Credit unions of all sizes face growing pressure to improve efficiency by increasing the scale of their operations.
Scaling allows credit unions to provide essential technology to ensure a competitive member experience. It involves using technology to automate transactional work done by employees and scaling capabilities so employees can comfortably increase workload or do work more efficiently.
Human resources (HR) must be a significant partner in the scaling process as many of the greatest challenges of scale include employee functions. HR can be a strategic partner to meet an at-scale organization's demands.
At Mountain America Credit Union in Sandy, Utah, the HR team has been at the forefront of leading strategy and change.
“For us to scale, we are focusing on getting the right tools in the hands of the right people, led by the right leaders,” says Trent Savage, chief human resources officer at the $12 billion asset credit union. “The right technology frees up employees’ time to do the most critical work. This is how we will be able to serve our members for the long haul.”
This work involves investments in time, money, leader buy-in and support, and a great deal of patience. By building capacity and infrastructure today, you ready your organization to meet future demands and provide the strategic support the business desires from HR.
At Mountain America, we had to redesign our HR function to offer a different result. We centralized employee relations to a smaller group that could quickly scale solutions more systemically and consistently.
Doing so enabled us to free up our HR business partners' capacity to provide more strategic work to our business leaders.
This design change also offered a better employee experience as it was clear whom to call with these types of issues. Instead of remembering one person, we directed them to a central group.
To scale our HR team to meet our credit union's growing needs, HR first needed to put its own house in order.
Mountain America began by putting in place systems and processes that enable the business to scale in all areas without losing focus on the human element. For example, we leveraged existing tools like our information technology’s (IT) ticketing system to start tracking issues.
Doing so allowed us to identify where employees were having problems, find root causes for the issues, and provide solutions that brought down the volume. This work was a win-win as it provided a more straightforward experience for our employees and reduced some of HR’s caseload.
“We increased the human touch by providing dedicated resources—not by removing the point of contact but by standardizing it to advance strategy and deepen these relationships," Savage says.
All systems aim to increase productivity and alignment without sacrificing the element that makes us unique: our people.
Mountain America also used its knowledge center to provide employees with more information at their fingertips for self-service. While HR wants to keep the human touch, in today's world some things are better done with technology.
NEXT: The right people and skills