The adoption of digital technology reached a tipping point during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions, as well as internal operations, by three to four years, with most expecting these changes to be long lasting, according to a McKinsey Global Survey.
For credit unions that means the fight for tech talent has risen to a fever pitch.
“The lack of available technical talent has been a challenge for years,” says Michael Parks, chief information officer of $14.2 billion asset Suncoast Credit Union in Tampa, Fla. “The pandemic and increase in demand for this talent has taken it from being a challenge to a major strategic risk.”
Credit unions are investing in technology and, as a result, they need tech workers to support their strategic priorities, says Cheri Speier-Pero, Ph.D., a Filene Research Institute fellow and Michigan State University academician.
Consumers now have very different expectations of how organizations, including credit unions, can and should meet their needs, says Speier-Pero. That’s true of prospective employees as well.
Laura Sehres, vice president of talent acquisition and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at PSCU, notes that “with current labor market dynamics, flexibility is more important than ever for both attracting and retaining tech talent. Remote or hybrid options are now becoming more of an expectation versus a perk with candidates.”
To attract talent, “you need to understand what separates your organization and capitalize on it to help you win overqualified candidates,” Parks says.
‘The pandemic and increase in demand for this talent has taken it from being a challenge to being a major strategic risk.’
Many younger tech workers are looking for jobs that matter, “so focusing less on the technical credentials one must have and more on how this role will have a significant impact on the credit union and its mission can be a compelling job posting,” Speier-Pero says.
As important as attracting talent is, retaining it is equally so.
When employees leave for other opportunities, evaluate why they leave and how you can reverse the trend. A key component in retention is ensuring staff members know their employer and leaders care about them as people and that their well-being is top of mind, says Sehres.
“Show employees they are valued and invest in their future through training or involvement that provides exposure and stretching to new experiences,” Parks says.
Linn Area Credit Union prioritizes employee satisfaction.
“Our culture has paid dividends in terms of retaining top talent,” says Rich Head, vice president, information technology, at the $546 million asset credit union in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We have robust benefits, and we continue to keep employees aware of how good the benefits are to ensure the value remains relevant to them.”
Consider allowing employees to select from a menu of benefit alternatives, says Speier-Pero, who notes one option that is attractive to younger employees is student loan repayment.