Case Study

Leadership Behaviors: When Employee Development Becomes a Mindset

How a Drive to Transform the Culture from a Compliance-Heavy Training Program Resulted in an Employee Engagement Framework

The Objective

As the Organizational and Talent Development teams at Chemical Bank faced another shift in culture due to an acquisition, they wanted to ensure that redesigning their employee development wasn’t another exercise in futility but rather a more strategic, well-designed program focused on delivering an effective tool for employees, a guide for managers to use to become better managers, and a powerful, scalable solution the organization could leverage to foster leadership behaviors in every employee, agnostic of role or business unit. That solution was Bridge.

With Bridge, Chemical Bank was looking to effectively deliver on the following strategic objectives:

  • Re-design their existing Leadership Development program: Transform a previously outmoded program to better identify high-potential leaders and provide them with opportunities to improve skills and pathways to new jobs
  • Develop a culture initiative to strengthen employees connection: As cultures from acquisitions merge together, ensure that employees remain aligned to key driving objectives of the organization
  • Refresh the tenant of employee development: Connecting components of an effective development program together to ensure long-term success: consistent employee communication, effective development plans, connecting employees with managers and mentors, connecting skills to practice.

Chemical Bank’s Approach

ChemU, Chemical Bank’s branded Bridge instance, provides a one-stop shop for all content, programs, checkpoints, live trainings, and employee development options for their 3500 employees across 200+ locations in the Midwest.

What initially started as a replacement for their antiquated learning management system was quickly overshadowed by Bridge, “We were coming up on a core banking system conversion and we needed a new LMS that was actually going to function for our end users. Instead of a system designed for just compliance training, written by lawyers on a platform that's not built for the end user. Plus it needed to give us all the capabilities that we needed: ease of use, easy implementation, robustness of functionality. We got exactly what we needed, plus more, with Bridge,” says Chris Olson, VP, Manager of Organizational Development.

As Chris looked to expand how Bridge could be leveraged within Chemical Bank, he partnered with Alex Morgan, VP, Talent Development to strategically address the broader initiative of employee development through deeper engagement in ChemU.

A Tool Designed for Employee Success

  • Designing learning that creates connections between skills with practice: “Our biggest thing with getting [the employee development] programs up and running when delivering what we promise and having something available that employees can access easily. Something that's actually helping them build the skill set, instead of just taking a bunch of e-learning courses and then calling it a day. But actually getting that skills practice,” says Morgan.
  • Connecting, tracking, scaling: “I think Bridge is really helping us take that next step in employee development because it's scalable. The ability to track it all is huge because prior to Bridge, all the stuff we are doing in Bridge was done on paper. If employees had questions, there was no where they could follow up because it was all just document on paper and pushed out in phases.”
  • Building and strengthening leadership behaviors: “We're actually moving away from calling them competencies and moving toward calling them leadership behaviors. Because leadership behaviors apply to every role. It’s more like values that we have as an organizational perspective on our people. And once we have that, we establish that within each individual business-line and define what proficiency in those behaviors looks like in each business-line.”

Anchoring Manager-Employee Connection

  • Channeling great managers to become great leaders: “We see Bridge as a system that will allow our managers to be more effective, by providing them tools and guidance to help them become better coaches and leaders. As we continue to build out our comprehensive organization-wide employee development program, the ability to track conversations and use the 1:1 agenda so both manager and employee are consistently on the same page is one of the many reasons we are drawn to Bridge. Using Bridge would allow us to remove the busy admin work from managers and enable meaningful conversations between mangers’ and their teams. I think that’s huge.”
  • Cyclical feedback - make the great, even better: “Conversations and feedback are not one-sided. Employees submit something to their manager and vice versa - it’s a guidance process, a how-to guide to performance, career, conversations, and so forth. And the idea is that they get better and better at it through osmosis. But, Bridge is there as a safety net for them if they need it. We could all benefit from the amount of change that we've experienced and to better navigate and address topics with certain employees in real-time is critical, across the board.”

Performance management made for the future of work

  • 360 reviews - combating employee turnover: Olson remarks that as a future initiative, Chemical Bank hopes to revamp the employee performance review process, moving away from the traditional annual performance reviews/rating. “We want to help accelerate our managers’ ability to provide effective feedback. Managers spend about three hours per each employee review on an annual basis and remembering all that an individual has accomplished over the course of a year proves to be quite difficult. The more direct reports a manager has, the more difficult this becomes. At this large scale there is the propensity for details to go unchecked, simply due to the sheer volume. Introducing an upgraded and more progressive performance review process will allow employees to receive more frequent feedback. We aspire to move to a quarterly schedule with a simpler version of the review itself, followed by 1:1 conversations between the manager and employee to discuss feedback and a plan for development. Once we revamp this process it will help drive our annual merit and bonus increases. By doing something like this through Bridge, it would allow us to provide meaningful and actionable feedback and streamline the employee development experience, which is ultimately our goal!”

How Chemical Bank Measured Success

By leveraging Bridge across the organization, Morgan and Olson have improved their strategic planning and execution across multiple different initiatives in a relatively short amount of time. With the support of the Bridge Customer Success team, the Organizational and Talent Development teams at Chemical Bank, a subsidiary of TCF, have been able to achieve some remarkable results:

Applying knowledge to practice

  • Non-officer, required course early completion rate: 80%+
  • Non-officer, optional course completion rate: 83%+
  • Officer, required course early completion rate: 93%
  • Assigned live course training completion: 100%

Culture Initiative’s positive impact on employee turnover

  • Initial pilot with Credit Team
    • Implementation of new Leadership Development Program, housed in Bridge, reduced turnover rate by 20% within one year 
      • 2017: Under legacy Leadership Development Program turnover percentage was reported at 37%
      • 2018: Transition to sunset the legacy Leadership Development Program turnover percentage reported at 23.94% 
      • 2019: New Leadership Development program up and running with active career paths and participating employees, 3.28% YTD turnover 
  • Engaging deeper employees: Incorporating rich media formats 
    • Leveraged Bridge Studio to share “Culture and Customer Experience Initiative” video highest engagement in optional company-wide communication in effective message sharing with employee base
      • 854 views
      • 44 positive comments, praising video and culture initiative 
      • 54 video up-votes
    • Organizational and Talent Development teams able to track views, comments, engagement metrics compared to legacy mp4 file sharing via email 
      • Initial pilot feature in an eLearning course enabling employees to provide feedback on culture survey, interact and discuss with peers 
      • Net new functionality for Chemical Bank – allowing for better employee engagement 
    • Easily accessible “Organizational Culture” library of employee resources
      • Consolidating 38+ eLearning courses, communication videos, and resources tagged in the Learning Library
        • Legacy process relied on employees to store and search for emails related culture
      • Through Bridge Studio’s closed caption feature, employees with accessibility requirements are able to consume videos at the same rate and frequency without the legacy requirement of having to read a pdf script of the video 

To learn more about how Chemical Bank is leveraging the Bridge Employee Development platform, please contact us at 877-576-5634.