How credit unions can win the war on talent

Today’s marketplace is a battlefield for talent. Your best and your brightest are going to be actively recruited by other places they could work—if they’re not already being courted.

If your credit union wants to have a fighting chance of acquiring, developing and retaining great talent, winning the war on talent needs to be a corporate priority. This means doing deliberate planning and budgeting around the following four areas, and making sure you’re absolutely tops on three of them:

  1. Compensation. Credit unions have to make a decision about whether they’ll pay at market or even above market to attract and retain the talent they need. CUES Executive Compensation Survey and CUES Employee Salary Survey are good tools for heading down this road.
  2. Benefits. This includes health insurance and retirement accounts—and, for some, membership in professional organizations like CUES. Executives often need special consideration; learn more about this in the Credit Union Management magazine article, “Envisioning Executive Benefits” by CUES Supplier member and strategic provider CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.
  3. Talent development. You need to ask yourself: “What are the development plans for key individuals throughout our credit union?” Understand that what will be most effective is a marriage of organizational need and the desires of those individuals, as long as they keep delivering and exceeding expectations. Of course, management that succeeds in spotting and developing talent is then obligated to give individuals who have been sent off to learn the opportunity to advance and take on more significant roles in the organization.
  4. Culture. It seems obvious, but people tend to stay at companies where they enjoy working. So make sure you spend time considering what culture is needed to achieve your vision for serving members, as well as providing a working environment in which talented professionals thrive. CUES Skybox blog presented an interesting take on the role of culture in employee satisfaction and performance in “A CEO at Every Desk.”

Making the decision to be outstanding at three of these and very good at all four isn’t easy. It costs money and takes time like everything else. But looking at the costs of having to replace talented individuals should pop this up to the top of the priority list. Replacing someone means downtime, a learning curve for a new hire, the cost of the hiring process, plus the cost of the new hire. At the end of the day, keeping and developing talent wins.

While the compensation and benefits components of this equation are a little different for board members, many credit unions are starting to acknowledge that there’s a war on volunteer talent as well. This is especially true if you’re interested in having people with specific skill sets—such as legal or technology expertise—on your board. If you include your board in your strategy for winning the war on talent, you’ll definitely be ahead.

Being a talent development organization, CUES has renewed its commitment to the professional growth of its own team members, establishing both plans and resources for the next fiscal year. During the current planning and budgeting season, I encourage you to do the same for your team.


John Pembroke

John Pembroke

As president/CEO of CUES, John Pembroke came full circle in his career. His first exposure to business was a high school internship working in his father’s church credit ... Web: Details