Workers return in droves to businesses across the U.S.

By Hannah Flanders

Across the U.S., employers are seeing workers return following a mass reshuffle in employment. Beginning in 2021, the year following the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of employees began seeking new opportunities with different companies or shifting entirely to different industries. However, as competition continues to grow and COVID precautions subside, many are beginning to return to their previous employers.

COVID Gives Way to New Opportunities

The Great Resignation, spurred by aspects of the pandemic, gave individuals a push to reconsider their employment. The combination of COVID stimulus checks, early retirement, lack of childcare, and reluctance to return to the office caused many — over 47 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — to voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021.

While many of these individuals — 53%, according to Pew Research Center — did not completely exit the workforce, workers seeking higher pay orgreater benefits — including remote options — were presented with a greater opportunity to find a new employer.

Not What They Expected

The beginning of 2022 marked a new wave for employees — the Great Regret — or the reversal of the Great Resignation. Some in client-facing, technology, and consumer industries quickly realized that new roles or companies may not have been the best fit. With increasing turnover, onboarding within many companies became less personal and individuals were often not allotted enough time to get comfortable in their new environment. In addition, remote work offered fewer social interactions and work-life balance sometimes took a backseat.

Seventy-two percent of employees surveyed by Muse in early 2022 stated that they had experienced surprise or regret in connection to what a new job opportunity led them to believe. Of the 2,500 individuals surveyed, 80% stated that it would be acceptable to leave a new job before six months if it didn’t meet initial expectations.

Additionally, as widespread access to COVID-19 vaccination continues, businesses and schools across America have re-opened their doors and many individuals are reconsidering their desire for fully remote work. A survey conducted by PwC reported that around 83% of employees have already returned to the office at least two days of the week.

Boomerang Employees

Each year, the number of boomerang employees — or those who return to a previous employer — continues to rise. In 2021, according to data presented by LinkedIn, 4.3% of all new hires were previous employees whereas 10 years prior, these individuals only represented around 2% of new hires.

Rehiring former employees is strategic for both the employer and the employee, but it’s important to consider why they departed initially. While the business regains knowledgeable talents who may not need extensive onboarding, the employee often returns with a higher salary or new position (given their gained experience during their departure and increased negotiating power) and is familiar with the workplace culture.

According to Glassdoor, recruiting former employees could save organizations up to $20,000 per hire. While of course not every former employee may be the perfect fit for the position, considering boomerang employees could tap Wisconsin businesses into “new” candidates that have the ability to fill important positions and reduce costs in today’s competitive job market.

Returning to the Workforce

As pandemic precautions subside and employees rethink previous career changes, many individuals are returning to their previous employers. According to a study conducted by Joblist, more than one in four people who quit their previous job regret their decision.

Although boomerang employees remain a small but growing percentage of new hires each year, the Great Regret has shown the return of many individuals who had previously left the workforce due to the pandemic, including those lacking childcare or entering early retirement.

Be it to combat rising inflation or to explore new opportunities outside of the home, 2022 has shown millions of individuals returning to work. Just this year, unemployment rates in Wisconsin hit record lows thanks to more individuals feeling comfortable with returning to the office, parents sending their children back to in-person classes, and previously retired Americans rejoining the workforce in droves.

Whether it be considering “boomerang employees” or welcoming back those who exited the workforce as a result of the pandemic, businesses throughout the state are seeing more opportunities to regain workers lost to the Great Resignation and benefit from the growing talent pool.

Triangle Background
Adriene Wright

Adriene Wright

By Hannah Flanders

Adriene Wright not only brings more than 25 years of retail banking experience to her students, but she also mentors and supports them through the BankWork$ program and beyond. As an instructor in the program partnered with Employ Milwaukee, CareerWork$, and the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA), Wright is able to provide individuals the banking 101 entry-level training needed to fill positions with numerous partner banks.

Wright began her retail banking career as a teller and progressed to a learning and development instructor training new hires. Not only did this role prepare her for her transition to BankWork$ in terms of her retail banking abilities, but it gave her the opportunity to give back to her community and the industry.

“Through the [program’s] eight weeks of training, practice, coaching, and feedback, the students graduate with a clear knowledge of [the] expectations to be successful in banking,” says Wright. “This includes the topics of banking 101, professionalism, attendance, dress code, customer service, rapport, public speaking, technology, team building, sales skills, building relationships, resume building, and interviewing skills.”

Currently, the BankWork$ program in Wisconsin has 14 partner banks and growing interest throughout the state. This could potentially result in growing class sizes, more locations, and new partnerships. BankWork$ recruits from diverse communities with an emphasis on underserved, low-income, and unemployed individuals who are looking for the opportunities to grow and have a successful career. This means not only that these young adults bring “a fierce commitment and drive to never give up,” according to Wright, but their wide range of education, work experience, and languages introduce important factors of diversity and inclusion that align with banks’ missions.

Many BankWork$ graduates are successfully retained and often promoted from their entry-level positions to roles in supervision or management. When these individuals have the ability to provide for themselves and their families, they are able to begin imagining their future and setting goals.

