At U.S. Bank, a reverse mentoring program is helping executives make the right investments to serve future generations of customers and employees.
Since 2009, the Dynamic Dozen program has brought together a group of millennial employees from across the company to spend a year meeting with executives, providing feedback on existing initiatives, and developing and pitching a capstone project of their choosing.
Over that time, the 132 employees who have gone through the Dynamic Dozen have influenced how the company approaches digital banking, early investing, start-up entrepreneurship, financial education and more.
“Banking is a people business, as much now as ever,” said Sauntura Jones, an enterprise training manager at U.S. Bank and member of the 2018 Dynamic Dozen. “If we’re not listening to younger generations, our company and industry will face a doomsday. What I appreciate most about Dynamic Dozen is that young people are given a voice of influence at the highest level of U.S. Bank.”
The program is sponsored by executives Kate Quinn, vice chair and chief administrative officer, Mark Runkel, executive vice president and chief credit officer, and Tim Welsh, vice chair and head of consumer and business banking. It’s managed by Darren Johnson, senior vice president and insights director in customer experience.
“I really enjoy seeing the energy – the genuine laughter, the ear-to-ear smiles – of reverse mentoring,” said Johnson. “Although each generation has its unique characteristics, there are so many similarities that arise when these employees and executives get in the same room.”
Today, millennials make up more than a third of the 74,000 employees who work at U.S. Bank. Johnson said that the Dynamic Dozen has not only been effective for product and customer experience work, but just as much so from a leadership development perspective. He points to a retention rate of around 80 percent over its decade in existence as well as to how alumni have ascended into senior leadership roles.
With Gen Z now entering the workforce, too, Johnson is in the process of designing new programs to lift up their voices throughout the company, such as by embedding them in cross-functional teams to provide real-time feedback during product development.
U.S. Bank is increasingly focused on creating that type of collaborative environment. On the company’s most recent earnings call with analysts, Chairman, President and CEO Andy Cecere called out the 20 agile development studios in which those types of teams work on projects – such as bank’s newly rebuilt mobile app.
The Dynamic Dozen is purposely cross-functional in nature, as it’s made up of one employee representing each member of the company’s 14-person (yes, it’s no longer a dozen) Managing Committee. This year’s class, listed below as pictured left to right, was recently announced:
“We have to keep our ears open and listen to these employees,” said Johnson. “When I started in product management and development 15 years ago, it was the norm to simply make minor tweaks to the same products every year. What you’re seeing now is these younger generations completely changing products, categories and entire industries.”
Customer-focused innovation, inclusion and diversity and professional development are cornerstones of every role at U.S. Bank. Learn more about careers at the company.
Written by Pat Swanson of U.S. Bank. Media inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.