Debbie Woods acknowledges it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a young parent, struggling to make ends meet and juggle responsibilities at work and home.
That’s especially the case when your workforce skews older, as was the case when Woods took over 14 years ago as president/CEO at $50 million asset Taylor Credit Union in Medford, Wis.
Over the past decade, Woods has added some balance to Taylor’s 21-member staff. She continues her pledge to accommodate family obligations in the schedule.
“I don’t have children at home, I don’t have day care,” she says. But she’s committed to staying in touch with those who do, and “to have compassion for them.”
Whenever possible, Woods, a grandmother, prefers to relax some of the hardships she encountered as she raised a family while pursuing a management career. “If it wasn’t as easy for me, make it easier for” my employees, she says.
Like many credit unions, Taylor doesn’t have the resources for elaborate perks or programs. But it does have a committed management team that will arrange schedules around employees’ everyday commitments, such as child care, and kids’ athletic events, to unforeseen events such as sickness and funerals.
To eliminate uncertainty, managers distribute schedules at least two months in advance, and they’ll alter them only for illness or emergencies.
“Family comes first,” Woods says. “If something comes up and [employees] need to leave work, smile and let them go, don’t scrutinize them.
“That’s within reason, of course,” she adds. “You have to set guidelines. Otherwise, you’d have employees taking advantage of that. But, ‘My boss wouldn’t let me leave’—those are words I don’t want to hear.”
At the same time, Woods says employees of all ages and with varied responsibilities benefit from a workplace that demands performance while on the clock but allows for a life outside the branch.
When the credit union introduced Saturday lobby service nearly a decade ago, Woods proposed paying time and a half for weekend hours worked while still capping employees at 40 hours a week.
That way, not only do staff get a little extra money in their pockets without working overtime, they'd also receive an afternoon off midweek to run errands or unwind.