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Company: Bank of America
Category: Best Strategy for a Corporate Learning University

Nomination: The Academy at Bank of America



Briefly describe the nominated team or organization: its history and past performance (up to 200 words). Required

The Academy at Bank of America was created in 2016 as the onboarding, training, and development organization that prepares over 80,000 employees in Consumer & Small Business, Merrill and the Private Bank to confidently serve the needs of our clients. The Academy is a partnership between the business, Human Resources and Learning & Leadership Development organizations. This collaboration between learning & leadership development functions and business functions helps create a unique approach to learning.

In 2015, when Bank of America turned its strategy to deepening current client relationships, The Academy became a critical component to the solution. Tenured employees are more skilled at uncovering clients’ needs and The Academy would provide exceptional training to retain talent and reduce attrition.

The Academy’s programs provide robust coursework and dedicated training time. Innovative tools and resources support those efforts, delivering an environment focused on employee experience and career-pathing. Each employee receives a minimum of 80 hours of training when starting a new role. Depending on their career path, they can receive up to 1,000 additional hours in the first five years, as well as receive peer mentoring and coaching.

An organization of more than 500, The Academy is an investment in employees.

Outline the team’s or organization’s achievements since the beginning of 2019 that you wish to bring to the judges’ attention (up to 250 words). Required

Realizing that the continuous professional development is no longer a nice-to-have, The Academy knows it’s a necessity. In 2019, The Academy accelerated its growth and impact:

-68 programs (+26% year-over-year)

-45,000 participants (+20% year-over-year)

-11,000 career advancements (+16% year-over-year)

-Three new businesses, totaling nine individual Academies and an operations team

Bank of America invests in cutting-edge technology so employees can be effective and successful. We’ve introduced two simulators that immerse employees in realistic situations to develop skills and increase muscle memory of processes and products for improved client experiences.
Virtual reality simulators

-Piloted three simulators between 2019 and early 2020

-Content ranges from building empathy to identifying fraud

-More than 400 employees tested pilot simulators

-National rollout expected in late 2020

Interactive practice simulators

-2018 pilot with 26 modules to 30,000 financial center employees

-Added two simulators in 2019 to additional 30,000 employees

-140,000 lessons completed in 2019

-Over 250 lessons available

To better connect the employee to the client experience, The Academy launched a feedback tool in 2019, Teammate Voices. Teammate Voices is a platform that drives accountability and improvement by creating a continuum of feedback. This platform allows teammates to share feedback in real time, so leaders can take immediate action to improve the teammate experience. We have collected over 3,350 pieces of feedback for 67 programs.

Additionally, in January 2020 The Academy opened its first training facility in Charlotte to provide in-person training. Additional facilities are expected throughout 2020.

Explain why the achievements you have highlighted are unique or significant. If possible compare the achievements to the performance of other players in your industry and/or to the team’s or organization’s past performance (up to 250 words). Required

In 2018, a third-party research firm explored the best-in-class training and development organizations and identified common themes. The research shows that The Academy is already demonstrating the success factors of industry leaders: addressing diverse learning needs, linking to business outcomes and driving experiential learning. Further, The Academy is unmatched as it leads with several key initiatives that reinforce the company’s high-tech, high-touch objectives:

-Through The Academy, Bank of America is the first financial institution to offer virtual reality as a training solution.

-Interactive practice simulators are helping employees navigate our client systems with a fun, gamified approach to learning.

-The Academy Manager role, introduced in 2019, provides a dedicated, full-time coach, mentor and facilitator to support the employee’s experience in Academy training. Since it was introduced across all Academies.

Our 2019 achievements amplify our commitment to providing employees with the best experience so they can confidently meet the needs of our clients. These efforts support our circular strategic model:

-The Academy exists to help employees grow in their careers at Bank of America. In 2019, 11,000 career advancements were achieved.

-Through Academy programs, development paths increase speed-to-efficiency and reduce training time when moving to the next role.

-In doing so, employees stay at the company longer and turnover decreases. Between 2018 and 2019, turnover dropped an additional 2% and continues to trend down.

-With incremental business growth, we invest earnings back into our employee experience.

Reference any attachments of supporting materials throughout this nomination and how they provide evidence of the claims you have made in this nomination (up to 250 words). Optional

-Bank of America’s career site provides information about The Academy to internal and external job seekers.

-An Overview of The Academy provides a one-minute look at what The Academy is and how we support employees across the Consumer Bank, Merrill and the Private Bank.

-Employee Testimonial Videos 1 :three-minute segment featuring an employee speaking about their career journey and the resources — including The Academy — that have helped them be successful and feel cared for at Bank of America.

-The Evolution of The Academy showcases our organization’s timeline from inception to current state.

-In the fall of 2019, Head of The Academy John Jordan spoke with Future of Work’s Jacob Morgan about how The Academy supports employees throughout their careers and creates paths to success. John also shared insights with Grads of Life on Forbes.com’s BrandVoice.

Optional (but highly recommended), add to your entry up to 10 webpage links and up to 10 document uploads to support your case to the judges. These might be press articles, press releases, videos, work samples, internal or external reviews, or employee feedback, for example.

Bank of America’s career site

Overview of The Academy

Employee Testimonial Video 1

Future of Work podcast

Grads of Life on Forbes.com