Values, culture key to SECU onboarding program

Credit union provides more than just information on the technical aspects of the job.

March 27, 2019

At SECU, onboarding isn’t just about learning the technical pieces of a new job, such as how to answer the phone or greet a member. Instead, the credit union wants its new employees to know they’re valued and an integral part of the credit union’s success.

The $3.6 billion asset credit union in Linthicum, Md., takes new employees through a 12-month onboarding program that focuses on:

  • Orientation, which aims to assist new employees with assimilating to the credit union’s culture and make them feel comfortable.
  • Onboarding, which involves four workshops designed to deepen their understanding of SECU and address building a personal brand, engagement, collaborative conversations, and accountability.

“Our mantra for orientation is to take new employees on a journey from ‘Me to we, from we to us, to team SECU,’” says Roderic Flowers, senior vice president of organizational agility. “This mantra helps employees recognize that they join SECU as individuals from various professional and personal backgrounds, and will leave orientation and onboarding as a unified team to deliver our vision and social purpose of making a positive contribution to the financial well-being of those we serve.”

Because the first 90 days of employment are critical, Flowers says SECU also includes regular touchpoints during the first year of employment to make sure employees are acclimating to their jobs and the credit union’s culture.

The onboarding program is also designed to build relationships and camaraderie. New employees are grouped into cohorts based on the month they start working at SECU and go through the program together.

The credit union is seeing results. There has been a steady decrease—19 days—in the amount of time to fill positions between 2016 and 2018 and a 3% decrease in attrition, Flowers says. Employees also say they feel valued, engaged, and motivated.

“The onboarding process was different and exciting,” says Maria Jimenez, a community outreach specialist. “It got me motivated to perform and to start making a positive contribution to the financial well-being of those we serve and those that we will serve.”