Credit unions must regularly assess their wages and benefits to ensure they’re attractive to current and prospective employees.
Toward that aim, iQ Credit Union in Vancouver, Wash., adjusts and improves its benefits program each year, addressing everything from vacation payouts for tenured staff to increases in education reimbursements, says Kari Stansberry, senior vice president, human resources, for the $1.1 billion asset credit union.
The Vancouver, Wash.-based credit union does this because it’s known in the area for being a quality employer.
“This makes us vulnerable to organizations who want to hire our employees,” Stansberry says. “While we can’t [keep] all employees, we do have several employees—I call them ‘boomerang employees’—who leave the credit union in hopes of something better, and then return.”
Some staff, for example, have left iQ with the desire to make significantly more money in the mortgage industry but returned after being laid off when rates increased.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, the credit union had its lowest turnover in more than five years despite being in a market with very low unemployment.
The credit union also gives staff opportunities to get involved on internal committees. Its wellness committee, for example, leads quarterly campaigns to encourage mental and physical health with initiatives such as run/walks, boot camps, book clubs, potluck lunches, and an iQ-branded gratitude journal.
Its community time-off program offers every staff member eight hours of paid time to volunteer for a nonprofit that interests them.
‘Constantly look for ways to improve and stay competitive.’
Talent acquisition and retention is becoming a game changer and it will continue to gain importance in the credit union’s success, says Cindy Swigert, vice president, human resources, at $954 million asset UVA Community Credit Union in Charlottesville, Va., and chair of the CUNA Human Resources & Organizational Development Council.
She says it’s critical to invest in competitive salaries, employee development, and cultural initiatives.
“Leaving that to chance or taking the approach that ‘we can easily replace talent with so many candidates out there’ is a dangerous mindset and can lead down a perilous path,” Swigert says.
Plus, you’ll need to revisit benefits, salaries, and professional development opportunities in the changing work environment.
“Never become stagnant,” she says. “Constantly look for ways to improve and stay competitive. Do what is mutually beneficial for your staff and your credit union because what works at one credit union may not work for another.”
Also, focus on what excites prospective employees. For many millennials, that’s credit unions’ social mission.
“Cultivate a culture of authenticity and philanthropy,” advises Brandi Stankovic, senior vice president at CU Solutions Group. “If you show millennials they can make a difference and that their contributions matter, you will be more apt to attract and retain younger talent. And always create a work environment that is inclusive and fun.”