Culture, purpose, and well-being

What’s your purpose? I quickly followed up with … and if you know, is this work aligned to your purpose?

A few years ago, I asked the ‘purpose’ question to group of diverse new hires on their second day with the credit union as I facilitated onboarding. To my surprise, the energy in the room shifted, dialogue flowed among strangers, and the lightbulb turned on in my head.

Is it possible to manage turnover through curiosity, alignment and innovation?

I believe 2021 offers credit unions the gift to reimage how they’ll align their talent and what the future holds. We have data that remote work works. We know burnout and mental health is at the forefront of concerns for employers. Now is the time to press the reset button and visit the credit union’s culture, purpose, and well-being as each one is independent.  

Let’s start with culture and engagement.

According to Gallup, engagement numbers increased during the pandemic. There are many variables that contributed to the uptick. However, there is still uncertainty and COVID has provided the space for employees to think about what type of work fills up their cup. This is important as things begin to open up. As the economy rebounds, movement and turnover might hit hard. Gallup also reported “the largest decline in employee engagement was among those in managerial or leadership positions.” This too raises a sense of urgency to discuss as team members follow their leaders’ cues. 

Now what to do about all of this?


Researcher and professor, Brene’ Brown discusses how important it is to allow staff to describe how they are feeling using two words. This is great way to gauge the individual in a non-judgmental way. Checking-in with your team can also be used as a coaching tool or information gathering to research what services might be required to offer at this time or in the future.

Purpose & Meaning

According to Gallup in 2021, focusing on employee development is vital. In fact, Gallup states employee development as an intervention. I could not agree more! It’s not enough to assume the work or the culture is healthy. Leaders will need to build out a plan that makes sense not only for the credit union, but employee growth. With COVID shutdowns, employees have had time to think about work, values, culture, and what they want in a career.

It’s no secret, those who are actively engaged with work that aligns with their strengths are more productive. Asking your team if their current role fills up their cup is not intrusive. It’s strategy! By helping others align to their strengths increases engagement. Purpose and meaningful work advances the credit union, the membership and the employee. Credit unions can use this time to reimagine the organization chart, fit work, and job diversification. You’ll either spark curiosity or learn more about that person. 

What I’ve learned from working in the personal and professional development space is that small changes go a long way. It may be time to look within the credit union and see where a task or role can be revised, upgraded, or handed to someone else to spice things up.  


Focus on mental health. Life is stressful and COVID added to it. It’s not surprising. We’re not exempt from burnout or anxiety. Burnout shows up differently for each person. 

Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, especially during this time. Many organizations are pushing the self-care message forward. This article discusses mental health and what signs to look for.

By ensuring leaders understand burnout, meaningful work, and how to recharge and retain their talent, you’re able to increase engagement. Let’s be sure to not only check-in on the team, but also those who lead. 

LaVada Humphrey

LaVada Humphrey

LaVada Humphrey is a Consultant and Speaker, serving the credit union industry. She specializes in leadership, workplace engagement, coaching, and conflict resolution. LaVada believes the workplace should be a safe ... Web: Details