Exceptional member service begins and ends with credit union employees. Whether it is the teller providing friendly service in the branch or the loan processor in the back office working to ensure that a member’s mortgage application proceeds smoothly, your members’ experience is defined by their direct or indirect interaction with your staff.
Regrettably, dissatisfied employees or excessive staff turnover can derail the best intentions to provide exceptional member service. A comprehensive approach to attract, develop, and retain employees is therefore an essential component of an effective member service strategy.
One credit union that appreciates the relationship between staff satisfaction, member service, and ultimately financial performance is Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union.
Case Study: Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union ($1.9 Billion, Miramar, FL)
In 2003, Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union re-evaluated its corporate strategy and encapsulated it in its “Four Cornerstones of Excellence.” One of the cornerstones reflected the credit union’s emphasis on its people and their work environment. According to Joan McCormick, PHR, Vice President, Director of Human Resources, “we strove to create an exceptional work experience.” With the active support of CEO Steve McGill, EFFCU’s Human Resources Department sought to improve all aspects of its approach to staffing.
One of the first areas they sought to improve was the hiring process. “Employee retention really starts with the hiring process,” says Ms. McCormick. “Hiring the right people for the right positions is important to develop and retain your staff.”
To strengthen EFFCU’s employee value proposition, EFFCU constantly evaluates its benefits package. In terms of health benefits, the credit union currently pays between in 86 percent and 90 percent of all health costs depending on the family type. The credit union offers full-time employees life insurance, short term and long-term disability benefits. Other benefits provided to all the employees include a pension plan, 401k with a 4% match., flexible spending accounts, tuition refund program, long term care and a 529 College Plan.
EFFCU has also developed several non-traditional benefits to round out their benefits program and improve employee morale. Some of these include:
- Flexible hours and compressed work week to employees, coordinating summer camp for employees children at discounted rates
- Paid Time Off (PTO) Bank payout of unused previous years PTO
- Mortgage and Loan discounts to employees
- Weight watchers, exercise programs, and $100 credit towards a gym membership to encourage healthy living
- Anniversary recognition, employee of the month and year, leadership of the quarter, employee suggestion awards
Although these benefits can be expensive, Ms. McCormick says they are far less costly than the cost associated with staff turnover. “Turnover costs are so high that it is more advantageous to invest in health benefits and activities that boost employee morale.”
Satisfied Employees = Satisfied Members
The result of EFFCU’s enhanced employee benefits program is not only satisfied staff; it is also satisfied members. According to Ms. McCormick, “we get about forty letters a month from members with exceptional experiences in our credit union. Even the collections officers receive complementary letters!”
As shown in the Member Growth graph below, EFFCU’s investment in employee retention has paid off financially as well. Member, asset, loan and share growth are all well above the peer group average according to December 2005 data*.
To learn more about the challenges of staff turnover and how credit unions are developing innovative employee benefits packages to attract and retain their staff, please join our webinar, The War for Talent : How Credit Unions Attract and Retain Top Employees.
*Peer group is credit unions in Florida over $1B in assets. Data comes from CUAnalyzer.