Custom Training as a Business Solution: How Monarch Institute Solved a Big 4 Bank’s Soft Skills Challenge
An Australian ‘Big 4’ bank faced an upskilling challenge at scale: equipping their staff to handle tough conversations with grace. Here’s how Monarch Insitute helped them fill the soft skills gap.
In a nutshell
Mind the soft skills gap
It was February 2020, and Australia’s Big 4 banks was facing a skills problem: a need to elevate their communication skills, both internally and externally.
They needed to upskill fifty highly trained financial services professionals and paraplanners. Competent, skilled staff whose content knowledge was comprehensive — but sometimes struggled with communication. These crucial soft skills would enable them to provide better feedback and handle difficult situations.
Though united by their need for soft skills, this group was anything but homogenous. Some were longstanding staff, while others were brand new to the organisation. Scattered across Australia, they came from a range of skill levels, experience, and backgrounds. And for some, this kind of training would be a completely new experience.
A one-size-fits-all solution wouldn’t do, so the bank put out a tender for a tailored training program to meet their needs.
Agility and precision tailoring
That’s where Monarch Institute stepped in. Since 2011, they have forged a strong history of providing training in the financial services industry. This, combined with their agility to create tailored programs at speed, made them perfectly poised to deliver the custom learning solution.
As an agile organisation, we were able to help solve the problem. By drawing on existing materials and experience and adding customised content, our team created a really valuable program, and it was great to be able to help a long-standing partner.
CEO, Monarch Institute
The course development process included five stages:
For Monarch’s Course Development team, the first step was to clarify needs with the team leaders and staff. To do this, they conducted a communication diagnostic over the phone. Next, they designed a tailored, interactive program that both responded to those needs and incorporated frameworks from nationally recognised qualifications — in just three weeks.
Course material for diverse learning styles
When creating the course material, Monarch used software that caters for different learning styles. PDFs, videos, simulations, and interactive quizzes throughout the material ensured not only that the content was appealing and intuitive, but that there was something to suit everyone in this diverse group.
Learning design informed by national standards
To provide a solid foundation grounded in industry-standard skills, Monarch drew from a nationally recognised qualification: the Diploma of Leadership and Management. They then tailored this training to the learners’ needs.
Course material covered:
Leveraging the best of digital and in-person
Providing digital content also helped to maximise the value of in-person workshops, and Monarch made pre-reading available for all learners so that they could turn up to the workshop already familiar with the grounding concepts. Monarch enlisted qualified leadership and communication trainers to run interactive ‘Advanced Communication Skills’ workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Case studies and breakout groups added context and variety, encouraging participation and engagement. Monarch also provided the bank with professional recordings of the workshop, along with all workshop notes. Hosted on Monarch’s Leaning and Management System (LMS), learners could access these course materials online, at a time and place that suited them.
Assessing for success
When learners finished the course, they completed an assessment. Learning outcomes were informed and guided by ASQA’s nationally recognised diploma qualification:
If successful, Monarch Institute awarded the staff member a Certificate of Attainment.
Stronger communication lines and increased confidence
Monarch Institute was able to provide the client with highly customised, practical, engaging training for a diverse group of people over three states. They blended modern approaches to learning with proven quality frameworks, building a course informed by nationally recognised qualification frameworks. And all in a tight timeframe.
Not only are leadership now more confident that their staff are trained to the highest standard, but the staff themselves have shown confidence with these interpersonal skills. Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive and many expressed desire and curiosity to dive even deeper into the topics covered.
What participants had to say
A good blend of theory and practice. I left with a positive outlook, and areas which can be improved were identified.
Very useful information that we often do not get time to think about.
I took valuable information and knowledge out of the course. Role-playing confirmed my lack of preparation for difficult conversations; it was a humbling experience.
Through a combination of engaging digital learning and interactive in-person workshops, this major bank met their business objective of elevating service quality across the financial services department.
Tailored training can provide the best of both worlds: innovative, agile learning that uses technology to full advantage — while leveraging the tried-and-tested quality frameworks of nationally recognised qualification design.