Welcoming New Hires To VCNB
What does it mean to belong to the VCNB family? That’s exactly what we cover in quarterly New Hire Trainings hosted by VCNB executives and HR Department. This relaxed training day covers how the bank’s core values influence every decision and action taken every day.
While new employees are taught the nuts and bolts of how to do their jobs, we want them to know more than how to open accounts or how to run reports. We believe it’s important for them to embrace the spirit of who we are and who we want to be as a company.
The most recent new hire training had ten participants who got to know the President, Head of Human Resources, Regional Retail Managers, Head of Retail, Head of Commercial Lending, Vice President of Marketing and several longtime employees. Each of these people played an important role in telling the bank’s story beginning with how the core values were born all the way back in 1867 when Dan Will decided to open his bank and up through the present culture.
At the time he opened his bank, Will operated a general store in McArthur but saw a need for a bank. He began by allowing customers to keep their money in his store’s safe and offered customers the option to buy goods on time before formally organizing his bank. His decision to open his bank represented each of the five core values the bank still holds dear. He invested in the needs of his Community, built Relationships with his customers and was forward thinking by embracing Progress. He also proved his commitment to Leadership in the community and to Integrity by doing the right thing for his customers and community.
Each of these Core Values was discussed and illustrated by individuals like Consumer Lending Officer JJ Wright who talked about the bank’s commitment to Integrity. One example of integrity that JJ gave involved a snowstorm last winter. “We had employees watching the road conditions and worried about how they would get home after work. Then all of the sudden, they began announcing branch closures in places where the roads were bad. We eventually closed the whole bank because it was getting bad everywhere. We decided to set aside profits to do the right thing for our employees and our customers,” he said. “We know that if we do the right thing for employees, they will take care of our customers.”
Regional Retail Manager Jodi Motta presented on Community and talked about how the bank encourages employees to get involved in volunteer projects and how, as a community bank, VCNB attempts to support local efforts as much as possible. “We do this through community service, through shopping and eating locally and through corporate giving and financial literacy programs. We look out for the community’s needs in every way we can.”
One highlight of the day was hearing from longtime employees about their VCNB experience. At this training, Internal Auditor Laura Fain talked about her six-year career with the bank. She began as a Teller in Jackson, quickly becoming a Personal Banker and then Assistant Branch Manager. But she switched gears, taking the knowledge gained from her time in a branch to become an Internal Auditor. “I have been able to progress and grow as an employee and to feel like I was able to branch out and try new things,” she said.
President Mark Erslan told the group about his own experience, beginning as a Management Trainee straight out of college. During his 31-year career, Mark learned that he loves helping people achieve their goals. “In the beginning, I thought I didn’t like sales but soon learned that meeting people, hearing their stories and helping solve their problems really appealed to me,” he said.
He went on to describe his career path from Management Trainee to Branch Manager and into the world of lending where he was able to grow as a banker and eventually into the role of VCNB President.
He offered some advice for the newcomers. “Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What they see, how they’re greeted - these things are important. We encourage you to take an interest in the customer and take pride in the bank. That’s important.”
The day also included a discussion about the things that make VCNB different. As a community bank, VCNB is able to encourage bankers to build meaningful relationships with customers and to empower bankers to take ownership through problem resolution. Niche products like log cabins, land and mobile home loans are among the things that set VCNB apart.
There was also a discussion about the growing pains that come with a growing bank including maintaining a consistent culture and service standards across sixteen branches and two operations centers. As Mark pointed out though, there are many wonderful opportunities including career opportunities for employees. “The next president of the bank could be sitting in this room,” he said.
Another benefit of working for VCNB is that employees from across the bank have the opportunity to participate in the Strategic Planning Committee which helps to guide the bank’s future. Executive Vice President of Human Resources Annamarie Qualls encouraged these newcomers to share their ideas. “The smallest suggestion can make a big impact,” she told them.
The day ended with a service project where the group split into teams to pack snack boxes that were later delivered to police and fire stations in several communities. It’s a small gesture meant to encourage new bankers to think of ways to volunteer and help out when possible.
Employee Development and Recruitment Officer Kyle Exline organizes the training and she told the group that service is integral to the bank’s identity. “Our Core Values aren’t just a poster in the break room. It’s expected to be integrated in who we are and everything we do so we always end this day with a service project.”
While New Hire Trainings sometimes include different people and activities, the message is always clear. We want the bank’s values of Community, Relationships, Progress, Integrity and Leadership to be ingrained in the moral compass of every VCNB employee and that we hope each of our employees will stay and find ways to grow as so many others who have come before them.
Pictured above - In front, from left, are Logan Teller Kyndal Nutter, Jackson Personal Banker Courtney Trent, Customer Service Representative Theresa Thompson and Customer Service Representative Jessica Tinker. In back are Logan Teller Alex Erb, Jackson Personal Banker Brandon Gilliland, McArthur Teller Colt Harper and Logan Teller Emma Skaggs. McArthur Teller Jacey Ross is not pictured.