Credit unions are facing tight competition for both branch and operational staff. Society is changing and workers, especially those of younger generations, are developing higher expectations for work. They want more meaningful work, and they want better working environments. The skills gap, which has resulted from automation transforming the very nature of work from routine to dynamic and complex, ensures that today’s skilled candidates are going to get the positive working experiences they’re seeking. The only question remaining is “where?”
The organizations that create great employee experiences are winning the war for talent. These experiences are about more than compensation, in fact 75% of millennials and over half of Americans in general would take a pay cut to work at a better company. This makes credit unions, with their commitment to people over shareholders, uniquely prepared to compete for the best talent. And in fact, many things that credit unions are doing to create great member experiences carry over into employee experiences. These experiences center around three main pillars: the work they are doing, the physical working environment, and wellbeing.
The most impactful change for branch employees is the shift from the traditional, boring teller position to complex and dynamic problem-solving roles where they can tackle any issue a member comes in with. Credit unions like Verity Credit Union in Seattle are leading the way with tellerless branches, where universal associate employees have the freedom to move about an open lobby, greet members at the door, and help them with anything from cashing a check to taking out a mortgage. This is great for members, but it also works wonders for the employee experience. This mirrors the manufacturing industry, where companies realized that by cross-training workers and giving them more responsibility they could eliminate the boredom that comes with repetitive work and cultivate a happier, more productive workforce. By empowering staff with more skills and responsibility, credit unions are creating more meaningful and fulfilling work.
The physical working environment is another important aspect of the employee experience, and one that has the potential to make a big impact during the interview stage of the recruiting process. This is where your credit union has the opportunity to immediately and visibly communicate its attitude and personality to candidates. The materials and colors that make up the branch have the potential to create a bright and welcoming environment that engages employees and instills in them a sense of pride around their work.
Credit unions are also discovering that the member experience is improved when they focus on supporting the health and wellbeing of their employees, and many are making wellness a prominent aspect of the employee experience. HAPO Community Credit Union recently opened a WELL Certified branch, where every aspect of the design, construction, and occupancy supports the wellbeing of employees and visitors. This involves things like cleaner air, more comfortable workstations, and light that syncs our circadian rhythms, time based biological processes, with the natural daylight cycle.
Winning the war for talent is going to be one of the biggest challenges that credit unions will face in 2019. But if they stick to their principles of people helping people, and provide not only great member experiences but great member experiences as well, it’ll be the big banks scratching their heads and wondering why they’re losing the best and brightest to the credit unions.