Employee engagement and an organization’s ability to attract and maintain top talent are directly connected.
“If we don’t engage our people, they’re going to leave us,” says Trish Kordas, chief culture officer at $677 million asset Tucson (Ariz.) Federal Credit Union, who led a “deep dive” session Tuesday at the 2023 CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council Conference in San Diego. “Without engagement, we have unhappy employees and, of course, unhappy members. We are all trying to attract top talent and keep the people we have.”
From an HR perspective, engagement starts with tracking and measurement, according to Kordas.
Common metrics used to measure engagement include:
Kordas believes it's also important to keep in mind that some metrics don’t measure engagement, such as demographics.
“Demographics tell what your employee makeup is; it doesn’t tell you about their level of engagement,” Kordas says, adding that the time-to-hire metric "doesn’t tell us how engaged people are when they are at your credit union.”
Strategies to elevate engagement include internal leadership programs, total rewards strategies, community outreach initiatives, focus groups, and innovation and idea committees.
Many of these ideas don’t require a huge budget. Credit unions with lower budgets can establish employee resource groups, book clubs, and internal leadership and mentor programs, including programs for employees who don’t necessarily want to manage people.
Kordas says HR leaders must learn how to “defend the spend” by making a strong business case for their investments in engagement initiatives. Building that case includes the following components:
Tucson Federal's chief financial officer built a tool that measures the ROI of each initiative, allowing Kordas to "pop in a few numbers and share ROI in a quick way.”
Attendees of Tuesday's session offered engagement ideas from their own credit unions, including: