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Empowering Employees Serves Customers

Mike Jones
President, Business Capital

OUR RECENT BRAND REFRESH at CIT provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our commitment to empowering customers to turn their ideas into outcomes. Equally important, it reaffirmed our commitment to empowering our own people to be their best

After all, it’s the dedicated employees of CIT who provide the expert advice and smart solutions that our customers depend on to achieve their financial goals. Empowering our workforce is absolutely essential to empowering our customers.

Empowerment is a principle I’ve been highlighting during my entire career. That took on extra significance when I was named president of CIT’s Business Capital division in January 2018. In the year since, we’ve made enormous strides and learned some lessons that any business can benefit from.

One of my early insights came while visiting a very large international bank in Canada. Leaders there explained how they’d transformed their business to cut waste, enhance technology and become more agile—all in a mere 18 months. Their story helped me realize how much can be achieved in a short time with the right people and the right mindset

Back at CIT, my efforts to transform my own business started with listening. I wanted to hear directly from employees about what was working and what needed adjustment. In particular, I focused on listening to the employees in the trenches, the ones who interact directly with customers and do the work that makes our business thrive. And that also means listening not just once, but continuously.

Next step was reevaluating our business processes to ensure our hard work was adding the most value possible for our customers and our business. Feedback from empowered employees helped us realign our organizational structure so workers could be even more effective in their roles.

Finally, we committed to investing in our people, processes, facilities and technology, all while holding each other accountable for delivering results. We adopted a strict focus on becoming more efficient to ensure we had the resources needed to make those investments

Over time, we’ve actually grown our assets while simultaneously becoming more efficient with our expenses. How? By cutting anything, including any process that did not add value to customers as long as it did not increase our risk. Many outsiders said it couldn’t be done...until we did it

All this may sound obvious, simple and perhaps even easy. But let me assure you it is not. Serious transformation requires a major commitment of resources and leadership. You can’t afford to get nervous and pull back in the middle of the project. Though the job is difficult and frustrating at times, you can be confident that it’s well worth it in the end

So what happens when you invest significant time and effort in empowering your people? Amazing and wonderful things

Very quickly, we saw more employee engagement, more creativity, more innovation. Our employees became even more dedicated to serving our customers. And they soon realized that nobody out there can do what we can if we work together

Today, our people readily balance big-picture thinking with the attention to detail needed to make their vision a reality. Across the organization, we’re reinforcing a culture that encourages collaboration, initiative, teamwork and self-motivation. The result is passion and persistence at work

By now, you can probably tell how proud I am of the talented team that I’m fortunate to lead. But I also have to mention the importance of making sure employees have the tools they need to do the job right

We have made it a priority to invest in the technology required to streamline workflows and help employees become more agile in serving customers. Simply put, technological transformation is driving our industry. You can either be active in leveraging that opportunity or allow legacy platforms to become an excuse for failure. We chose the first path and it’s been critical to our success.

Are we finished? Not even close. This is a continuous evolution. The minute we stop improving is precisely when we’ll start falling behind. We’re excited by the idea that we can get better. We look forward to the next challenge and to raising the bar on delivering even more value to customers in 2019.

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