Jamie Davis, Education Manager

Return on Investment (ROI) is a term you, being a banker, most likely understand well. Banks and businesses in general are always looking for ways to increase their ROI. When comparing the ratio of money spent versus money gained, the investment that provides the highest ratio is the best option, even if the costs are higher initially. This concept doesn’t solely apply to money, but also in many aspects of our life. Education is a good example. Historically, college graduates make more money than those without a college degree. People with a Masters Degree make more than people with a Bachelors Degree and so forth. The total cost of education increases for each degree earned, but so does the earning potential.

This concept of education, creating a better return on our investment, also holds true with your bank. The more educated employees are in the policies of the bank, the more secure the bank becomes and hopefully, in return, more profitable. A bank with a poor reputation will struggle, if they are competing with a bank with a stellar reputation. It only takes one employee to make one mistake to tarnish a bank’s reputation. For example, sending a forward from the bank’s email system, throwing a computer (PC) in the garbage, allowing someone into the secure areas of the bank, or allowing access to a PC without following the proper procedures, could all lead to a security breach and tarnished reputation. As a bank, regulations require you to have policies in place for file retention, Internet use, email use, password requirements, etc. No matter how much you spend on security or how many policies you write, if employees are not trained on the correct procedures, then the money spent and policies written are worthless. Spending just a small amount of time, developing an education program, and ensuring it is implemented correctly, can pay dividends for you later.

Besides training employees about the bank’s policies, they should also be trained in their position. This too will require an initial investment, but if done right, could create savings over the long-run. There are hundreds of places to receive training, but what works best for you depends on your location and your employee’s position. Software/host vendors often offer training on their products. To be able to use any application to its fullest, training is almost always required with software applications. Many employees would benefit from a computer class, customer service training, public speaking, or technical writing class — all of which might be offered within your local community. Safe Systems offers classes and webinars to educate/train Administrators and Information Security Officers. As an Administrator grows in his/her position, he/she will discover ways for the bank to advance and cut costs that an employee with no point of reference might otherwise miss.

Running a business is an expensive venture, and there appears to always be someone higher on the corporate ladder that we must report to regarding spending and profitability. Employees typically report to Vice Presidents who report to the President who reports to the Board of Directors. For your efforts to be successful, you must have everyone, from the top of the corporate ladder all the way to the bottom, onboard regarding the investment in an education program. Otherwise, the cost is overanalyzed and the long-term results (more secure, better reputation, better production from employees, etc.) are ignored. If this happens, an education program will become nothing more than an expense, instead of an investment.

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