Building confidence, banking knowledge, and providing students with both in-person and virtual skills is critical in ensuring that students feel prepared to put their talents into practice on their first day on the job. In their partnership with 13 other sites nationwide, Wright and her fellow BankWork$ instructors have the ability to make a substantial difference for employers with positions to fill. The role of BankWork$ instructors is unique and impactful in that they help employers, job seekers, and their communities.

Wright’s passion and experience in helping new hires become successful in the banking industry has touched the lives of many in the Milwaukee area. Beyond her compassion for her community, Wright aspires to prepare her students for a stable career and opportunities rather than just a job.

Ken Thompson HeadshotBy Kenneth D. Thompson, WBA Board chair, president and CEO of Capitol Bank, Madison

January marks the halfway point of my time as WBA chair and as we transition into a new year, there are undoubtedly new things to look forward to as an industry and as an association.

Our successes in 2021, many of which related to the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, taught us all valuable lessons I hope can be brought with us into the new year. From low levels of past-due loans throughout our industry to excess liquidity, it’s safe to say that stepping outside of our routine has resulted in spectacular results.

Looking onward to 2022, I encourage bankers to approach challenges with the same curiosity we have for the past two years. As our industry continues to grow, how will each of us lead the way in making Wisconsin banks efficient, diverse, and robust?

WBA has long known that banks are cornerstones in our communities and as such, should be leaders in embracing societal developments. Technology, for both our customers and employees, has been and should continue to be an aspect that sets our industry apart. In embracing these digital channels, banks have a unique ability to meet the expectations of customers while also supporting them with cybersecurity and best technological practices.

Our ability to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, as well as offer flexibility to employees, has the potential to set our industry apart. This is especially important to consider as we navigate through a competitive hiring and retention landscape.

As we all envision a brighter 2022, it serves us to remember that innovative solutions, such as PPP and advances in online banking, have provided our communities with much-needed assistance in the past. We must not be held back by what we are familiar with. This pandemic has taught us all that some of the most effective answers may not be the ones that have been tried before.

It is essential for banks to approach these situations with caution instead of resistance and as always, WBA remains a valuable resource in education, advocacy, and community involvement for each of us as we look forward to what’s to come in 2022.

This year’s event centers around the theme “Rise”

The Wisconsin Banker’s Association is thrilled to announce that the annual Bank Executives Conference will be back in person February 9–11, 2022 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells. This is the premiere event for bank leaders in the state. The theme of this year’s event will be “Rise.” Wisconsin bankers have risen to the occasion over the course of the pandemic, and this conference will address what it will take to be resilient and relevant in 2022.


Being back in person opens the door for the kind of networking opportunities that bank leaders have been craving for nearly two years. The conference will kick off with a networking reception on Wednesday evening, but bankers are invited and encouraged to arrive earlier for optional afternoon “banker-only” peer group discussions starting at 2:30 p.m. Peer group discussions are geared toward the roles of CEOs, CFOs, credit and lending, operations, and organizational development. Opportunities to connect with fellow bankers, WBA Associate Members, and WBA staff will be plentiful throughout the conference, with an exhibitor Marketplace providing a dedicated space for making connections.

Executive-Level Education

The WBA Bank Executives Conference brings national experts to Wisconsin, while providing tailored programming specific to the needs of banking leaders in our state. Among the trending topics that will be covered at the conference are:

  • Changes that emerged during the pandemic that are now here to stay
  • Talent recruitment and retention
  • Technology, fintech, and digital transformation
  • Cryptocurrency
  • And more!

New Hybrid Option for 2022 A livestream will allow attendees at the bank to view the keynote sessions on February 10 and 11.

The opening keynote session is titled, “Business as Unusual: How to Future-Proof Your Business in Transformational Times.” In this engaging, provocative, and insightful keynote session, acclaimed global futurist and best-selling author Jack Uldrich will not only discuss how the Coronavirus is transforming the world of tomorrow, he will explain why it is accelerating many of the trends that were already at work prior to the epidemic. History reminds us that great crises produce great change — as well as great opportunities. To take advantage of these extraordinary opportunities, businesses must position themselves now to operate in a world where “business as unusual” is the new “usual.” This session will help leaders at every level of an organization leverage ten “unconventional” techniques to succeed in today’s — and tomorrow’s — transformational times.

Dr. Chris Kuehl, managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, will present a keynote session, “2022 – The Real Recovery Year?” That honor was supposed to go to 2021, but we all know what happened over the last several months — inflation, labor shortage, supply chain breakdowns, and the repeated resurgence of the virus. Now we have these lingering issues along with the reactions — higher interest rates, efforts to restore, continued engagement by the government. The bankers have been placed squarely in the middle of all this and expected to do most of the heavy lifting. Does that continue and what can we really expect as far as growth and recovery?

For more details on programming and to view the full agenda, please visit

Banking leaders are eager to rise to the challenges ahead of them, and the conference will provide actionable tools and knowledge attendees can bring back to their banks and communities.


The 2021 Banker of the Year will be announced at the conference, recognizing a bank CEO or president (or an individual who has recently retired from these positions) who has made an outstanding effort throughout their career in service to their bank, to their community, and to the banking profession.

The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Financial Education Innovation Award will be presented at a special luncheon on February 10. This prestigious award recognizes a bank’s unique efforts to enhance the financial capability of consumers in their community, whether it’s a new kind of educational game for students, curriculum developed for adult seminars, or some other new or innovative approach to financial education.

