The workforce in this country is becoming more diverse. As diversity introduces greater gender, ethnicity, culture, and religious differences to the workplace, employers need to be attuned to the changing needs and attitudes. It is not unusual for the employees of 2018 to be much more vocal about their worklife balance and experience. As the labor market continues to tighten, employers should take the opportunity to focus on and invest in improving the employee experience.
According to a Gallup article, “The Secret of Higher Performance” by Jim Asplund and Nikki Blacksmith, here are some insights into what motivates employees:
To be engaged, you need to identify with the mission and purpose of your company. You're great at some things and won't ever be very good at others. If you have the materials and equipment you need to do your job right, you'll care more about the fate of your organization. You are naturally inclined toward success at some things, and by adding skills, knowledge, and practice, you'll be much better at them.
Seems simple enough. Credit unions have an advantage in this area given their foundation in the cooperative principles on which credit unions were founded. Since their founding, credit unions have sought to balance their business and social roles in the rapidly changing communities they serve. But with an increasingly diverse workforce, finding ways for ALL employees to feel valued and connected to a credit union’s mission and purpose becomes a real challenge.
What can credit unions and their leaders do to create a workplace where diverse employees can all come together to deliver an unforgettable member experience?
PSCU set out to boost employee engagement through the creation of its Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Volunteers from every area of the company are welcome to join ERGs around various common interests, including African Americans (Sankofa), LGBTQ+Allies (PSCUnity), and women (Susan Adams Women’s Network – SAWN), with others in the early stages of development.
The success of PSCU’s three existing ERGs is a real testament to employee engagement. Credit unions considering starting their own ERGs, or adding new ERGs, should keep the following considerations in mind:
Ensure you have sponsorship from senior leaders
Build a team of passionate employees willing to put in the work
Determine potential funding sources (Is there an organizational budget available or should fundraising be considered?)
Define your ERG’s mission (what you do), vision (desired end-state), visual identity, and name
Align your goals with organizational goals and ensure they are measurable; metrics to consider include engagement, retention, and leadership development
Define structure, roles, and responsibilities, ideally including a strategic lead and clearly defined committees (advocacy, outreach, education, philanthropy, etc.)
Determine how to define and track membership
Create a calendar of major holiday observances you want to recognize or events you want to support
Consider how the ERG will be incorporated into onboarding so new hires can get involved
Paying attention to communities of interest to employees and valuing what matters to them can pay real dividends for credit union members. If an ERG helps employees feel valued, that investment will pay off with engaged employees who are passionate about the member experience.
About The Authors
Tom Olney leads the Learning Architecture and Knowledge Management functions at PSCU and has extensive project management experience. He is a change agent and regularly promotes innovative learning and knowledge management solutions and enthusiastically embraces experimentation, balancing business requirements with best-in-class solutions.
Lindsay Owen manages PSCU’s team of training professionals. Starting out as a contact center agent, she quickly found her home within Learning and Organizational Development at PSCU. She is also proud to be a part of PSCU’s Inclusion and Diversity steering committee, as well as leading PSCU’s first LGBTQ+Allies Employee Resource Group, PSCUnity.