So you’ve got a great staff at your credit union, but do they really know about the rest of the credit union system? This piece is a sort of sequel to one I did two years ago, “Does your staff really know what a credit union is?”
In the first post, I touched on the system aspect briefly for staff, but I realized how important it is now on its own. I recently spoke at two young professional events – one with people from around the world (World Council of Credit Union’s WYCUP gathering in Denver) and a state-wide conference.
My impression was a lot of the member-facing staff, especially frontline employees, knew the least about the overall credit union system. What do I mean by that? Mainly, what the organizations are, what they do and how everything fits together (we’re a cooperative industry, so this is important). Also, as I mentioned before, your staff are all ambassadors of the credit union brand, so the more you educate them on the system and the credit union difference, the better.
Where do you start? Again, one of my favorite parts of my job at the National Credit Union Foundation is working on our Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training, which is a week-long program that helps credit union professionals gain a new understanding of how to promote cooperative principles and credit union values as distinct advantages in today’s competitive financial services marketplace. On the first few days, we lay the foundation for the transformative training and as part of that, we spend a lot of time on credit union history, the cooperative principles, development issues and…the credit union system.
So take a look at your new employee orientation or find time at the next all-staff meeting for some system training. We start with what I call the “onion” to show how the major players fit together. It shows how the member belongs to the credit union, which works with other credit unions via chapters, then the credit unions belong to the league, and so on. Click here to check it out.
If you can, go deeper. For example, what are corporate credit unions? Vendors such as CO-OP Financial Services or others that you work with frequently. Associations such as the National Cooperative Business Association. Critical organizations for resources and solutions such as the Filene Research Institute, CUNA Councils, and of course, the National Credit Union Foundation (and state credit union foundations). And many more.
Once your employees know more about how your credit union fits into the bigger picture, it opens their eyes to new resources, advice, solutions and expertise to help them do their job better. And if they can attend events or conferences put on by any of the above organizations? Even better.
Finally, make sure you remind them how we are a “movement,” not just a system…for social good improving the financial well-being of our members and community.