Training Top 125 Best Practice: First Horizon National Corporation’s Retail Conference

Leaders were educated on utilizing branch optimization that leverages people, processes, and systems to reduce the overall operating cost of First Horizon National Corporation’s footprint.

Today, the banking industry is experiencing unprecedented change and is challenged to control expenses. As more customers use online services, banking institutions are experiencing a change in customer delivery preferences, which means fewer customers going into a physical branch. This shift in delivery means reducing branch staffing to historic lows, while increasing the responsibility of each employee to handle multiple jobs. Asking employees to do “more with less,” while those employee see jobs being eliminated and branches being closed, requires strong front-line leaders, equipped with the right message.

How can you ensure that the message, as it travels down the communication channel, is not diluted? How can you make sure supervisors “think like owners” by understanding the business reasons behind the change? Finally, how can you create such a special event that leaders leave feeling appreciated, inspired, and equipped to implement the change?

The 4,000-plus employees of First Horizon National Corporation (FHNC) offer regional banking, wealth management, and capital market services through the First Horizon family of companies. FHNC’s executive leaders, in partnership with the Center for Learning and Performance (CLP), made the intentional and purposeful decision to focus on the training/development of its front-line supervisors in a unique way by implementing the Retail Conference. The 2015 theme was “Move Forward.”

Program Details

Corporate management/executives, regional sales managers, financial center managers, and product line managers attended the two-day event. Executives shared company strategy and vision with the front-line leaders, and various speakers on the agenda shared information relevant to the banking industry. The importance of having loyal, engaged retail teams that are well trained, highly motivated, and dedicated to delivering exceptional service was discussed. Renewed focus on sales and service performance is a high priority, to be achieved through quality customer conversations and strategic activity management with an emphasis on improving market share gaps. Leaders were educated on utilizing branch optimization that leverages people, processes, and systems to reduce the overall operating cost of FHNC’s footprint.

One of the many highlights of the conference was a vendor expo. Numerous department heads and business partners were on site to educate employees and provide resources. The CLP participated as a vendor. The networking opportunity was beneficial in creating solid partnerships.


Since the inaugural Leadership conference, the company has seen an 8.9 percent increase in retail deposit growth and a 2.5 percent increase in retail loan growth. Its ranking in the JD Powers Customer Service Survey has improved from 7th place to 4th place. Leaders in attendance provided positive feedback regarding the experience at the conference and expo. Attendees agreed that the conference was informative and better equipped them with the necessary tools to educate their employees on the company’s overall strategy. Leaders commented that the conference “reenergized sales efforts” and point to the Retail Leadership conference as another example of why FHNC continues to rank nationally as one of the best places to work.

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