What Is The Cost Of A Poor Onboarding Experience For Retail Banks?

As digital transformation & the rise of FinTech companies create more competition for retail banks, leaders in the industry will have to look at ways to ensure their retail banking sales force continues to stay productive. This is a tall order as the Banking industry is known for being both a competitive industry and with one of the highest annual turnovers. This is largely due to a poor sales onboarding experience involving:

·         Poor engagement by the branch managers,

·         Mismatch between the onboarding and real banking environment

·         Branch managers guessing whether new hires are prepared to sell, and

·         Unclear communication and unrealistic expectations from the new hire

Over the last few years, the average ramp time for new sales hires has increased from 4.2 months to 5.3 months according to Inside Sales. With average tenure of a typical Relationship Manager sitting at 1.5 years, training and onboarding the bank salesforce has never been more crucial for the branch manager.

If executed well, effective onboarding would enable retail banks and new hire relationship / customer service managers to ramp up faster and accelerate sales performance. The goal should be to enable and ramp new sales hires in the shortest time to generate higher revenue and sustain higher productivity.

Why Do Retail Banks Need To Re-Think Their New Hire RM & CSM Onboarding Experience?

Onboarding is often a time-consuming experience and can last anywhere from four to six weeks for a new sales hire. As retail banks digitize more customer experiences and make them seamless and self-paced, it’s time for L&D leaders in retail banks to take a cue from this playbook and revamp new sales onboarding.

With virtual hiring of Relationship Managers (RM) or Customer Service Managers (CSM) becoming more commonplace, the need to re-imagine traditional classroom and even virtual sales onboarding has become more important.

Retail banks should hence focus on the following key objectives when onboarding new RMs and CSMs:

Ensure new hires are excited, informed, and well-equipped for success

Engage with new hires at the pre-boarding stage

Level up the onboarding experience based on their progress, both in terms of learning & business performance

Promote a two-way interaction in the onboarding experience

Blend virtual training driven by the training or branch banking team based on the progress of the new hire RM or CSM

Accelerating Sales Performance By Addressing Six Onboarding “Pressure Points”

Virtual onboarding is more challenging than face-to-face onboarding especially when it comes to engaging the frontline banking salesforce. Sales executives are prone to frequent distractions and are less likely to feel engaged. Gamification & microlearning can provide shorter, focused, and spaced learning content that demands much less time and yet builds a habit for self-paced enablement.

Gamification and microlearning can enable Branch Managers & Retail Bank leaders to accelerate onboarding by addressing the following onboarding pressure points:

1.) Higher retention & confidence to sell bank products & solutions

47% of new hires like to learn at their own pace. Retail Banks can utilize gamified microlearning to stagger creates a habit to learn new products & solutions bit by bit, thereby leading to higher retention and confidence in the bank’s products and solutions.

2.) Sustaining engagement during the sales onboarding experience

Game design and behavioral psychology can build healthy competition among new hire RMs and CSMs which can set a high pace for enablement & productivity from the start of the onboarding experience itself. Frontline sales reps are more likely to improve their results if they believe they are lagging their peers.

3.) Generating more actionable data points

As new hire RMs and CSMs habitually learn, more data points become available to Branch Managers, Channel & Product Leaders and L&D executives to identify specific gaps in skills across the workforce. These data points can further automate follow up learning by spacing out the learning experience and focusing in depth on the specific area the RM or CSM is struggling to understand.

4.)Enhancing decision making skills & capturing real-world challenges

Gamification can recreate virtual scenarios where the RM or CSM must undertake certain actions and make quick decisions that can improve their decision-making skills and give them an understanding of how to proceed in an actual customer interaction.

5.) Setting goals and rewarding progress

Incorporating small milestones for new hires to achieve in the form of microlearning modules and sub-KPIs can build a progressive pathway to success which results in higher percentage of new sales hires becoming productive. Acknowledging their progress and rewarding them by showcasing their success as well as highlighting their new pathway are all steps in building a sense of purpose and achievement for the new RM or CSM.

6.) Reducing trainer intervention & doubling down on field observation

With lesser training time, a newly digitized & gamified sales onboarding experience can free up a bank’s training team to observe customer interactions of newly joined RMs and CSMs. This in turn can provide new sales hires with on-the-spot and more targeted learning inputs at the right time, thereby enabling them to further sharpen their selling skills, knowledge on retail products and the bank’s processes.

Looking Ahead

As the work environment becomes more digitized & virtual, the time has come for branch managers & retail bank leaders to realize the tremendous impact that gamified virtual onboarding can have on new hire productivity and retention.

The traditional goal of simply hiring more front line sales needs to shift towards one of high engagement and providing them with the support and information that they need ramp up productivity as soon as possible.  

Master-O enables retail banks to accelerate new hire onboarding for various frontline roles across the bank using gamification & microlearning.

Looking to ramp up your new hire sales? Reach out to us at [email protected] for more information.


·         https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/industries-with-the-worst-retention-rates

·         2015 Inside Sales for SaaS report published by the Bridge Group

·         https://blog.atrivity.com/redefining-the-onboarding-process-in-banking

·         https://kitaboo.com/how-gamification-can-improve-the-onboarding-process/