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LAKE JACKSON, Texas – Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU) has put its money firmly behind its service values with the unveiling of a new training facility. Located within its headquarters here the facility takes hands-on training to new levels. Not only does the facility include a room that resembles an actual TDECU branch including remote teller system, mock teller stations and cubicles but an adjoining classroom has been designed specifically with training in mind. From lighting, equipment such as each desk equipped with its own PC and calculator and positioning the podium in the back so the trainer can watch employee key strokes, to table arrangement and conveniences of having the keyboard underneath to accommodate a training manual on the desk no detail was overlooked in the new training facility. “We started planning this about eight months ago since we had reinvented the whole training function last yera to identify what we really need to help reach our organizational goals and part of that was linked to front line training,” said TDECU Training Director Caite Blount. “This facility was our first proactive approach.” Blount says she was eager to have a space dedicated specifically to training and used feedback from trainers in designing the new environment. “I think there are very few simulated environments close to what we have,” said Blount. “It is real, true to life and looks exactly like what the front line staff or financial service representative would see in any of our branches. We do a lot of hands-on training with new hire tellers and financial service representatives so that when they are in front of members they feel more confident.” Part of the training involves new hires being videotaped as they conduct transactions ranging from walk ups at the remote teller stations to drive-through service. Blount says the taping has been an essential tool in improving member service. “We have the opportunity to give new hires a chance to work on their smile, voice inflection and all the little things that come with practice and makes a difference in the member experience,” said Blount. “In reviewing the taped sessions they can see how they come across, what areas can be improved and rate how they meet the credit union’s R.E.A.L. method of member service, which is an acronym for Real, Efficient, Accommodating and Loyal.” The facility holds classes every two weeks with the training cycle lasting some 31 days. In addition to Blount there are three full-time trainers. Blount says the hands-on approach and dedicated training staff has already made a difference and has gone a long way to eliminating inconsistencies of information provided. “The fact is that on-the-job training is stressful-for the employee doing the training, for the new hire because they are in front of the member and for the member as well because they are wondering if the trainee will get this transaction right-so built into the interaction is really a disservice to members,” said Blount. “No one is 100% ready to go live with an open drawer but the feedback from frontline supervisors and new hires is that these employees are more comfortable and confident. In addition, we are building a consistent base of knowledge so you don’t get different answers to the same question. While no one enjoys being taped they all see the value in it and in general the training experience is a happy one and we’re hearing rave reviews.” Phase two of the training program, which will kick off in 2006, will include providing intermediate and advance training for existing employees to further eliminate inconsistencies and build member service skills. [email protected]

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