Future Ready KeyBank Fuel50

How “Future Ready” Helped KeyBank Prepare for an Uncertain Tomorrow

Right before the global pandemic, the World Economic Forum declared that the world was facing a reskilling emergency and that more than 1 billion people would need to be reskilled by 2030.

The WEF called for a worldwide “Reskilling Revolution,” and predicted that “almost one-third of all jobs worldwide are likely to be transformed by technology in the next decade … By just 2022, the World Economic Forum estimates 133 million new jobs in major economies will be created to meet the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Many organizations heard that call, including Cleveland, Ohio-based KeyBank, and they not only heard it but set out “on a journey to equip our employees with the right technical, analytical, business, and people skills focused on today AND the future.”

A company-wide push to reskill, upskill, and retrain

Two of the executives leading KeyBank on that journey — Dean Kontul, Executive VP & Chief Information Officer, and Carole Torres, Senior VP & Chief Learning Officer — shared their story at the FuelX Talent Mobility Conference, with a presentation titled Future Ready @KeyBank: Positioning our Teammates for Today and the Future.

It’s a company-wide initiative to reskill, upskill, and retrain the bank’s workforce that they call “Future Ready.”

KeyBank is a 190-year-old regional bank, based in Ohio, with 17,000 employees, $170 billion in assets, and branches in 15 states. They compete in the consumer retail space in those branches and have capabilities that span capital markets, public and private debt-equity, and syndication derivatives.

As Dean Kontul says, the organizational vision is straightforward: to make KeyBank the best regional bank in the U.S. The “Future Ready” program — a proactive approach to upskilling and reskilling their team — is seen as a critical tool to help make that happen.

As Carole Torres explained it:

“We need more teammates in roles where people skills are required — things like creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and storytelling. So, we have done a lot as far as offering training, development, experiential opportunities across these three pillars as part of our ‘Future Ready’ journey. And we feel that by developing all these skills across our workforce, we will have employees that can more easily move across roles (so some of that internal talent mobility that Fuel50 helps us with), work on special projects and functions, and really be better equipped for what’s ahead.”

“What we have built … is a leading-edge program”

At the heart of the “Future Ready” program is a push to both reskill and upskill current employees who are already dedicated to the KeyBank mission. They not only have worked in the organization for some time and are familiar with the larger corporate culture but focusing on them makes sense because they have the experience and background to meet the needs of what will be required in the new and different jobs that are developing now and in the future.

But how did KeyBank get the “Future Ready” program off the ground?

You should listen to Carole and Dean’s FuelX presentation to get the full picture, but a critical part of it, according to Dean, was that “we found a great Capstone product (that brought in) Fuel50 as part of our ‘Future Ready’ journey.”

Future Ready KeyBank Fuel50

The first, early steps were taken with a small group of employees that embraced the many changes that were coming. As Carole put it:

“We created a core team of approximately 20 teammates, not only from our technology and operations organization but also our HR and communication teams. […] What we have built, we believe, is a leading-edge program, and we feel that if we can continue our momentum, it will help us remain ahead of our competition. But building this program wasn’t just about staying ahead of our peers, it was really a matter of our longer-term success and growth for [KeyBank]. …

The goal of this program, at its core, was to embrace the fact that technology changes are coming more rapidly … that is just going to accelerate the pace of work. And as a result of that, (we needed to) make sure that we prepared our employees with the skills they needed to enhance their career, as well as to meet client needs.”

Here’s the big question – just how is “Future Ready” doing? Pretty good, according to Carole Torres.

“Over 93% of technology and operations teammates have participated in some type of training or development outside of what’s required in compliance training. And that’s a 60% increase that we’ve seen where teammates are going out, signing up for classes, doing some self-paced learning, shadowing, engaging in our enterprise mentoring program, taking advantage of those 10 hours per quarter that we’re able to offer them.”

Remaining competitive for both employees AND clients

Dean Kontul listed four (4) key takeaways from the successful launch of the “Future Ready” program that KeyBank is focused on as they move ahead:

  1. We have a strong foundation of “Future Ready” initiatives, tools and capabilities, and are gaining traction across Key.
  2. We have made big changes to the way we work, and our workforce is gathering pace like never before … and learning and growth in the workplace face an unprecedented level of change.
  3. We are on a journey to equip our employees with the right technical, analytical, business, and people skills focused on today and the future.
  4. By providing the tools, resources, and technology to equip employees, we can foster a mindset of continuous, life-long learning and growth at Key.

Carole Torres probably spoke for many at KeyBank when she described the many organizational benefits from “Future Ready” like this:

“We are taking a position that ‘Future Ready’ is an assurance that we will remain competitive for both our employees and clients. We find that it’s critical to attract, grow, and retain talent – it’s not just a nice thing to do for our teammates, but it’s critical to our success. Our leadership recognizes that people are our greatest asset and investing in our team members is paramount to ensuring that they are equipped to meet our client’s current needs as well as their future needs.”

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