The 50- and 60-Year Clubs recognize bankers who have served in the banking industry for 50 and 60 years, respectively. These awards will be presented during the special luncheon at the conference to honor professionals who have dedicated their careers to the banking industry.


Ope! Charlie Berens, best known to Wisconsinites for his viral video series, “The Manitowoc Minute,” will perform at the Chairman’s Dinner Program on Thursday, February 10.

Comedian, Emmy award-winning journalist, and Wisconsin native Charlie Berens — who rose to fame from his video series, “The Manitowoc Minute” — will provide the entertainment for the Chairman’s Dinner Program on February 10. Attendees can expect lots of laughs from the author of the recently released book, “The Midwest Survival Guide: How We Talk, Love, Work, Drink, and Eat. . . Everything With Ranch.” Berens has been featured on Fox, CBS, Funny or Die, TBS Digital, Variety, MTV News, and more. In 2013, he won an Emmy for “The Cost of Water” while reporting for Texas news station KDAF. “The Manitowoc Minute” series has garnered millions of views and paved the way for a sold-out standup comedy tour. Geez, Louise, this is sure to be a hilarious show you won’t want to miss!


To register for the conference, please visit We look forward to seeing you Wednesday, February 9–Friday, February 11 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells!

Amber Seitz profileA relationship-banking culture can help banks compete

Competition is fierce in banking, for both loans and deposits. Traditional banks today face off against other financial institutions and familiar non-bank players (like payday lenders) as well as newcomers to the fray, including online-only banks and fintech companies. Every customer relationship is important, especially as banking becomes viewed as a commodity by more and more consumers. "As you look at your relevance as an organization, you have to realize your audience is changing," said Dirk Gasterland, CEO of Coulee Bank, La Crosse. "Because people have been viewing banking as a commodity, we have to draw the relationship element in by allowing customers to transition generationally." Shifting your bank's culture from "sales" to "relationship building" can mean the difference between connecting with your community and losing to the competition. 

The Why

A relationship-based culture is critical in banking, because the industry has a unique relationship with its customers, according to Matt Middendorp, owner/founder of Sales Math Consulting LLC. "We're the only industry where, sooner or later, our customers will resent us," he said. "They'll write a check for their loan payment and forget that the loan allowed them to buy a home or piece of equipment that allowed them to grow their business." To combat that, strong relationships are key, since they remind the customer of the value their bank provides.

Loyal customers also create value for the bank and are less rate-sensitive. Research firm Novantas has found that primary financial institution (PFI) customers will accept rates 20% higher on loans and 20% lower on deposits than their unengaged/non-primary peers "due to the convenience and value they receive from the relationship." While non-primary customers can still be good customers, ultimately banks should endeavor to make them loyal (PFI) customers, and in order to do that, you need a relationship foundation with them, according to Kristen Talbott, SVP – chief retail officer at Tri City National Bank, Oak Creek and chair of the 2018-2019 WBA Marketing Committee. 

Another key reason to undergo the herculean task of changing your bank's culture: higher employee engagement. "I find that bankers accept a relationship approach much better than a high-pressure sales approach," explained Kay Fett, professional improvement and training consultant. "We hire bankers today who are people-oriented. They want to develop relationships in order to offer the most appropriate services to their customers." The relationship-based approach leverages those skills and abilities, which bolsters employee engagement. "If you're getting the customers you want rather than just the ones you can get, employees feel like they're empowered and able to grow themselves," Middendorp explained. "They feel they're spending more time getting customers they're excited to work with."

Finally, establishing a relationship-based culture can help banks compete with larger institutions and digital disruptors. "It's a way for community banks to compete with evolving technology," Talbott explained. "There are people who want a relationship with their bank, and you can't compete on that front unless you have a platform that allows you to put interaction ahead of transaction." When bank culture places emphasis on building customer relationships, it makes it more difficult for the competition to poach away those customers. "Someone else is trying to undermine your relationships with your customers at all times," said Middendorp. "If you're not in control of that relationship you're automatically at a disadvantage." 

The How

Creating and sustaining a culture shift is a difficult, but rewarding, challenge. For banks ready to make the change from a sales to relationship-building culture, the following four tactics can help lead to success. 

1: Start with why.
Gasterland recommended the philosophy Simon Sinek outlines in his popular book Start With Why: "Shift your focus to be on why you do what you do, rather than what you do or how you do it," he said. "The why answer shouldn't be the same as the bank down the street or across the country. It's individual to your institution." When your staff understand and embrace the bank's why, they have a solid foundation on which to begin building customer relationships and differentiate the bank from other institutions at the same time. 

2: Take a top-down, top-to-bottom approach. 
"A relationship-building culture can only be created from the top down," said Fett. "Bank leadership and management must demonstrate trust and relationship establishment in their own daily activities." Trust is a key element of a relationship-first culture, Fett explained, because putting the customer relationship first requires breaking down silos between different areas of the bank. Each banker must be able to refer a customer to colleagues in other areas and trust that their customer will be taken care of. "A retail banker doesn't need to know the details of the mortgage industry, but they need to know enough to recommend a meeting with one of the mortgage lenders when appropriate," Fett continued. Eliminating silos between departments also means every staff member needs to put the customer relationship first. "Everybody needs to think about the customer, from top to bottom, whether you're in a forward-facing position or in the back office," said Middendorp. "From the president on down, everyone needs to think that way." 

