The financial services environment is permanently in a state of flux. With increased competition, interest rate and economic fluctuations, and rapidly evolving member expectations, credit unions need to constantly improve on existing services and create new ones to stay competitive.
How do top-level managers create an environment in which the staff is motivated to “put the pedal to the metal” on an ongoing basis? First and foremost, top-level managers must establish a case for change—one that explains why change is imperative, even during periods of success. The whole organization—from the board to the most newly hired teller—needs to feel the urgency for change for the organization to be effective.
Credit union leadership must clearly state the objectives of change—faster growth, higher penetration, increased member satisfaction, etc.—so that all employees can understand their role in achieving the credit union’s goals. Some ways to communicate during periods of change:
- Map out the path to change and reinforce it repeatedly in internal communications. The employees within the organization must understand, believe in, and be excited about the possibilities. Everyone must feel included and part of a ‘movement’ towards enhanced member value.
- Get your front line involved with monthly meetings where their input, ideas, and findings are relayed to upper management. This also provides management with insight into members’ needs from those who interact with them most.
- Tie the credit union’s goals to personal growth opportunities for staff. Hold employee education days, and ongoing training so staff upgrades their skills and knowledge in line with change.
To keep the organization motivated, measurements and metrics should be in place to gauge progress toward goals. Employees are driven by their results, whether it be recognizing successes or measuring shortcomings with positive reinforcement for the future.
- Post dashboards or other measurement graphics in well-trafficked areas so employees can see organization-wide progress.
- Host quarterly meetings to rally your team and celebrate your successes.
- Award incentives such as free lunches or credit union apparel to particularly productive units.
Building a positive attitude and excitement about the future of the credit union can strengthen employees’ commitment to the credit union as an employer as well as contribute to member service quality.