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Company: Bank of America
Category: Best Use of Performance Support

Nomination: The Optimal Financial Center (OFC)



Bank of America is focused on serving the financial needs of our clients. To ensure all teammates are equipped to provide the world-class service clients expect and deserve, it is critical to invest in acquiring, developing, and retaining talent. The Academy, created in 2016, is the onboarding, training, and development organization that prepares over 80,000 teammates in the Consumer Bank, Merrill and Private Bank to successfully and confidently serve the needs of our clients.

In 2018, through an analysis of financial center performance, we identified that teammates were over-indexing strengths, and not spending enough time improving areas of opportunity. The organization set out on a path to achieve balanced performance and consistency through a pilot called the Optimal Financial Center (OFC). This performance support tool would improve consistency through five keys that enable sustainable behaviors and results, leading to balanced performance across all goals. These Five Keys set the foundation for success by ensuring the highest standards are in place at all times:

1. Proper Environment
2. Passionate People
3. Preparation and Practices
4. Performance and Execution
5. Perseverance and Reflection

OFC engages teammates through reference materials, videos, online resources, diagnostic quizzes and self-evaluations to identify and remediate performance gaps.

After a successful pilot, OFC launched nationwide in 2019 to 30,000 teammates working in our 4,300 financial centers with full reporting capabilities and a recognition/designation program. Since launch, the company has begun to see a shift in the culture through the implementation of this program and is also starting to see a vast improvement in behaviors.

Reporting was created to track quarterly and annual performance, enabling leadership to manage performance across all metrics and highlight those who achieve desired performance. Employees are granted access to OFC to aid in addressing performance gaps that had been identified. The following performance goals need to be met in order to be named “optimal

Achievement of:
-client satisfaction scores to goal
-operational excellence scores to goal
-referrals to partners to goal
-sales revenue and deposit growth goals

The designation and recognition program celebrates teammates who are able to achieve optimal performance on a quarterly and annual basis. Quarterly, all centers that have achieved this designation are recognized through an article on the company’s intranet site and receive a certificate of designation. Annually, teammates are awarded “optimal designation” and a recognition award if they achieved all four metrics for a minimum of three quarters in the previous calendar year. If they achieved all four metrics for all four quarters the previous year, they receive the “optimal designation” and a higher valued recognition award. Recognition awards include points that can be used to select merchandise or gift cards.

OFC was developed to be a one-stop shop for teammates to find resources and reference guides to help them find the answers they are looking for when developing a plan to improve their performance. The term “Optimal” is now engrained in our company culture and is part of every conversation. Local leadership leverages the tool as they conduct visits and review employee performance. Our forward-looking strategy to create the financial center of the future is even called Path to Optimal.

The organization has seen a 216% improvement from the financial centers in 2018 that were optimal all four quarters to those achieving optimal status in 2019.

As OFC continues to evolve, it will see additional changes in the coming year to add in a diagnostic center where teammates can enter in symptoms to see where the business may need further investigation and diagnosis to impact results.

Because of the success of OFC, The Academy recently developed and launched the Optimal Contact Center for call center teammates.