3: Be consistent across all channels. 
"What makes relationship orientation truly work is that it's a universal experience for the customer regardless of the entry point," Gasterland explained. "It's adhering to that methodology at every touchpoint." Talbott recommends re-examining the bank's omni-channel approach from the customers' perspective, watching for areas that may cause confusion or seem unnecessary. "With relationship banking, you need to figure out how to earn relationships through other channels," she said. "Face-to-face is important, but you also need to have a digital engagement strategy."

4: Measure what matters.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) will vary by role and institution, but should ultimately reflect the bank's strategic priorities, according to Talbott. Common key indicators include checking account attrition rates, wallet share (number of accounts per customer), and inter-departmental (or cross-product line) referrals. Measuring a culture shift is difficult, Gasterland acknowledged, but also valuable. "The way to implement this culture is all predicated on talking to your people and asking them to provide the feedback necessary for you to make their lives easier," he said, explaining that Coulee Bank sends out a quarterly "Pulse" to its employees seeking that feedback. "The accumulation of that data allows us to see where we're moving the needle in the right direction." Ultimately, if the bank has succeeded in creating a shift from sales to relationships, it will impact the most basic metric of all: "Sometimes we over-measure, so the simplest solution is sometimes the best," said Middendorp. "Look at the bottom line."

No matter which approach the bank takes to building a relationship-based culture, it is important for senior leadership to recognize that such a strategy is a long-term investment and will require resources and focus accordingly. "This is not a one and done solution," said Gasterland. "That's ultimately the challenge." However, it is worth the effort. As customer expectations change and competition increases, strong relationships will become a necessary foundation for bank success. "Going forward, in order to remain relevant, this can't be something that you just hope to do well," said Talbott. 

Sales Math Consulting LLC is a WBA Associate Member.

By, Amber Seitz

Amber Seitz profileIn the fields of business leadership, human resources, and talent management, "diversity and inclusion" is more than just a buzzphrase; it's become a ubiquitous topic of discussion at conferences, around boardroom tables, and even at the proverbial watercooler. "Everyone is talking about diversity programs, but it's not just a popular trend," explained Michael Noack, COO of Executive and Professional Search at The QTI Group. "It's a baseline requirement."

Despite its popularity, many professionals still misunderstand what diversity and inclusion (D&I) is. "When most people hear the terms 'diversity' and 'inclusion' they assume it's only about race and gender," said Cedric D. Thurman, chief diversity officer at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. However, that can cause people to think diversity is either not about them or only about them, he continued. Instead, an effective D&I strategy focuses on recognizing all the differences between people and leveraging those differences (including abilities/disabilities, education, work experience, ethnicity, military service, socioeconomics, generation, background, and more) to build a stronger organizational culture. 

Another common misconception is that increasing the diversity levels in an organization will make it more difficult to manage. "People think managing diversity is more difficult because of different cultures," explained Elizabeth Strike, diversity and inclusion talent consultant at Associated Bank, Green Bay. "In reality, managing a team is difficult overall. No matter what the makeup, you need to understand your team members." 

That includes overcoming another common misconception: that individuals with disabilities can only perform entry-level work. Kurt Barikmo, business services consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), says the agency has recently placed individuals in roles as diverse as software engineer and freelance writer. "The reality is that individuals with disabilities participate in all forms of education and training and obtain employment in all industry sectors and all types of positions," Barikmo explained. "Companies have reported a positive impact on their bottom line when they are able to find and keep the talent they need, connect effectively with their customers and communities, and access incentives associated with hiring or training individuals with disabilities," Barikmo continued.

Perhaps the most important misconception about D&I to overcome is why it is important. Many believe it's simply the right thing to do. While true, the impact of an effective D&I strategy goes beyond that. It's also a tremendous benefit to the organizations that do it well, promoting customer allegiance and helping them to attract and retain top talent, both important factors in overall business success. 

Customer Allegiance

By implementing a D&I strategy well, banks can attract and keep customers by fostering a sense of belonging and allegiance with them, even as those customers (and their needs) change over time. "When a person enters a business and they see someone like themselves or a loved one, there is often an allegiance formed," Barikmo explained. That's why following a strategy to ensure that the bank's staff mirrors their customer base is so effective. "If your customers are a diverse mix of people, from a human connection standpoint you want to have the same representation at the bank," said Noack. That representation can form a connection with potentially untapped markets, as well. "More than 300,000 individuals in Wisconsin age 21-64 report having a disability," said Barikmo. "It makes good business sense to ensure that a company's workforce reflects those same individuals who the company hopes to serve."

D&I strategies are also a key component of any business's long-term success as customers change over time. "If you look at demographics, significant shifts are going to happen in the next 10-20 years," said Thurman. "The labor force will become a majority-minority population." Data suggests that within 20 years, the combined minority population will outnumber the majority population. "Your customers will change over time and their needs will change with them," Thurman continued. "As that happens, if you're not prepared to deal with that change, you'll lose out." In order to have a diverse staff equipped to deal with that change, banks need to start now. 

