CUNA Strategic Planning Virtual Roundtable
Jeff Rendel, president, Rising Above Enterprises.

Invest in the employee experience

Commit to professional growth and development for all staff.

October 1, 2020

Focus on the employee experience by creating a workplace culture where employees realize every job has strategic value and the credit union is committed to professional growth and development.

The top three areas where employees want training are leadership, professional certifications, and technical skills, says Jeff Rendel, president of Rising Above Enterprises, who addressed the CUNA Strategic Planning Virtual Roundtable.

Consider these training opportunities:

  • High-potential development. Identify and invest in the next generation of leaders and managers through in-house programs and CUNA schools and certifications, or involve them in long-term projects and teams that will allow them to sharpen, refine, and showcase their managerial and executive talent, Rendel says.
  • Shark Tank experiences. Overseen by the CEO, a “Pitch the CEO” experience lets promising employees pitch ideas to the CEO in response to  business challenges. The employee develops a plan, presents it to the CEO, and then designs and develops a solution. “Your high potentials get the immediate ability to develop solutions,” Rendel says. “They have an opportunity to grow and see how they provide value strategically right away.”
  • Everyone’s an expert. Create a philosophy that “a CEO exists at every desk,” Rendel says. Set goals and create rewards for every employee. “You’re the expert. You’re the owner. You know what works best,” Rendel says. “Create opportunities to grow in your job.”
  • Departments of innovation. Have employees contribute ideas through a “solution box” or in meetings by asking what the credit union could be doing better, what it’s doing best, and where the credit union is performing OK, Rendel says.
  • Mentorships. Both the mentee and mentor benefit from these relationships, Rendel says. The mentee may set goals, discover strengths, learn leadership skills, and gain an understanding of the credit union’s strategic priorities, resources, and acumen. The mentor will be able to use their influence and decision making to have others see the value in the mentee’s ideas.
‘Understand there’s a lot of great business value in the employee experience.’
Jeff Rendel

Focusing on the employee experience is a good business move, Rendel says.

While there will be increased costs in employee pay due to employee growth, credit unions will be four times more profitable because of the engaged workforce, greater employee retention, and increased innovation which leads to new ideas, products, and ways to cross-sell.

As a result, members will be twice as satisfied, Rendel says. “Understand there’s a lot of great business value in the employee experience.”

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