Working Together Better

Like any valuable resource, employees need nurturing for an organization to thrive.
Catherine Siskos

A credit union’s most important assets are the ones that walk out the door each day around five. And just like any other asset, employees require some attention for an organization to function smoothly. This week’s theme, human resources, explores the myriad ways cooperatives encourage their employees to work better.

Do your back and front offices always seem at war? Transparency, cross-training, and small groups of volunteers may be the solution, as three credit unions discovered when they adopted separate tactics to improve cooperation between departments.

Do you want to promote branch managers from within but find there’s no one to promote? Then check out the rigorous nine-month program that trains carefully selected employees at America’s First Credit Union to become, not just any branch manager, but one that blows performance goals out of the water.

If there’s one message you’d like to convey to all employees, do you have a pithy phrase for doing so? Gary Vien, the chief administrative officer of Suncoast Credit Union, certainly does. He tells employees to act like an owner. The idea, of course, is that owners show initiative and take such pride in their work that they wouldn’t dream of tarnishing an organization’s reputation with slipshod efforts. Vien offers more advice in a one-on-one interview with a reporter.

In fact, inspiring staff to do their best work may be the biggest hurdle credit unions face with employees, especially anyone who is only there to collect a paycheck. Borrowing an idea from the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Pen Air Federal Credit Union decided to inject a little fun into the workday with an unconventional daily morning meeting in each department. The meetings are what you would get if you combined debriefings, social mixers (sans alcohol), and a pep rally together.

All these efforts assume that your credit union does a good job of attracting solid employees in the first place. At Redstone Federal Credit Union, where employees already earned paychecks that exceeded the region’s median, the benefit with the best returns is an on-site clinic where employees can get everything from a flu shot to an annual checkup. Employees love the convenience, Redstone likes the reduced absenteeism, and everyone gets to save money.

June 23, 2014

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