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Powered by People: Christine Jenkins

E-Learning consultant provides easy transition for new Regions employees.

AUG. 18, 2014 - Christine Jenkins grew up in a tight-knit family in Eastern Washington, where everyone looked after everyone else. If one person had a problem, everyone else rallied around for support.

As an E-Learning consultant for Regions in Pensacola, Florida, Jenkins takes the same approach for newly hired associates throughout the state of Florida and South Alabama, overseeing the transition process from initial onboarding and training throughout the first year under the guidance of a trained mentor.

“When you start working at Regions, we’re not going to just stick you at a teller drawer and say, ‘Have at it,’” Jenkins said. “That’s not fair to you, as a new associate, and that’s not fair to our customers. And it’s certainly not fair to Regions Bank’s reputation.”

From the moment a new teller or platform associate is hired, Jenkins is there — to register for classes, to assist in conducting classes and to work with the markets in coordinating a mentor. Tellers must complete 40 hours of mentor training while platform associates must complete 80 hours of mentor training.

And mentors who are nominated and selected after a strenuous review process meet quarterly with Jenkins’ team for updates and advice.

“One critical role Christine Jenkins plays is to stay in touch with the mentors. In many ways, she plays the role of mentor to the mentors,” said Michael Menk, a consumer banking executive in Mobile, Alabama who helped refine the mentor program.

“I don’t think you can overstate how vital the mentor program is,” Menk added. “There’s not another process that ties everything together as well. Until you see what the job is on a day-to-day basis, you don’t know what you’re getting into.”

Mentors are nominated, then apply for the role and go through training. The E-Learning Consultant team must oversee mentors across Region’s 16 states. While Jenkins’ mentor team oversees one area there are others — Ramon Rodriguez in Georgia and Julie Moore in Mississippi, for example — who work together to provide a supportive environment for each of new hire.

“And it’s my job to communicate and check in with the mentors and get regular updates,” Jenkins said.

When Pilar Schwinghammer was hired as a teller in Pensacola, she went through thorough, but sometimes tedious, training including classroom coaching and computer classes before going into the field. Her mentor, Samanatha Villarino, “was fantastic.”

“She had a lot of experience with other banks and is very knowledgeable,” Schwinghammer said. “I’m a hands-on learner. She let me get out there and learn, and if I had any questions she was always there.”

Back in Birmingham, Alabama, where Regions is headquartered, Laura Dickinson works with the E-Learning team throughout the 16 states that Regions serves. She’s known Christine Jenkins since Jenkins joined Regions, working at a contact center.

Dickinson believes that Jenkins’ personality and upbringing in Eastern Washington are just keys to her success.

“She’s always been a happy, upbeat person and she always has a smile on her face,” Dickinson said. “She loves her job and loves Regions. When we hired her for this role, I was excited because I knew what she was like. Now, because she supports all our new hires in the branches, she makes a fabulous first impression for Regions.”

Brittany Wilson, branch team leader at the Eastgate Branch in Pensacola, works as a mentor with new, branch-bound employees. She believes part of the reason the mentor program is successful is because of the energy Jenkins provides.

“She’s a bubbly person, and her attitude is contagious,” Wilson said. “I work with sales associates and we have limited time to get them ready. The best way to get someone ready is by modeling. That starts at the top, with Christine and her personality, and continues throughout the bank. I think this approach to training sets Regions apart.”

Jenkins doesn’t do it alone. She’s quick to point out that her team in South Alabama and the Florida Panhandle — Sharon Hensel, Pam Perry, Cindy Lynd, Becki Estes, Michelle Swift and Sheri Reedy — work together through the new-employee orientation process. They all have different personalities that blend as one voice. “I am supported by similar fantastic HR partnerships all across the state of Florida. Without them, the success of our new-hire experience would not be possible,” Jenkins said.

But there is one personality that tends to resonate with everyone she meets.

“In Christine, I feel I have a best friend at work. I can email her with any questions I have,” said Martha Finn, a teller specialist at the Mary Esther branch in Florida. “From the first day, we had an instant rapport. How great is it that I can consider her a best friend at work because it’s so easy to talk to her?” 

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