Create a Culture of Learning in Your CU

Nine steps Mountain America CU has taken to establish a learning culture.

November 18, 2010

Creating a learning culture can give your credit union a competitive advantage.

At Mountain America Credit Union (MACU), learning is part of our culture and contributes to our success.

Nine things we’ve done to establish this learning culture:

1. Senior leadership and board members are committed to employee learning. They understand that employee training impacts the quality of service our members receive. Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineThey’ve also been willing to dedicate credit union resources for learning and development.

2. Branch and department supervisors support employee development. They give their employees time and encouragement to complete educational classes in operations, and personal and professional development.

3. MACU rewards and recognizes employee learning. We created an online university through which employees complete curriculum based on their roles at the credit union.

They earn rewards by completing various levels in Mountain America University. And performance evaluations often are tied to the completion of learning goals employees establish with their supervisors.

4. The credit union has established a culture of excellence in its training team. At MACU, positions in educational services are highly desirable, so we can hire great people from within the credit union with expertise in credit union operations and culture.

Our trainers also have opportunities for professional development and collaboration with other areas of the organization.

5. Training has a seat at the table in project planning. Including a trainer on all project teams greatly increases initiatives’ success. Training often represents the employee perspective as well as strong technical knowledge.

6. A learning culture contributes to a great place to work. MACU employees consider opportunities for learning and development an important employment benefit. It helps them in their current jobs and prepares them for future opportunities.

7. MACU has maintained its support of and commitment to training, despite the economic downturn.

8. The credit union has established a “Learning Council” which includes representatives from all areas of the credit union who meet together quarterly. Council members give feedback on existing training resources and test new learning initiatives prior to implementation. They also assist with training needs assessment for their areas.

9. We regularly communicate critical information to employees. We created a weekly e-mail update, “Keeping Current,” that contains all organizational and training-related information. This helps to increase consistency of knowledge across the credit union.

Managers also review Keeping Current during their weekly staff meetings.

At MACU, we realize that every employee, no matter their position, represents the credit union to our membership and beyond. It’s important to provide learning and development opportunities employees need to be successful in their jobs and enable them to give great service to our members.

This ultimately leads to higher employee satisfaction and greater member loyalty.

SUZANNE OLIVER is senior vice president, educational services, for $2.8 billion asset Mountain America Credit Union, West Jordan, Utah, and vice chair of the CUNA HR/TD Council.