At CDC Federal Credit Union in Atlanta, the need to look out for employees led to the creation of a special team. “We created a task force that includes folks from human resources, the retail side, and our accounting team, and we talk about what the plan needs to be,” says Australia Hoover, president at the $320 million asset credit union.
“What are the capabilities in every area of the credit union? How are our people doing? Are there any issues or growing concerns? Do they have enough supplies? We keep tabs on that.”
Despite the challenges the task force works to address, Hoover prioritizes sharing a positive outlook with staff. “That’s what I’m focused on right now: Making sure we’re a source of inspiration and a place they can turn to for some good news.”
Hoover also sees the potential for positive opportunities post-crisis. “We might need to be the model for economic reconstruction in individuals’ households,” he says. “That might be where the rest of the nation looks to make this recovery happen. We’re in a tremendous position to make people’s lives better.”
Jason Lindstrom, president/CEO of $316 million asset Evergreen Credit Union in Portland, Maine, says taking care of staff means putting the financials aside and prioritizing the credit union’s “people aspect.”
“If our team is going to be successful, we need to give them the tools,” Lindstrom says. The credit union’s position is that paying employees who are home from work for two weeks is the right thing to do. “For us, that’s their hazard pay.”
Lindstrom also highlights how important it is for leaders to remain visible during a crisis—even if that can’t be done in person. “If you can’t go out to the branches and you can’t see your team, well-constructed emails about what it means to lead and what it means to be an essential employee make a world of difference.”
At Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), leaders knew that financial hardship was a huge concern for employees and that it needed to take aggressive action. The $1.7 billion asset credit union in Anaheim, Calif., gave $1,000 to every employee, regardless of length of employment. Temporary workers also received the money.
“This is an unprecedented time that demands extraordinary action,” says Dave Gunderson, CEO of CU SoCal. “Disruptions from the coronavirus are causing financial strain for our employees and their families. We wanted to provide help early on to ease some of these burdens.”
In Greenville, S.C., when the governor ordered schools to close, leadership at SC Telco Federal Credit Union knew the order would impact employees who didn’t have access to childcare.
To assist these employees, the credit union created Kids Kamp, which allows employees to bring their children—from kindergarten through eighth grade—to the corporate office during business hours for supervision.
“Guided by our core value of having the heart of a servant, our leadership team has been able to extend peace of mind to our staff and provide a tangible way to help them during this difficult time,” says Brian McKay, president/CEO of the $400 million asset credit union. “We know that when we take care of our employees, they are well-positioned to take care of our members. It’s a win-win.”
The credit union’s training room became the hub of Kids Kamp. Staff voluntarily picked up shifts to supervise the children, and some family members of staff also helped.
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