In business, creating a positive company culture while also providing an exceptional customer experience is a priority for business leaders. Balancing employee satisfaction while meeting consumers’ needs can present unique management challenges; however, through forward-thinking initiatives, organizations can find the balance and deliver to their employees and customers equally.
Unlike traditional banking institutions, Neighborhood Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization committed to helping its members achieve their short and long-term financial goals for their families. The organization is not looking to make a profit from its customers, but to improve their financial health and well-being through unique products and community investment.
Neighborhood Credit Union believes that by investing in its employees, the organization can better serve its members and the communities in which they live. Investing resources and offering opportunities for employees to learn, grow and excel at their jobs ultimately allows Neighborhood Credit Union employees to serve members at a higher level. It also helps attract new talent, reduce employee turnover, and improve productivity. This year, Neighborhood Credit Union added two employee-focused initiatives – scholarships for financial counselor certification courses and the WE CARE program.
The Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP), offered by CUNA, provides credit union employees with the skills and knowledge required to guide members to sound financial decisions. Employees interested in becoming a financial counselor go through a financial counseling certification program which includes participating in a series of webinars, learning the content of the training book, and passing a two-hour proctored exam. Along with the time commitment needed to complete the program, a financial commitment also is required. To eliminate the financial hardship, the Neighborhood Credit Union Foundation (the charitable giving organization founded by the credit union) provided scholarships to two employees to fund their participation in the program. Through the financial certification course, employees gain exposure and experience in new and different departments enabling them to be more equipped to provide financial education and counseling to members of the credit union. This benefits the employees at Neighborhood CU, current members, and indirectly helps attract new members through positive word-of-mouth recommendations from those members that are satisfied with their high standard of service. For scholarship recipient Eric Ruiz, a digital experience specialist with Neighborhood Credit Union, his certification allows him to support members who are experiencing financial difficulties and provide better service and financial guidance. “With my FiCEP designation, I’ve enhanced my skill set to help empower members who are working towards improving their financial futures,” said Ruiz.
Neighborhood Credit Union’s WE CARE program is designed to help better serve the community by elevating personal performance standards and the level of service shown to fellow employees. The initiative, which stands for Working Together, Etiquette, Consistency, Accuracy, Responsiveness, and Education, uniquely encourages personal growth and learning within employees through internal company activities and events. From these efforts, employees are continually refining their skillset to develop a stronger sense of purpose and motivation for serving others. This philosophy is raising the quality of service provided and resulting in more positive member outcomes. The WE CARE program also includes a component that encourages personal growth in employees through a commitment to engage in external volunteering in the community. Both the well-being of employees and the level of service that members and the community receive have been positively impacted by the servant spirit of WE CARE. Neighborhood CU employees are now taking the lead in organizing volunteer opportunities that give back to their members and the communities they live in, overall creating a positive impact on both the members and themselves.
Neighborhood Credit Union’s commitment to its employees, members and community strongly aligns with its core values as a business. Neighborhood CU strives to do the right thing for members, embraces a strong learning environment, and encourages team players in the workplace. All these components have allowed them to balance employee satisfaction while delivering the highest level of member service.