Adopt A Simplified Human Capital Strategy To Maximize HR Investment

From CUNA Mutual Group Public Relations

For more information:
Phil Tschudy 608.665.7188
Rick Uhlmann 608.665.8940

SAN ANTONIO – Understanding the overall health and readiness of your credit union’s human capital and effectively communicating the value of your employee benefits can help attract and retain talent and favorably impact the bottom line, attendees at the CUNA Human Resources/Training and Development Council Conference were told Friday.

CUNA Mutual Group’s Mike Roche, employee benefits specialist, and Brad Pricer, human resources process leader, discussed the employee benefits concept of “Human Capital Management” and how it can help organizations enjoy a stable, talented and energized work force.

HR leaders in today’s competitive marketplace are challenged by hard-to-reach bottom lines, job consolidation, technology changes, health care reform and a shrinking labor pool. In addition, employees are often confused or not engaged when making benefits decisions. Roche cited a 2011 AFLAC Workforce Report that stated only 8 percent of workers strongly agreed they were fully engaged in making benefits decisions.

Simplifying human capital management acknowledges that your employees are not all the same, which forces you to provide them choices, Roche said. “It aids in analyzing workforce strengths and vulnerabilities and identifies opportunities and strategies to proactively manage employees.”

Roche suggested offering a good voluntary benefits program coupled with clear communications that articulate the personal benefit they receive. “These efforts will help your credit union attract and retain talent, which directly impacts the bottom line.”

Pricer said credit unions should get away from the traditional metric-based approach when analyzing the state of their human capital. “HC is more than just the people in the organization; it includes an individual’s ability, behavior, skills and tenure. The problem with using metrics to define and measure human capital is it doesn’t necessarily create a clear picture of your current human capital state and how you should manipulate it going forward,” Pricer said.

Too much time is spent identifying, measuring, and tracking human capital metrics. Instead, Pricer suggested creating a simplified approach to more easily define the strategy and identify needed resources. “This allows you to quickly explain HC needs to C-level management or the board of directors and where resources should be targeted.”

Pricer discussed “heat mapping” as a means to quickly define and explain the state of a credit union’s human capital.  Heat maps tell a concise story that can be told with just a few sheets of paper (or slides) instead of thick binders full of metrics.

Heat maps identify strengths and weaknesses within the technical functions of an organization by using a color-coded chart listing the different functional roles against the categories being measured within each role. Those categories should be: subject matter expertise, capacity, and capability.

Pricer said creating a heat map offers numerous advantages that allow credit unions to:

  • Put in place a succession-type plan at all levels
  • Understand the overall health and readiness of the organization’s human capital
  • Engage the best employees to drive success
  • Focus resources appropriately to improve the overall state of the credit union’s human capital, and
  • Provide an easy explanation to C-level management and/or board of directors

“By employing a human capital strategy, your credit union can ease the challenges and burdens of tracking day-to-day human capital management and free up staff to pursue other initiatives to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. Ultimately, this will help attract and retain key individuals.”

CUNA Mutual Group insurance, retirement and investment products provide financial security and protection to credit unions and their members worldwide. With more than 75 years of true market commitment, CUNA Mutual Group’s vision is unwavering: To be a trusted business partner who delivers service excellence through customer-focused products and market-driven insight. More information on the company is available on the company’s website at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wisconsin.

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