INDIANAPOLIS-Financial Center FCU has launched G2, a mentorship program designed to help mold the next generation of credit union leaders.

G2 (short for "Generation Two") was the brainchild of Administrative Director Mark Moulton, who said that succession planning often focuses so much on executive-level staff that back-office and support staff are forgotten about.

"As positions become available for whatever reason (promotion/retirement) who's going to back fill those spots? The people that have the experience from within," he said. "We don't have it, and most organizations don't doa good job of having a deep and well-developed bench."

Moulton discussed the idea with for the program with CEO J. Kevin Ryan, who brought in other members of the executive team to help craft the program and ensure that it had the full backing of senior management.

"There are various programs that CUNA, NAFCU or NCUA may offer, but it's usually for those who have a little bit of meat in their experience and those who are pretty well-versed in their fields," said Moulton.

G2 is designed for those with less experience, who may only have a college degree but have potential and hope to one day rise to an executive position. "They may have a goal to be the CFO or VP of finance, but with the training they're going to need to assume those positions-such as business writing, image and etiquette, performance management-they're going to be at a loss when they try to apply for those positions and go through the interview process."

The program currently has eight mentors working with eight mentees, and all participants take part in a four-module course that covers a variety of departments:

* Module 1: Communication (image and etiquette, presentation skills)

* Module 2: Leadership (motivation, change management)

* Module 3: Interpersonal skills (emotional intelligence, handing member service issues)

* Module 4: Performance management (two courses on supervisory management, as well as a course on managing team performance)

Participants also make formal presentations throughout the year to senior management and the board of directors, and are also required to read various business books as part of the curriculum.

Moulton said that FCFCU hopes that as a result of G2 training costs will decrease and the credit union will see an uptick in promoting employees to higher positions.

Moulton conceded that Finance Center may be sinking significant time and effort into training employees who move on to work in higher-level positions at another CU, but said those considerations didn't factor into planning the G2 program, as "that's a danger at any institution." "I heard a quote years ago, 'I'd rather train them and have them leave, than not train them and have them stay.'"


Not A 'Shoe-In'

"We would hope that because of the investment and the opportunities we can afford them here, that they would stay," he said. But G2 also stresses to participants that the course is not a guarantee of promotion-either in-house or at another credit union.

"We told the mentees up front that this program itself is not a guarantee that if you apply for something internally you'll get it," said Moulton. "It will certainly help you, but we can't guarantee that X manager here will say 'You graduated from the G2 program, you're a shoe-in.'"

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