Talent Growth

D&I strategies can also help banks cultivate strength on the employee side. Noack explained how an effective D&I program makes recruiting easier. "Even in tight economies, you'll bring talent in the door if you have a reputation for hiring a diverse workforce—it's a value-add today for people considering work culture," he said. A well-executed D&I strategy will help banks prepare for generational shifts in the workforce, create innovative work environments, and provide advancement opportunities for all staff.

Just as demographic shifts will alter banks' customer bases, their employee bases will inevitably change as well, according to Thurman. "You need to think about how you attract talent that looks different than the talent you have today and how you create opportunities for them," he said, specifying that for financial services industry employees, an important area for diversity will be generational. 

Preparing for the largest workforce generational shift in history is also an opportunity for banks to create work environments that foster creativity and innovation, which also helps to attract talent. "Implementing a D&I strategy can help an institution attract top talent and improve performance," Strike explained. "It provides an environment for creativity." Research supports the idea that more diverse teams are also more productive and satisfied with their work. "Companies have reported increased team morale, motivation, and commitment when they have the opportunity to experience a more diverse and inclusive work culture," said Barikmo.

Finally, a strong D&I strategy can also help banks ensure their future leadership teams are as diverse as the communities and employees they serve. For example, Strike explained that Associated has developed six colleague resource groups, made up of employees, which then help the institution bring in diverse talent through an emphasis on workforce (representation across all levels and locations), workplace (creating and maintaining an inclusive environment), and marketplace (an inclusive approach to customers, clients, and markets). These colleague resource groups also generate development and advancement opportunities for their members. "We've promoted several employees because of their involvement in these groups," Strike explained. "They've helped us create a better environment." 

Take Action

With the clear benefits of implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy in mind, here are five action steps to help banks get started: 

  1. Get support from the top. Noack, Strike, and Thurman all emphasized the importance of both initial and sustained support from leadership, including modeling desired behavior. 
  2. Embrace opportunistic recruiting. This kind of strategy recognizes that—much like credit—when you need talent the most, it's most expensive and difficult to get. Instead of looking at recruiting as an event-based occurrence, like most companies do, consider it an ongoing process, Noack said. "Look at your potential turnover and vacancy rates, as well as areas of growth, and budget during strategic planning time so that you're able to be opportunistic," he explained. "You may end up over-staffing temporarily, before attrition catches up, but you'll have the top talent."
  3. Don't silo it in HR. Your D&I initiative doesn't need to be owned by the human resources department (though it can be). "An effective D&I strategy is part of your business strategy," Thurman explained. "It shouldn't be solely part of an HR strategy, because the issues you need to address might not be solely related to HR."
  4. Change hiring/promotion requirements. By removing or relaxing the requirements for certain roles, banks can make employment and advancement accessible to diverse candidates with different backgrounds. "When you're recruiting, soften your mandatory requirements so you can be open to considering transferrable skills," Noack advised. For example, looking at candidates with a certain amount of relevant experience rather than requiring a college degree. This does not mean lowering your standards, Thurman explained. It means thinking more broadly about skill sets. 
  5. Ask and share. "D&I is a journey," Strike said, advising bankers who are curious to reach out to other organizations who are doing similar work to learn about their challenges and successes. "Many organizations face the same challenges, and they're more than willing to speak to you about it."

Don't Miss the WBA HR Conference! 
Time is running out to register for WBA's annual conference designed by and for human resources bankers. Join your HR peers for the conference on May 9 in Stevens Point to learn more about D&I, attracting your next leaders, employment law, and getting motivated. View the full conference agenda and register online today.

D&I Resources for Banks

  • – The Job Accommodation Network website lists disabilities and what accommodations may be requested, along with estimated costs. 
  • Job Center of Wisconsin – Access data and reports related to employment in Wisconsin including wage, occupation, population, and unemployment data.
  • DVR Business Services Consultants – Services include workforce recruitment, connection to labor pools, and training solutions.
  • Helpful books: 
    • The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies by Scott Page
    • The Inclusion Paradox – The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity by Andrés Tapia
    • Blindspot by Mahzarin Banaji
    • The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson

QTI is a WBA Associate Member.

By, Amber Seitz


The challenges and stresses of 2020 and 2021 produced significant advances in bank operations, technology, and customer experience management. Bank responses elevated activities from ideas discussed at planning meetings to activities positioned to be part of “business as usual.” This webinar examines five business practices that must be part of every organization’s core competencies. Five focal points that need to migrate from unique projects to simply part of daily culture.

Five things that must be addressed as business as usual:

  • Talent management
  • Business development
  • Change management,
  • Technology as a strategy
  • Process improvement

A bonus topic will also be discussed:

  • 5.1 Customer experience management

Target Audience: Senior managers and leaders, emerging leaders, mid to upper level managers

Presenters: Tom Hershberger & Kyle Hershberger, Cross Financial

Registration Option: Live presentation $330

Recording available through December 8, 2022

Wage and hour laws address a multitude of issues including what must be included as compensable work time, minimum wage, the timing and method of payment of wages, and, perhaps most importantly, the proper payment of overtime. The laws are complex and can create significant legal liability when organizations are not assessing and adjusting their practices to comply with the law.

