
Juan:
It went really well. Both of them were very forthcoming. We learned a lot from them.
Judy:
That’s good to hear.
Ann:
Would you mind if we asked you a few questions before we leave?
Judy:
Not at all, please, ask me anything.
Ann:
Do you feel like your tellers and supervisors are receiving appropriate training?
Judy:
No, they’re not. Our customer satisfaction surveys show that people aren’t very happy with our services. That’s where we used to shine. We won awards for our service and customer satisfaction! I hate to admit this, but I don’t understand why our tellers have such problems.
Juan:
Tell me about your training programs.
Judy:
We create these training binders that we distribute to new employees. I know that it’s overwhelming to get these big binders of information, but they contain vital information. My supervisors don’t like the training binders but I find them to be the best way to update and distribute new information about products and procedures. Beyond our binders, I try to meet with my supervisors weekly but lately that’s been more difficult. And when we do meet, we mostly end up putting out fires. I know my supervisors have been handling a lot of customer service complaints.
Ann:
What recommendations do you have for ongoing training?
Judy:
We have a monthly branch meeting but that’s really not training-it’s more about changes and updates. I have ideas about training programs but that has been low priority with the merger. Truth is, I don’t know where to begin. I know a lot banks are moving to online training but I’m not sure how that would work here. Maybe the more experienced tellers and supervisors could be leveraged in some way. We need help for certain, but the type and the cost are unknowns to me.
Juan:
Are your supervisors aware of your training concerns?
Judy:
No, I haven’t wanted to say anything because I’m not sure what our budget allows. I don’t have the time to approach my managers with my concerns. It would help considerably if I could rely on managers at other branches to discuss our training needs. Right now, all the branches train their employees differently, so when transfers come, they do their jobs in a way that’s unfamiliar with how we work, and that’s a problem. Maybe this is something that Bedford Bancorp could look at on a corporate level. I mean, why not train across all six branches instead of everyone doing their own thing?
Juan:
How has your job changed since the merger?
Judy:
It’s been much more work and much less time to complete it. Right now each branch is very isolated and I think the management structure is confusing to everyone. Once the dust settles, hopefully we can address all of these issues.
Ann:
Is there anything else you would you like us know?
Judy:
I’ve been here for 20 years. The people here are like family and I know they’re unhappy. I value my employees and I see that this is a difficult time for all of us. I recognize that we have serious training needs; I just don’t know where to begin. That’s why we hired you!
Case Study Complete
You have completed the Bedford Falls National Bank Case Study. Return to the course room to complete the assignment related to this presentation.

Resources
Cascio and Aguinis text, Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management:
• Chapter 16, “Training and Development: Implementation and the Measurement of Outcomes,” pages 368–391
• Jodlbauer, S., Selenko, E., Batinic, B., & Stiglbauer, B. (2012). The relationship between job dissatisfaction and training transfer. International Journal of Training & Development, 16(1), 39–53.
• Kirkpatrick, J. (2007). The hidden power of Kirkpatrick’s four levels. T+D, 61(8), pages 34–37.
• Park, J-H., & Wentling, T. (2007). Factors associated with transfer of training in workplace e-learning. Journal of Workplace Learning, 19(5), 311–329.
• Tews, M. J., & Tracey, J. B. (2008). An empirical examination of posttraining on-the-job supplements for enhancing the effectiveness of interpersonal skills training. Personnel Psychology, 61(2), 375–401.
• Abernathy, W. B. (2011). An analysis of the effects of selected management practices on organizational productivity and performance. Performance Improvement, 50(6), 39–47.