Strategic mentoring in your credit union

Tie your credit union's program to your top human resources or organizational issues.

During a webinar on strategic mentoring presented for CUES in September, Tony Kirschner, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. and partner at Davies Park Executive Search, a CUES strategic partner, pointed to these issues which most organizations face at one time or another: retention, engagement and succession planning. While these may be seen as HR issues, they’re more organizational in nature to Kirschner.

“When we talk about HR issues and HR programs, sustainability is always the key. And what we have seen, and I think this is systemic across all industries, is sometimes if you have programs that are driven by HR, it’s hard to sustain them. You may get some early wins and you may get some turn around in whatever metrics you’re trying to look at, but it’s hard, over time, to actually drive that into culture, unless you figure out a plan around sustainability,” said Kirschner. “One of the things we found is that mentoring is a really good way to make it organic, because it doesn’t become an HR program—it becomes an organizational program.

“One thing that we haven’t found in talking with thousands of executives, and something I’ve never seen in 25 years of doing this, is a top-performing executive in any level in any sector who wasn’t mentored and who wasn’t also in some way giving back and acting later in his or her career as a mentor,” said Kirschner.

In credit unions, mentoring frequently happens when senior executives take a less experienced staff member under their wing. In this case, the goal is likely a general one: to professionally develop less experienced staff members and advance their career at the credit union.

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