This webinar will review wage and hour basics with a focus on overtime pay and exemptions from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Common wage and hour “traps” will be addressed and emerging wage and hour issues with remote work will be covered.

What You’ll Learn

  • Key factors for overtime exemptions and where MLOs stand
  • Employees you believe are exempt from overtime might not be
  • Common wage and hour mistakes with remote and hybrid work arrangements
  • Best practices in policy development to support wage and hour compliance
  • Why the “picky little rules” can create substantial liability

Who Should Attend
Professionals who are involved in human resources, management of people, budgeting and the setting of wages, executives, and in-house counsel will benefit from the program.

Instructor Bio
Jennifer S. Mirus is the Co-Chairperson of the Labor & Employment team at Boardman & Clark LLP in Madison, Wisconsin. Mirus has been practicing employment law in Madison for over 24 years. Mirus represents employers in all aspects of employment relations, including hiring, discipline and terminations, wage and hour issues, discrimination, ADA, FMLA, and harassment. Mirus also has extensive experience representing financial institutions in all of their HR issues and enjoys conducting human resources and management trainings for clients of all sizes.

Registration Options

  • Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts – $279
  • Available Upgrades:
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD  + $140
    • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

These techniques can be applied to webinars, e-courses, or classroom training and are easy to implement in both new and existing training programs. Plus, you’ll receive an InterAction Training Toolkit to help you amplify your training effectiveness!

Five of our best practices will enhance your technical skills. They are surprisingly easy and will help you synergize your presentation with what you say and teach. The other five best practices will complete your toolbox with attention-grabbing techniques and skills by setting the right tone, focusing on the right objectives, and embracing adult learning principles.

You will notice a remarkable increase in learner engagement and a more natural interaction between speaker and screen. Stop fighting with your slides, start looking like a polished presenter, and register now.

What You’ll Learn
Five Practices for Creating Engaging PowerPoint Decks:

  • How to showcase handouts, training manuals or other paper documents
  • Rewording techniques for better audience engagement
  • Alternatives to the dreaded bullet-point list
  • Best practices for using photographs
  • Choosing font combinations for emphasis and legibility

Five Practices for Engaging Your Learners:

  • Prepare learners for a great and inviting experience
  • How to apply key adult learning principles
  • Zero in on learning objectives by organizing content in chunks and bits
  • Build tools that help learners be capable and independent
  • Be the best example of your brand

Who Should Attend
Anyone who is expected to train others, develops training programs, leads meetings, or represents your brand.

Instructor Bio
Heather Legge is a training specialist and certified executive coach, founder of Envision Success Inc, and author of Lead With Moxie. She is a senior training consultant for InterAction Training and is known for her presentation and delivery expertise.

Previously, she earned her master’s in business administration and spent over 15 years in multiple industries transforming organizational performance through business analysis, project management, training and employee development.

Legge is passionate about making a positive impact in her local community and far beyond. She is always engaged in several networking, professional, and philanthropic groups.

Registration Options

Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts $279

  • Available Upgrades:
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD + $140
    • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

When an employee has difficulty understanding the many kinds of products and services that may be provided to customers, it can be a challenging situation for the organization. Because there are so many options to choose from, it might be difficult for them to communicate the available options with a customer. To strengthen your business’s banking relationship with its customers, you must, however, ensure that it provides the appropriate products and services. Having the knowledge and education of each product and service may make a difference, and it has the potential to be a game-changer, which will result in a scenario in which everyone involved wins. When an employee is not knowledgeable about a product or service, they have a tendency to avoid having conversations about providing the appropriate product or service to customers.

There is a large number of employees who have never had the opportunity to gain the experience necessary to comprehend the fundamental advantages and features of the products or services that can make a difference in providing customers with the appropriate banking solution for their particular financial requirements. The foundations of banking products and services will be discussed in further depth during this webinar.

What You’ll Learn

  • Retail Banking vs Commercial Banking
  • Types of Personal Banking Products
  • Types of Business Banking Products
  • 80/20 Rule Technique
  • Keep things simple

Who Should Attend
Managers, Branch Managers, Assistant Branch Managers, Customer Service Representatives, Head Tellers, and Tellers can benefit from this webinar.

Presenter Bio
Carolyn D. Riggins is the founder and owner of CDR Consulting Services, LLC in Atlanta’s Greater District, Georgia. CDR Consulting Services specializes in training, coaching, team development, and detecting critical gaps.

For 35 years, Ms. Riggins worked in retail banking at First Florida Bank, Barnett Bank, Mercantile Bank, and TD Bank. Ms. Riggins increased her client relationships by 71 million dollars at TD Bank by providing valuable training and continued teaching her teams. Ms. Riggins has held a variety of management positions at various banks throughout her career. She held the positions of Assistant Vice President Store Manager, Vice President Hub Manager, and Vice President Retail Regional Manager under her supervision. Ms. Riggins was successful in these numerous leadership positions by creating, coaching, and educating her team to accomplish sales revenue growth, deposit growth, customer growth, loan growth, and compliance. Ms. Riggins has garnered numerous honors for being the region’s top-performing manager of the year.

