FREE SUBSCRIPTION Includes: The Advisor Daily eBlast + Exclusive Content + Professional Network Membership: JOIN NOW LOGIN
Skip Navigation LinksHome / Blogs / Read Blog


Pathways to the Future -- Assessing Training Needs for 2014

October 30, 2013, 07:00 AM

In past posts, I have explored the growing knowledge gap in today’s equipment leasing workforce and the slow degradation of institutional and industry knowledge we see in the industry today. I also made some suggestions and challenges for addressing these concerns. Just for fun, though, let’s assume you are one of those companies on top of these issues and proactively addressing employee development. What are some of the steps you should be taking to prepare an effective professional development program in 2014?

My recommended steps fall into two categories: (1) addressing the fundamental and ongoing aspects of your programs, and (2) flexing those programs to accommodate any significant or upcoming changes in the knowledge environment. Let’s start with the fundamentals of the program since, without these, any efforts to address current and anticipated changes will not be effective.

The first step is to conduct or revisit each employee’s skill inventory in terms of required skills and demonstrated competencies. A sample competency level chart, as shown in Exhibit One, can be used to facilitate this process. The detailed core competencies for one of the positions in a typical company, an Account Executive or Sales Rep, are shown in Exhibit Two. The competencies should be based on both individual and institutional needs.

Chart showing Competency Level by Executive Positions


Core Competencies

Level One

  • Terminology used in the leasing industry
  • Differences between lending money and leasing equipment
  • Differences in how the product is marketed
  • Various functions and opportunities in the leasing company

Level Two

  • The size and nature of the industry
  • The competitive makeup of the industry
  • Nuances of different markets and the types of equipment leased
  • The leasing process and transaction flow
  • Familiarity with the lease document
  • The concept of form over substance
  • Basic components of leasing (tax, accounting, finance, legal)
  • Product terminology and differences
  • The reasons why lessees lease equipment and how leasing companies meet these needs
  • Familiarity with financial calculations and tools

Level Three

  • An appreciation of all aspects of the leasing business and how they relate to one another
  • The rules of FASB 13 and how they are applied
  • The tax rules and how they are applied
  • Legal issues and lessor protection
  • Basic concepts of finance and financial reporting
  • Proficiency with the HP calculator
  • Use of the lease agreement
  • Key issues in selling equipment leases
  • Company profit requirements and how they are achieved in the lease
  • Familiarity with pricing concepts

Level Four

  • Specific legal and regulatory compliance issues
  • Focused functional requirements
  • Concepts and skills directly related to job performance
  • Industry nuances and techniques
  • Hands-on application of skills in a real world environment
  • An in-depth understanding of a particular discipline are required
  • Detailed understanding of accounting, tax, credit or international issues
  • Need to coordinate a number of disciplines and see the interrelationship

I am assuming here that learning objectives for each required competency are in place and have been incorporated into relevant learning exercises and courses, as the purpose of the inventory assessment is to track progress and determine what additional training each individual requires. Once the skills that require development have been identified, the appropriate training courses can be determined and nominations to those courses secured.

As I have noted, the above steps should already be established and part of your ongoing employee development program. What then, are some specific items to consider for enhancing your 2014 efforts? I would like to address these items from an external and internal perspective. A significant external factor, for instance, will be the rising tide of government regulation in terms of resource consumption and compliance.

My discussions with all levels of management highlight the impact of regulation on daily operations. From an employee development perspective, you must offer opportunities for personnel to become knowledgeable in compliance issues and requirements. For example, the Compliance Financial Protection Bureau created by Dodd-Frank creates some interesting ramifications for credit policies in the small ticket market, particularly given the implications that the Norvergence case had on what constitutes a consumer transaction. And don’t get me started on the accounting changes.

Do you offer programs to help employees deal with this increased responsibility and workload while still remaining effective in their real jobs? I see a need here to not only create new programs to address compliance but also to revise existing programs to reflect how these new imperatives fit into existing policies and processes. Whereas, in the past, some training fit into the category of nice-to-have, this is not the case with regulation, as the government is unforgiving in terms of compliance lapses.

You also should be considering the efficacy of your existing programs. Suggestions in this respect include offering a wide range of learning opportunities that meet the learning needs and styles of individual learners. This might include a mix of classroom, online, and lunch-and-learn sessions. Furthermore, are you addressing the different learning styles of your workforce? I have to tell you, I learn very differently than do my children, which means that one size no longer fits all in this respect.

The coming year also offers us an opportunity to be creative in how we utilize technology. Online learning options and webinars were big steps in reaching more learners, but even that is changing. We are, for example, taking the webinar concept to the next level through the use of individual cameras and visual collaboration, such as in the old Halo room concept. Although I sometimes observe some unusual, but almost always entertaining, behavior (people forget they are on camera), this medium provides better interaction while bringing learners together from disparate locations. What I like about this approach is that it creates a more personal connection between me and my students than a standard webinar does.

A lot to think about, for sure. But, after all, that is what new years are for –- an examination of the past with a view to changing in the future.

Shawn Halladay
Managing Director | The Alta Group
Shawn D. Halladay is a Managing Director of The Alta Group’s Professional Development Practice. He has 30 years of experience as a lessor, trainer, consultant and auditor to the consultancy’s clients.
Comments From Our Members

You must be an Equipment Finance Advisor member to post comments. Login or Join Now.