Sun Trust Takes Training to the Bank

SunTrust Banks, based in Atlanta, operates the eighth-largest U.S. bank. It also has several

subsidiaries offering other financial services such as mortgage banking, insurance, and

Investment management. The bank serves customers in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North

Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. As the

banking industry struggled to recover from the recent financial crisis and recession (and new

regulations) that followed, SunTrust’s management decided that the key to the company’s future lay

with fully engaging employees in serving customers. That approach is consistent with the company’s

mission of “helping people and institutions prosper.”

SunTrust began to restructure its banking business in accordance with three guiding principles: (1)

operating as a single team; (2) putting clients first; and (3) focusing on profitable growth. This

principle-driven approach to growth requires managers who know how to foster employees’

commitment to their work and their clients. To that end, SunTrust has made it a priority to develop

managers’ leadership skills. First-line managers receive training in how to coach and lead others.

Middle managers work with mentors on their leadership skills. Upper level managers use

assessments by peers, subordinates, and others to identify areas for growth and, with coaching,

develop leadership skills taught during a three-week training program. SunTrust also selects its top

3,500 managers to receive training in employee engagement. For training aimed at emotions to be

relevant, it must enable better job performance. The bank also provides learning support on its

SunTrust Learning Portal. Since SunTrust initiated the new training programs, it has seen evidence of

improved performance.

You are the Training Manager for SunTrust. The Director of HR has some specific inquiries about the

new programs and the future of the training programs. Address the following four items of concern

from the Director in a 500-word business memo.

1. Define “needs assessment”. Identify the three questions that SunTrust would need to answer

to assess their needs in the broad areas of organization, person, and tasks.

2. List an appropriate traditional training method that could be used to foster ethical behavior at


3. List two appropriate ways that Sun Trust could measure the success of its training program.