Training Top 125 Best Practice: TIAA's Product Proficiency Training

TIAA developed a matrix that identifies the proficiency level expected for each role to be successful in educating the clients it serves about the firm’s proprietary products. After consulting with stakeholders on the specific learning needs across these roles, TIAA designed a multifaceted learning solution.

For nearly 100 years, financial services firm TIAA’s annuity solutions have been foundational to ensuring its clients have access to income in retirement that they cannot outlive. As advocates for its clients, TIAA’s front-line employees must demonstrate a strong knowledge base of TIAA products. To best enable these employee groups to have impactful interactions with its clients, TIAA took a disciplined approach to building product proficiency in a comprehensive yet customized fashion.

Program Details

TIAA began by interviewing subject matter experts and front-line employees to gain an understanding of the various client-facing roles, current knowledge level regarding annuity products, challenges faced when educating clients, and the unique learning needs across business areas.

The firm followed these sessions with an in-depth analysis of the product proficiency levels across all client-facing roles. As a result, TIAA developed a matrix that identifies the proficiency level expected for each role to be successful in educating the clients it serves about the firm’s proprietary products. After consulting with stakeholders on the specific learning needs across these roles, TIAA designed a multifaceted learning solution.

The current Product Proficiency program includes the following elements:

  • “The Way Annuities Work”: A series of instructor-led, collaborative learning map activities delivering foundational knowledge on TIAA’s core annuity products
  • “Product Knowledge Snack” videos: Bite-sized, animated videos that refresh current knowledge and build proficiency on key concepts. The videos are made available through a virtual vending machine on TIAA’s internal Web page
  • “TIAA Adaptive”: An adaptive learning experience that provides a unique learning path allowing the learner to demonstrate 100 percent mastery proficiency of the stated learning objectives
  • Peer-to-Peer Application: Facilitated team activities using traditional games such as Jeopardy! and roulette to provide opportunities for learners to practice their knowledge among peers

Evaluation metrics include a combination of the following:

  • Kirkpatrick Level 1 learner reaction feedback and surveys
  • Level 2 reporting focused on accuracy, confidence, and time elapsed to demonstrate proficiency
  • Level 3 behavioral observation surveys to consultants and managers 60 to 90 days post-training; saturation levels to track consumption of specific learning items
  • Level 4 client satisfaction surveys

Results

  • Average Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars for the Product Knowledge Snack videos
  • Learner reaction to TIAA Adaptive: “This is the new standard for learning in the future. I like the concept and feel that this course delivered on the ability for a learner to learn at their own pace and level of expertise.”
  • Level 3 behavioral observation surveys indicate: “I regularly apply the skills discussed in the trainings with clients” rated 8.6 on a 10-point scale where 10=Strongly Agree
  • Client Satisfaction surveys: Show a 7 percent increase year-over-year in client perceptions of expertise and consultation

Efforts will continue into 2018 to include packaging of existing and future training elements into a multi-tiered product certification program aligned to roles based on expected proficiency level.

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