The belief that “our people are our greatest asset” has been a widely held tenet in our industry for some time. In an economy that lends itself to short-term employment and plenty of turnover in industries of all sizes, credit unions can keep devoted staff members around for years, even decades. While this career longevity can create a smart, experienced staff, it can also deter younger employees from becoming involved in the organization.
A seismic shift in employee demographics is coming, one that will dramatically change the nation, the economy and our industry.
- According to a recent CUNA survey, 1 in 5 credit union CEOs will have retired by the end of 2012. 1 in 3 are expected to retire within the next five years.
- The PEW Research Center estimates that 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of retirement every single day. This will continue every day for the next 19 years.
This “Boomer Shift” has the potential to devastate credit unions. Consider the impact of losing such experienced and wise credit union leaders. Now, think specifically about your senior leadership teams – most credit unions’ executive teams consist primarily of baby boomers. How would your organization function without those seasoned veterans? Could your organization function without them? If your answer is anything less than a resounding “Yes”, there is work to be done.
The facts above are eye-opening, and it’s clear that there is now a greater need than ever before for employee development and succession planning for rising, young employees. The question is not if but how.
What are some ways to fire up the younger employees in your credit union and prepare them to take the reigns?
- Begin a mentorship program
- Earmark a Board of Directors seat for someone under 30
- Create a Gen Y advisory panel
- Formalize a job shadow program – one hour, once per month
- Hold an innovation tournament involving products, services and marketing campaigns
- Invite an employee under 30 to your credit union’s strategic planning sessions
- Transparency matters – hold an annual all-staff meeting to communicate strategic objectives
- Create volunteer opportunities through partnerships in your community
- Credit union sponsored employee sports teams
- Involve your Gen Y employees in the Cooperative Trust
Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it an adjustment? Yes. Is it important? You’d better believe it.
It’s time we recognize that the stakes are high. Are you willing to risk your credit union’s future, your employees’ jobs and your members’ financial well-being on anything less than complete confidence in your organization’s employee development and succession planning initiatives? Plato said it best: “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
Get started. You’re not getting any younger.
Bill Clancy is the VP of Retail Strategy at Lake Michigan Credit Union in USA (Michigan) Credentials: CUES 2010 Next Top CU Exec Contestant, Michigan CU League Future Leaders Committee – Vice Chair, Cooperative Trust Member (fka Crash Network) Twitter: @billclancy
The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots group of young people working in credit unions and cooperatives. Founded in 2010, they connect and enable those fighting for the future of socially-responsible finance. For more info, or to join, visit them at www.trust.coop.