Investing in the future

Imagine this: Your company just experienced one of its best-performing fiscal years, and you have some additional budget remaining. Should it go toward marketing? Your annual company retreat? How about talent and leadership development?

In an increasingly competitive financial services landscape, hiring, training and retaining top talent is more important than ever. While developing and implementing a talent strategy comes at a price, credit unions finding themselves with extra dollars to spend would be well served to consider investing back into their workforces.

Employee Expectations

It is no secret that consumer expectations are disrupting many industries, including credit unions. It stands to reason that employee expectations are also changing dramatically – and they are only getting higher. Employees are demanding a similar experience in their workplaces as they are experiencing as consumers. Two trends are taking shape: a redefinition of the employee/employer relationship and a war for talent, which is expected to worsen. This means employers should focus on and invest in things that will improve the employee experience. This could include conducting an employee engagement survey or implementing continual performance feedback. Or it might mean investing in employee intranets, portals and other digital self-service tools that will enable smaller credit unions to compete with large financial institutions.

Advice: Take stock of your overall employee experience and invest in areas that will increase engagement. Helping create a culture that can attract and retain top talent is a no-brainer when you consider the cost of employee turnover.

Leveraging Leadership

The profile of leaders in today’s marketplace is shifting dramatically. A typical credit union has most likely built a team with deep functional expertise. For example, a credit union’s chief lending officer has in-depth knowledge in lending and therefore becomes invaluable within the lending space. But deep functional expertise is now giving way to enterprise leaders who are spearheading transformational change – two very different skill sets. How do we retool existing leaders? To set themselves and their employees up for success, credit unions need to figure out how to develop a person from a functional leader to an enterprise leader who is comfortable navigating change in a very quickly fluctuating business environment. This can sometimes mean looking at implementing rotational assignments or investing in targeted development initiatives.

Advice: Leadership development is the future of your credit union and the industry. Other financial institutions are competing for the same leaders, so we have to make sure we skill up our leaders and invest in them so we can compete in the future.

Digital Development

Credit unions must implement a digital strategy to remain competitive as they navigate the digital revolution taking place across the financial services industry today. While the impact of this transformation can be felt in obvious areas like product and business development, there are also less obvious talent implications. Credit unions need to prepare their workforces to adapt to the changes resulting from this shifting digital landscape, which means investing in digital-savvy talent. This talent pool is in high demand across all industries and organizations experiencing similar digital transformations, which makes it challenging for credit unions to find the right talent. These individuals are really in the driver’s seat when it comes to being able to choose where and when and how they work.

Advice: Consider investing in digital-savvy talent before you think you need it. The reality is that you probably need it already, even if you do not realize it yet. It is crucial for credit unions to have team members in place who really understand the digital transformation and the digitization of financial services.

Developing a talent strategy that supports a business strategy is costly. But not investing in one can result in shortchanging your credit union in the long run. Proactively investing available funds into retooling your workforce to more effectively compete will pay off in spades.

Lynn Heckler

Lynn Heckler

Lynn Heckler is responsible for the functions that define PSCU’s culture and employees’ work experience. She joined PSCU in 2001 and has over 25 years of experience in human ... Details