Ms. Riggins has also developed, coached, and trained a number of her team members who have been recognized as high achievers in the region. Additionally, Ms. Riggins uses her bachelor of applied science in management and organizational leadership from St. Petersburg College to develop team members’ abilities to succeed in their roles. One of Ms. Riggins’ aims is to consistently train and coach by utilizing her knowledge and expertise to develop, transform, and affect exceptional leaders and team players on a daily basis. Ms. Riggins has now incorporated her financial expertise, coaching, training experience, abilities, and education into her business, CDR Consulting Services, in order to assist other businesses in achieving success.

Registration Options

Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts $279

  • Available Upgrades:
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD + $140
    • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

Call Centers create a competitive advantage for organizations that learn to create them well and train their agents to know what to say, what not to say, and how to sell while maximizing productivity and quality.

Every interaction the customer has with your institution is an opportunity to strengthen the customer relationship; turning your customers into loyal and raving fans. Being courteous and professional make the top of the list for any customer contact personnel, but nowhere is that more important than in the Call Center. Whether the call is simply to respond to a question or resolve a customer issue or increase the relationship through the sale of a product or service, the Call Center Agent’s call etiquette is on the line. Positive interactions with well-trained agents will increase customer lifetime value and institution brand.

Invest in your Call Center agents by ensuring they are well-trained to handle every call with courtesy and grace. It is the Call Center agent’s approach to call handling and customer service that determines if they will have the opportunity to increase the relationship with the institution but also turn the customer into a fan.

Covered Topics

  • Build rapport and connect with callers
  • Reduce escalated calls
  • Use professional call management procedures to handle calls with skill
  • Become a Customer Advocate
  • Utilize voice tone and keywords to show empathy
  • Problem-solve effectively for the upset and complaining callers
  • Sell, up-sell and cross-sell
  • Build a Plan for Improvement
  • Skill Improvement Tips
  • Become a Self-Directed Learner

Who Should Attend
Call Center Personnel, Supervisors, Trainers, and anyone with authority over call center contact personnel would benefit from this webinar.

Instructor Bio
Janice Branch has been a senior training consultant for InterAction Training for twenty years. She is a very seasoned presenter that has all the right stuff to wow her participants about the subject matter. Prior to joining InterAction Training, Branch was the senior manager of training for Consolidated Communications where she managed, designed, coordinated, and presented training programs for this multi-state telecommunications company with over 1000 employees.

Whether it is teaching how to coach, manage, lead, negotiate, service, sell or train at every level in an organization or if it is consulting on problem solving and servant leadership, Branch is the “go-to” person every bank wants to hear from. Participants appreciate her “been there, done that” humor along with her expert ability to facilitate learning.

Branch has obtained a bachelor of business administration with a major in management from Almeda University and is certified by the University of Houston in Leadership and Management. In addition, Branch has obtained trainer certifications from Achieve Global and Development Dimensions, Inc.

A native Texan, she enjoys many pursuits in addition to teaching and learning but none more than being a grandmother and tending to her ten acre home in Montgomery, Texas just north of Houston.

Registration Options
Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts $279

Available Upgrades:

  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
  • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD + $140
  • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

How successful do you expect your tellers to be? How successful do they want to be? How big is the gap between what you want and what they deliver on?

It’s a fact: Coaching your tellers decreases teamwork issues, teller drawer outages, compliance/audit infractions and customer dissatisfaction. This webinar teaches managers and supervisors how to improve their teller’s performance with on-purpose and spontaneous coaching. Looking for ways to encourage your tellers to cross-sell and knock it out of the park with sizzling customer service? Tune in and find out how to do just that. Do you wonder if some of your teller staff is just showing up instead of stepping up? Get busy putting effective coaching to work on your teller line.

This program will help you see how you can put coaching techniques into your leadership skills and get positive and meaningful results.

Covered Topics

  • Collaborate with you about what it means to succeed in this position
  • Self-evaluate if how they act and how they learn is getting the job done
  • Increase their professional maturity
  • Act and dress appropriately
  • Make a positive and memorable impression on the customer
  • Appropriate cell phone usage during work
  • Follow proper procedures when handling cash and cashing checks
  • Stay on top of what is required to be in-line with all audit and compliance matters
  • Spot opportunities with customers to cross-sell the right way
  • Elevate skills around balancing
  • Seek and accept feedback

Who Should Attend
Head Tellers, Teller Supervisors, Branch Managers and Trainers can all benefit from this webinar.

Instructor Bio
Janice Branch has been a senior training consultant for InterAction Training for twenty years. She is a very seasoned presenter that has all the right stuff to wow her participants about the subject matter. Prior to joining InterAction Training, Branch was the Senior Manager of Training for Consolidated Communications where she managed, designed, coordinated and presented training programs for this multi-state telecommunications company with over 1000 employees.

Whether it is teaching how to coach, manage, lead, negotiate, service, sell or train at every level in an organization or if it is consulting on problem solving and servant leadership, Branch is the “go-to” person every bank wants to hear from. Participants appreciate her “been there, done that” humor along with her expert ability to facilitate learning.

Branch has obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Management from Almeda University and is certified by the University of Houston in Leadership and Management. In addition, Janice has obtained trainer certifications from Achieve Global and Development Dimensions, Inc.

A native Texan she enjoys many pursuits in addition to teaching and learning but none more than being a grandmother and tending to her ten acre home in Montgomery, Texas just north of Houston.

