Burritos and Brands: Is a good branch manager worth $100,000?

An age-old adage of retail go something like this: “hire for attitude and train for skills.” But just how accurate is that in 2020? For decades, financial institutions have searched high and low for qualified and talented staff that could serve both the consumer-facing and back-office arenas. And while some degree of turnover, especially on the front line, is likely to always be a part of credit unions, are there any new approaches to hiring brand-driven employees that stay for the long-haul?

A recent article highlights a new approach to this hiring challenge as it is being approached by the fast food industry. Taco Bell recently announced that in certain locations it will offer a $100,000 restaurant manager salary. While this six-figure fast food salary may sound preposterous on the service, what implications might it have and what may financial institutions learn from at least the principle?

Most retailers, including fast food and financial institutions, face a similar challenge addressing the 3.5% unemployment rate (the lowest in 40 years) and attracting and retaining qualified staff. While financial institutions certainly can’t afford to pay starting tellers, for example, $100,000 a year, what about at the branch manager level?

If you think that salary is too high, how much market and wallet share is your credit union as a whole (and your branches as feeders of that) losing when either A) your branch manager turnover rate is so high you can never really establish a branch as a viable, functional option for consumers and/or B) the individuals you have in leadership positions now simply do not buy into your brand and help drive it as the focus of your credit union?

Brand-driven employees have a direct impact on your bottom line. Those that buy into the brand and live it every day generate not just revenue but vitally important consumer loyalty and affinity. Employees that don’t buy into your brand but instead “mail it in” every day have a negative impact on your brand but also cost you more than simply revenue, digging deeply into potential consumer loyalty as well as word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals to friends, family and coworkers.

Just how much is your brand worth? Is it worth it $100,000 dollar manager salary? While there are multiple methods of determining brand value, know this: it takes a great deal of time to build up and a matter of seconds to tear down if not lived correctly. While the point of this article is certainly not to advocate a six-figure salary for every branch manager out there, it is to highlight the importance of investing in the right people in the right places. At what higher levels could your credit union function (both financially and culturally) if it made the investment in a strong brand and training to that brand?

While credit unions aren’t in the business of selling fast food tacos and burritos, there is certainly a lesson to be learned here. How highly does your credit union value its brand and how much is it willing to invest in order to grow and protect it?

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: www.markarnold.com Details

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