A Novel Approach To Employee Onboarding

Yolo FCU wants new hires to fully understand its brand from the get-go, so it moved employee onboarding from HR to marketing.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • Yolo FCU moved employee onboarding under marketing to ensure all new hires fully understand the credit union brand.
  • Placing job postings on its website, local job boards, and social media has garnered an uptick in page likes and page views.

When Yolo Federal Credit Union ($277.3M, Woodland, CA) expanded its marketing department to include member experience, the importance of talent acquisition quickly became apparent.

People are at the heart of who we are and what we do, says Kelley Jacobsen, director of brand and marketing for Yolo.

That’s one reason the credit union’s human resources and marketing teams frequently collaborate and bounce ideas off each other.

Gone are the days where we need to follow traditional structures, says Pennie Holck, director of human resources. ContentMiddleAd

One way the teams have bucked tradition is by moving new hire onboarding from HR or the hiring manager to marketing. This allows the credit union to position its brand consistently and help new employees understand what Yolo FCU is as an organization.

Who Before What

Since the fall of 2016, the Yolo marketing team has been conducting an organized, uniform two-day new hire onboarding. Previously, hiring managers jumped straight into operational and product-specific training with new employees.

We deployed new hires by location and everyone didn’t introduce the credit union’s products and services in the same way, Holck says. Centralizing onboarding under one umbrella, where every new hire goes through the same process regardless of which position they are filling, just makes more sense.

We want new hires to understand who we are before what we do.

Kelley Jacobsen, Director of Brand Marketing, Yolo FCU

A consistent onboarding program also helps the credit union ensure its culture and brand are in the forefront.

Kelley Jacobsen, Director of Brand Marketing, Yolo FCU

We want new hires to understand who we are before what we do, Jacobsen says. We are an organization that cares about our community and our employees. We clearly define who we are as an organization, and from the beginning, our new team members feel they are part of something bigger than the job they do every day.

An Evolving Process

At Yolo, onboarding doesn’t begin on an employee’s first day.

Before new staff members start, the marketing team gets to know new hires and introduces them to their co-workers before they arrive. That warm welcome is an important part of culture building.

Pennie Holck, Director of Human Resources, Yolo Credit Union

It all starts with this foundational piece, Holck says. No matter whether a position is at a real estate center or in a support role, every new hire is immersed in our culture.

This idea of putting what the credit union is before what it does is now also beginning to change the way the credit union handles recruitment.

Our member experience and marketing team is now in the driver’s seat for recruiting, selection, and screening, Holck says. I’m playing more of a behind-the-scenes role.

Although the recruitment and screening process is new, it is already garnering an enthusiastic response from hiring managers. That’s because the marketing team is assisting managers with some of the more labor-intensive aspects of recruiting by weeding through applicants and presenting the top candidates for managers to conduct in-person interviews with. A member of marketing also participates in the in-person interview, but the hiring manager ultimately makes the final decision.

We want to shift away from focusing solely on skills and abilities to also look for a cultural fit, Jacobsen says. It doesn’t matter how many adwords I use if someone walks in and experiences something other than the exceptional service we promise. People are the key to that service.

To that end, when staff members join Yolo FCU, they become part of the Yolo Alliance and even sign an oath saying they agree to represent the credit union’s culture and deliver service excellence.


Yolo FCU
Data as of 06.30.17

HQ:Woodland, CA
ASSETS: $277.3M
MEMBERS: 17,763
ROA: 1.18%

A Local Focus

The new take on recruitment at Yolo means the credit union is reworking its external outreach as well as internal processes.

Yolo is moving away from large job boards and using its own website, local college job boards, and social media to get the word out to members, friends, family, and neighbors that Yolo FCU is hiring. In return, more local applications are coming in and the credit union is seeing an uptick in social media engagement.

Unlike traditional, main-stream job boards that are geared toward people actively searching for a new job, the credit union’s social media channels and website reach members and the community who might not be actively looking but are interested in the credit union.

It’s an honor and a privilege to work here, Holck says. We want to be more selective, and this new approach allows us to do that.

September 18, 2017

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