Employee Roundtables At Orange County’s Encourage Learning And Accountability

The credit union’s quarterly MSR-only events facilitate peer-to-peer learning, best-practice sharing, and network building.


Top-Level Takeaways

  • Orange County’s Credit Union hosts quarterly employee roundtables.
  • 40 member service reps spend three hours networking with peers, developing leadership skills, and learning how to solve problems.

In January, Orange County’s Credit Union ($1.6B, Santa Ana, CA) brought together 40 employees for a good ol’ gab fest. The roundtable meeting was the first in a new quarterly gathering of member service representatives designed to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, best-practice sharing, and network building, says assistant vice president and regional branch manager Azul Sanchez.

The roundtables, which take place at Orange County’s headquarters, each cover a different topic. Branch managers select one rep from each of the credit union’s four MSR levels to attend the three-hour interactive meeting, and MSRs complete pre- and post-event assessments to demonstrate what they’ve learned.

Here, Sanchez discusses the program’s design, her inspiration behind these roundtables, and lessons she’s learned along the way. ContentMiddleAd

What is the purpose of Orange County’s MSR roundtables?

Azul Sanchez: The roundtables support our philosophy of building leaders at all levels. Our idea was to provide an interactive forum to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, share best practices, and build a peer network. We want participants more engaged with their work goals and more accountable in their own development.

How To Make 4 Groups Of 10

At the quarterly meetings, Orange County’s splits its MSRs into four groups of 10 as follows:

  • Group A: 5 MSR 1s, 5 MSR 2s
  • Group B: 5 MSR 1s, 5 MSR 2s
  • Group C: 5 MSR 3s, 5 MSR 4s
  • Group D: 5 MSR 3s, 5 MSR 4s

How do these meetings work?

AS: A regional branch manager and I plan each meeting together, and I facilitate the event. Each meeting is structured around a topic that relates to the credit union’s branch scorecard. Before and after each meeting ,the MSRs complete pre- and post-event work to get them thinking and talking about the topic.

We split the MSRs into four groups of 10, and the meetings are three hours. We don’t want a long, boring meeting that participants only retain a portion of. We want an interactive forum, something more fun than listening to an instructor at the front of a classroom.

What are the topics?

Azul Sanchez, Assistant Vice President Regional Branch Manager, Orange County’s Credit Union

AS: In our January meeting, we talked about Net Promoter Score. In April, the topic was new member growth. In July, it was services per new member. For October, the topic will be loan penetration.

Those are the main topics of the meetings, but we do other networking and creative activities, too.

What do you cover on the pre- and post-event work? How do you use this work during the meeting?

AS: Once we break into our smaller sections, the groups discuss the answers provided on their pre-event worksheets.

For example, the topic in April was member growth, so the pre-event worksheet asked MSRs:

  • What is your branch’s 2018 membership growth goal?
  • How do you personally contribute to your branch’s member growth goal?
  • Do you have your own individual goal? How do you track your progress?
  • What is the three-year trend of your branch’s membership growth? Positive or negative?

Post-work involves applying the information in a real-world setting. For example, after our January Net Promoter Score meeting, we gave our MSRs gift cards to blind-shop a financial and non-financial institution and report back on their own likelihood to promote and why.

Why do you segment MSRs in the meeting?

AS: Before these roundtables, we had one or two all-associate meetings each year. Every MSR attended in one group. Some MSRs found value, others didn’t because they were too advanced for the discussion.

For the roundtables, it was important to have associates relate to their peers within their MSR band. For example, our MSR 1s and 2s don’t open accounts or book loans. Most of their responsibilities involve working the teller line and serving the member. MSR 3s and 4s open accounts. So, whereas the topics are the same and we use the same branch scorecard metrics, what’s relevant within each band is different.


Orange County’s Credit Union
Data as of 03.31.18

HQ: Santa Ana, CA
MEMBERS: 106,415
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 13.5%
ROA: 1.92%

How did you come up with this idea? Why do you find it valuable?

AS: I’ve had this idea for a few years. When I was promoted to my current role, I wanted to make this a reality but didn’t know how to bring it to life. When I went to an executive roundtable hosted by Callahan Associates last year, I was inspired by the peer-to-peer learning and the open discussion. It opened my mind to different ideas to run our own.

How have MSRs responded to the roundtables?

AS: So far the feedback has been positive. Associates are engaged. We’ve seen an improvement in their attitudes and aptitudes.

Last meeting, I had a generally reserved and quiet associate tell me that each time she comes, her hands are sweating, she’s nervous, scared, and doesn’t want to face that room of people. But after each meeting, she’s surprised with how good she feels and how much she enjoyed it.

What are some lessons you’ve learned?

AS: Associates prefer to provide feedback immediately after each session. I’m going to implement that next year.

I thought about making the roundtables mandatory for all MSRs. But, I’ve learned from associates that what makes it more successful is the small group. Some have even suggested having a smaller group for more interaction.

In addition to peer discussion, associates have suggested adding a formal training component, even if it means a longer meeting. For example, they want to learn how to use our CRM system better, how to open specialized accounts, and how to deal with difficult members. I’d like to add this next year. Three hours are short when we’re having fun.


July 18, 2018

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