Key factors for reducing turnover and combatting The Great Resignation

University FCU achieved record employee engagement and increased retention in 2021. Here’s how.

During the past two years, both businesses and their employees have been struggling to keep up with the pace of change. The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to change entire business models virtually overnight. Employees had to not only keep up with organizational changes but the drastic changes happening in their personal lives as well. Those employees lucky enough to be able to work from home during this time were suddenly spending 24/7 with a roommate, home-schooling children or feeling isolated if living alone. The amount of change employees experienced personally and professionally during 2020 and 2021 was astounding. As a result of these factors, coupled with baby boomer retirements and a lack of childcare options, the United States is in the midst of “The Great Resignation”: Employers are seeing double digit growth in their turnover rates as employees make different choices about their personal lives and careers.

During all this upheaval, University Federal Credit Union leaned in early to support its employees and stayed fully present with them throughout by spending time deeply listening to staff, meeting them where they were and leading with empathy, flexibility and understanding. As a result of strategic, specific planned actions led by our human resources and organizational development team and carried out by leadership, UFCU saw our highest employee engagement scores ever. These scores led the Gallup organization to honor UFCU with the Gallup’s Exceptional Workplace Award in 2021, which recognizes organizations with employee engagement scores in the top 2% worldwide.

If you find it challenging to get your credit union’s executive team enthused about employee engagement and understanding why it matters, then let’s talk about how it relates to turnover. During the same year of highest employee engagement scores on record, UFCU realized a 5% reduction in overall turnover. Looking deeper, some traditionally high-turnover departments saw as much as a 15% reduction. While most organizations were out scrambling to find new talent to fill their vacancies, UFCU took the approach of retaining the talent it had—and it worked, with tangible results.


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