Increasingly, banks and credit unions recognize the importance of regular and deeper-level consumer engagement training for their employees. And rightly so – as competition in financial products and services only deepens, banks and credit unions that thrive are those which focus to a greater extent on keeping their employees highly-trained and in-tune with their brands. Brand training is critical.

However, banks and credit unions sometimes miss the mark when it comes to their employee training format. All too often, they focus employee training programs on specifically how employees should do their jobs while glossing over the vitally important element why employees should do their jobs.

When Your Employee Training Misses Its Mark

Generally, training to the how of a job is relatively simple. You train to a task (such as teller drawer procedures, compliance paperwork, lending documentation, etc.) over and over to such an extent that it becomes second nature to the employee. This isn’t a bad thing. Obviously, to be successful, employees must know how to do their jobs. However, when it comes to differentiating from the competition and establishing strong brand propositions, banks and credit unions must also teach your employees why they are doing their jobs. Many people can balance a drawer or process loans. What can your bank or credit union do that they can’t? The why answers this question.

The why goes directly back to brand. Why does the teller balance his drawer? Why does the compliance officer review countless documents? Why does the loan specialist meticulously collect information as part of the decision process? The surface-level answer goes directly back to the how of job performance. But the deeper consumer engagement level answer speaks to the why of job performance and brand building.

Training employees why they do their job (as it relates to the brand) gives them a much deeper knowledge and understanding about the importance of their role inside the credit union, regardless of position. It also grows their confidence and empowers them in their positions to make decisions, interact with consumers and grow the brand organically via authentic consumer interactions.

Learning how to do a job is important. A farmer wouldn’t be very successful if he didn’t know, for example, at what depth to plant certain kinds of seeds. However, a deeper level learning as to why you do a job is even more important. The same farmer carries the knowledge that he is feeding his family, the larger community and maybe even the world. The same applies for your bank or credit union. How is good, but why is better. And the why is your brand.

Note: This post originally ran September 1, 2016.