The physical environment is often the main focus in a branch transformation project, but it’s important not to overlook the work that needs to be done to help your branch staff deliver exceptional member experiences.
Change Management is the process of helping the stakeholders in an organization adapt to changing strategies as well as making sure those changes stick. In branch transformation projects, however, one of the most important stakeholders is often overlooked: your branch staff.
Your front-line employees are the ones who will implement your new branching strategy. Here are five steps towards ensuring this happens.
- Gain staff buy-in
Giving your branch staff a sense of ownership in the project by engaging them in the planning process can have a bigger impact on the success of the project than anything else you will do. And not only do they gain a stake in the project’s success, their front-line experience gives you better insights into what is and isn’t working with your existing branch.
Sudden and unexpected changes are often met with heavy resistance, but this can be solved by making the process open and transparent to your team. Open communication not only lets your staff know what is happening and what to expect, it also provides sanity checks throughout the process. Instead of having issues with your strategy pointed out when it’s too late to do anything, you’ll benefit from feedback and perspectives across your organization in real time.
- Build excitement about what’s different.
If your credit union is a great place to work, then your staff are motivated by more than their paychecks. They really care about the work they are doing and the impact that it has on members. If your branch staff believe that your new branching strategy will help them better serve members, they’ll get excited about implementing them.
- Develop a solid training plan.
A good training plan will equip your staff with the tools they need to deliver your new strategy. What makes a great training plan is that it teaches not just the “what” or a set of processes, but also the “why” behind the strategy – so that staff are empowered to act autonomously. When your plan integrates the values of your credit union, it helps your branch staff understand how their decisions can help advance your mission. Approaching training with this perspective creates a solid foundation for lasting change and reduces the chance of sliding back into old policies and procedures.
- Leverage insights gained into further improvements.
The change management process doesn’t end with your new branch’s grand opening. By performing a lessons-learned and paying careful attention to the daily experiences of your branch staff, you can adjust your strategy towards the great member experience you intend to deliver. By staying aware and adapting, you can develop a much more durable branching strategy.
Change management is difficult, but if you incorporate the steps you’ve learned here into your next branch transformation project you’ll ensure that your strategic changes are as successful as the physical changes.