When a landmark Lancaster County bank decided to create a branch unique to its market, it called on Success Performance Solutions to help select employees who could deliver an above-average outcome.

Dr. Ira S. Wolfe, founder and president of SPS, met with leaders of Union National Community Bank and helped them identify the core competencies that would be required to work at the bank’s new Gold Café, a coffee shop that also happens to be a bank.

UNCB is cultivating new ground with Gold Café, and it needed to have the right people in place when the café’s doors opened. So competitive is the regional banking industry, UNCB could not afford to make any hiring mistakes.

SPS is a workforce consulting firm that specializes in helping employers to make predictable hiring decisions. Using its proprietary CriteriaOne® assessment tools, SPS custom designed  a recruitment and screening strategy that not only attracted a wave of fresh applicants but incumbent bank employees, as well. “Our whole process ties people to a business strategy,” Wolfe says. To qualify, the café employees had to fit the job, the team and the new culture.

The first step was to brainstorm with UNCB leaders and create a description of a Gold Café employee. R. Michael Mohn, senior vice president of organizational development at UNCB, says with Wolfe’s guidance, the bank identified five critical skills: communication skills; human relations skills; the ability to think on one’s feet; team work; and sales ability.

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The goal? Combine good customer service and a great cup of coffee to create a banking experience like none other. The result: Grow the bank’s customer base and capture more of the region’s market share in deposit, loan and investment revenue.

The ultimate challenge for UNCB was to find people that fit the job and the new culture, without alienating valued current UNCB employees, says Wolfe.  “UNCB realizes good customer service is not just about being friendly, it’s about getting results,” Wolfe says. “If a top performer can get the job done now, will he be able to get it done when the job or environment changes?”

SPS assessments are “not based on personality alone,” he says. “Our reports describe how an employee would use his personality to get results.”

Besides helping UNCB identify the critical skills required of a “financial barista,” SPS helped write the interview questions.

Mohn says he likes the CritieriaOne® assessment model because it can be used in the upfront hiring process, as well in employee evaluations and succession management. “Because we hired on a specific set of competencies, we can evaluate ongoing performance and growth on those competencies,” Mohn says. He adds the model can be expanded to all positions at the bank and can work as a career-development tool for UNCB employees.

Of Gold Café’s seven employees, four were hired internally, says Mohn. The café opened in April. So far, he says, the team has met expectations in delivering exceptional customer service as well as brewing new profit for the bank.