CommonWealth One Makes The Most Of Staying At Home

Employees and employer benefit from homegrown e-learning initiative.

 
 

Top-Level Takeaways

  • The suburban Virginia credit union compiled a 15-page curriculum for staffers staying at home.
  • The credit union expects its emphasis on professional development will continue after the offices and branches fully reopen.

CU QUICK FACTS

CommonWealth One FCU
Data as of 03.31.20

HQ: Alexandria, VA
ASSETS: $413.2M
MEMBERS: 37,549
BRANCHES: 7
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 12.7%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 7.1%
ROA: 0.10%

These might be uncertain times, but that doesn’t mean down time has to be chalked up to lost opportunity.

CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union ($413.2M, Alexandria, VA) has turned to professional development as a way to make sure staff stuck at home can make the most of their time. While practicing social distancing, staffers can partake in e-learning through courses culled from a variety of sources, including Callahan & Associates, NAFCU, CUES, and CUNA.

“We looked at all the available courses and paired them with the departments that would benefit most from that information,” says Erica Marshall, who has been the suburban DC cooperative’s training manager for the past two years.

Marshall compiled a 15-page curriculum on which COFCU managers and executives signed off. Examples include evergreen pieces like “Social Media Do’s & Don’ts” for marketing and business development staff as well as timely webinars like “How Credit Unions Are Addressing COVID-19” for managers in retail operations.

Click here to review CommonWealth One’s e-learning curriculum for employee professional development.

An E-Course A Day 

Since mid-March, the suburban DC credit union has scheduled a majority of its workforce to come in every other day to promote social distancing. Employees with high-risk conditions or childcare constraints can stay home every day. On the other hand, executive management, facilities staff, and some managers come in every day.

Erica Marshall, Training Manager, CommonWealth One FCU

COFCU has about 90 employees. Twenty-five are managers who are not in the e-learning plan because of their involvement in other projects, Marshall says. The staff that is rotating each get one week of three days at home and then one week of two days at home.

On the days they go into work, they focus on their day job. On the days they are at home, staff members are expected to participate in one piece of e-learning a day. When and how they complete it can vary.

“We don’t expect them to view e-learning when they report to work at the office,” Marshall says. “We’ve left it up to the employees and their managers to determine the best time to complete the courses.”

The credit union encourages staff to use a special section on the CommonWealth One intranet to track their activities to ensure no one is falsely submitting work, Marshall says. 

“The companies that we partner with have all made it very easy to pull or request learning transcripts that outline who completed what and when,” the training manager says.

“COFCU is big on training and employee development,” Marshall adds. “We often make live webinars available for staff, but this is a great way for them to take the initiative to use the tools available to help better themselves professionally.”

Isabel Gomez, CFO, CommonWealth One FCU

Marshall herself also got a professional shoutout for her leadership and for the plan itself.

“Erica was our champion for this,” says Isabel Gomez, the cooperative’s chief financial officer. “We gave her the idea and she executed it in a timely and effective way. This is a win-win for the credit union and our employees. We’re already generous in the learning resources we offer, and any additional education our staff can garner is of overall value to our organization.” 

Keep The Ball Rolling

The cooperative plans to keep the momentum going once the staff is back under roof, with planning underway now for a phased-in lobby and office reopening approach that will be heavily influenced by the government buildings that host some of its seven branches.

Gomez says basic protections such as personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and strict rules on masks and gathering in groups will be in place. So will a renewed emphasis on staff development. 

“Once we get back to normal, we’ve talked about launching a training incentive program to reward the staff for learning,” Marshall says. “Hopefully, this will be great motivator for staff, helping to keep them engaged as they continue to develop professionally.”

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