Two Keys to Success: Training and Transparency

Culture June 5, 2018

Two Keys to Success: Training and Transparency

Jason Richmond
Jason is passionate about helping large companies embrace outstanding culture. He engages with clients by sharing his passion for learning and instilling a sense of leadership and confidence with everyone.

For some companies, the initial onboarding process is considered the most important to ensure new employees get started on the right foot. From day one, there is extensive training, sit downs with leadership and shadow sessions to give them every tool necessary for success. While this preliminary training is undeniably important, it’s the leaders that recognize the need for continued education and guidance that see the most long-term growth for the companies they work for—and Mark Carawan, Chief Compliance Officer at Citigroup, is certainly one of them. Additionally, Carawan says that a culture of transparency is necessary to ensure that the training they are providing is not only understood by everyone but is being felt by those that continuously interact with their company. Here are four ways to get started:


“With over 200k employees—and most of them having daily interactions with our customers—it’s important to train our team members to follow all protocols and understand our values from the beginning. Without this training, they would be unaware of what we expect as a company, which negatively impacts everyone—especially our clients. We want to provide ‘responsible finance’ to those interested in our services, so it’s imperative to our culture that everyone has a clear understanding of what we stand for and how to get the job done correctly.”

To facilitate this, Citi works with their employees—specifically the ones in the call centers that are engaging the customers most frequently—on how to respond to various situations, disclose all necessary information and provide opportunities for questions and clarifications in form of a script that they can rely on for help and guidance.

Taught Down Training

Citi also believes in comprehensive “taught down training” for the top 40k employees, starting with the CEO. “We need people to know how important our values and customers are to us, so we begin by training our leaders, who then train their direct reports and so on and so forth. It’s by setting the foundation with a top down approach that we can ensure everyone is on the same page.”

Reinforce and Recognize

Additionally, Carawan and Citi know that the training doesn’t end once the meeting is adjourned. With the need for continued reinforcement, Citi provides ongoing training through webinars and other online tools. However, it’s not enough to simply train without recognizing the efforts of the team to meet those expectations. “I have a strong personal view that if you reinforce with positive recognition, you’ll develop a culture of encouragement and celebration. When you’re only focusing on the negative or what needs to change, it creates a culture of fear—and that’s never a great motivator.”

Perceptions and Scores

Finally, transparency comes back into play with Citi going out of their way to develop programs and surveys that follow up on their hard work. From ethics boards to score cards for their senior executives, Citi wants to know that their training is being put into action on a daily basis—and that it’s recognized from the inside out. “We ask the questions that we need answers to: ‘Do we have a culture of openness?’ ‘Are our leaders living our values?’ The transparency allows us to focus on the areas that need work so we can continuously grow. At the end of the day, it’s both about what we do and what we are perceived we are doing that matters—we need the two to align with one another.”