Registration Options

  • Live Access, 30 Days OnDemand Playback, Presenter Materials and Handouts – $279
  • Available Upgrades:
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + $110
    • 12 Months OnDemand Playback + CD  + $140
    • Additional Live Access + $75 per person

Every company, regardless of industry, is trying to figure out how to attract and retain the right talent. Organizations are also striving to achieve their goals and fulfill their vision described in their strategic plan. But how do you achieve all — attracting and retaining talent while achieving your objectives and fulfilling your vision? Marci Malzahn shares how succession planning fits into your talent management program. She also gives you strategies and ideas on how to integrate your Talent Management Program with your company’s strategic plan.

In this webinar you will learn strategies to avoid losing your top talent, and how to establish a simple yet successful Talent Management Program, which in turn integrates into your Strategic Plan. You will walk away with strategies and tactics you can implement in your institution immediately.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the key components of a strong talent management program
  • How to conduct a talent assessment in your organization
  • A step by step process of how to integrate your talent management program into your strategic plan
  • Strategies on how to retain your top talent and attract the right talent
  • The importance of succession planning and how to get started at all levels

Target Audience: Human resources personnel including HR Director, managers, supervisors, and senior leadership of any organization

Marcia Malzahn, Malzahn Strategic

Registration Option
Live presentation $330

Recording available through July 14, 2022

The WBA School of Bank Management will start on Monday, May 9, 2022 at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn on Friday, May 13, 2022 by 4:00 p.m.

In today’s ever-changing, turbulent banking environment, it is important for bankers – especially those who have potential to rise within the institution – to have a clear understanding of the bank as a whole. The WBA School of Bank Management will provide bankers with:

  • An enhanced understanding of banking as a business.
  • Increased analytical skills and management techniques.
  • A well-rounded understanding of critical banking functions, their interrelationships and the determinants of profitability.
  • An opportunity to provide better customer service to internal and external bank customers through expanded knowledge and ability.
  • An awareness of the changing banking environment.
  • A self-assessment to learn your leadership style and find opportunities for growth and improvement.

Curriculum Includes:

  • The Business of Banking – identifying components of the bank’s balance sheet and income statement, key ratios and profitability analysis.
  • Economics, Money and Market – introduction to monetary policy, understanding of yield curves and interest rates, and a look at economic trends and the impact of a rising rate environment.
  • Understanding Your Bank’s UBPR – identifying and understanding key components of your bank’s Uniform Bank Performance Report.
  • The Lending Function of a Bank – provide an understanding of portfolio growth and management, importance of documentation, lending’s impact on the bank’s balance sheet and income statement, and processes of analysis and spreading, pricing and funding.
  • Bank Human Resources – outlines the functions and responsibilities of both the human resources department and key managers.
  • Compliance Management & Bank Operations – introduction to the regulatory and examination processes, as well as overall bank operations and risk management.
  • Bank Marketing – focus on the role of the marketing function in the bank’s strategic planning and profitability.
  • Retail Banking – understanding the importance of market research, product development, product pricing, and product delivery, techniques for effective customer relationship management.
  • Asset/Liability Management – develop an awareness of the sources and uses of bank funds, and the factors that must be considered in effective management of bank assets and liabilities.
  • Leader’s Self-Assessment – creating self-awareness of your leadership/management styles and identifying opportunities for growth.

Who Should Attend?

This school has been designed for bank emerging leaders, management trainees, experienced bank managers who are new to the banking industry, and bankers interested in pursuing a career in bank management and leadership.

Many bankers will attend this school as a way of preparing for future enrollment in the Graduate School of Banking program.

Registration Information:

The registration fee of $1,395 includes program registration, instruction and materials, and daily lunch and refreshment breaks.

There’s no question we are living through a dynamic period in history. With low unemployment levels, a diminished labor market and the effects of COVID barely in our rear-view mirror, companies must focus on their people — now more than ever. The ability to work remotely will forever change how and where we perform our work. High performers have choices and can be lured away by the competition. It behooves employers to analyze their workforce and implement creative practices to retain their talent.

This webinar will cover

  • The challenges organizations face due to low availability of talent in the current market
  • Identify today’s unique workplace issues requiring employers to implement proactive strategies to retain talent
  • Define strategies to retain top talent that can be implemented immediately

Target Audience
Human resource officers, supervisors, CEOs

Barbara Low, Wipfli LLP

Registration Option
Live presentation $275

Recording available through May 2, 2022

In this webinar bank sales leaders will gain insights into how to lift their team members’ prospecting efforts to the next level. We’ll examine specific tactics you can employ to improve your bankers’ chances of success in proactive prospecting in today’s environment

Topics Covered
The mistakes bank sales leaders make in driving prospecting
Assessing your team’s skills
Defining expectations regarding prospecting
Anticipating typical challenges
Coaching the top of the funnel
(Re) Building prospect lists
Helping your bankers get in the door
Building business acumen
Pre-call, post-call coaching
Why making joint calls is key to prospecting success
Outside resources for sales leaders

Target Audience
Sales Leaders working with commercial, small business and private banking teams.

Joe Micallef, Grow Up Sales Consulting

Live presentation – $225

Recording available through Jan. 25, 2022