Credit Union Leadership Tips for Improving Performance and Problem-Solving

 

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” –Phil Jackson

Credit unions, like many businesses, are coming off one of the toughest years in modern history. To get through this and start moving forward with some solid momentum this year, let’s talk about some credit union leadership tips to improve performance and solve problems.  

Separate the Problems

There are two different types of problems: ones you solve and ones you can disregard.

As a leader, your employees should come to you with potential issues, but it’s important to be able to distinguish which ones you need to devote time and resources to, and which ones are isolated incidents or one-off problems that aren’t likely to crop up again.

Just because something isn’t working doesn’t mean it is a problem that needs to be solved. A problem is only worth your time if it can be assessed in context with your goals and you determine it will inhibit you from reaching those goals.

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals by Hyper-Focusing on Damage Control

There are tons of examples of the 80/20 rule in business, which states that 80% of all business success is going to be attributed to 20% of its processes.

But if your only focus is damage control or problem-solving, the 20% of the processes that are necessary for your credit union to grow isn’t being completed.

One way to change this trajectory is to practice your own 80/20 strategy – encourage your employees to spend 80% of their time doing their regular job duties, and allow for 20% of their time to be focused on brainstorming and implementing new ways to grow your business.

Losing sight of your goals is just as bad as not having any in the first place.

Embrace a Targeted Approach

There are always more problems. Even if you have a perfectly trained staff that never makes mistakes, you will still encounter issues.

And expanding your resources doesn’t always help. Kristen Cox, consultant and former Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget in the State of Utah, talks about the “seductive seven” – common ineffective tactics that organizations often use when responding to problems.

The Seductive Seven are:

  •  More Technology
  • More Data
  • More Strategy
  • More Training & Communication
  • More Reorganization
  • More Accountability & Assigning Blame
  • More Money

These things are seductive in that these things often pull focus and allow leaders to fixate on these shiny solutions rather than creating space for any actual problem-solving.

Kristen goes on to say that increasing performance means leaders must “start by stopping.” Your credit union’s resources are not infinite. So, rather than employing lots of quick fixes and buzzword action plans, you must devote your time to training your staff to recognize when to stop doing things that aren’t working.

It seems counterintuitive at first, but success comes not just from doing things that are helpful, but also from ceasing activities that don’t return good results, axing technology solutions that don’t work for you, and amending processes to weed out redundancies.

Implement Software Solutions That Work

As we said, it’s not about implementing more technology – it’s about implementing the right technology. And IMS Integration is here with your credit union-specific problem-solving software.

IMS Integration is here with a full range of credit union software solutions to take your problem-solving effectiveness to the next level.

Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.


How to Improve Your Credit Union’s Employee Experience

 

As a credit union leader, you spend a lot of time working on ways to improve the member experience. But what about the employee experience? 

Your employees have taken on the brunt of the chaos of 2020 alongside you and your leadership team in an effort to support your members through the challenges of the year. As we prepare for 2021, it’s time to reevaluate how we create the employee experience. 

Build the Company Culture

The best way to improve the employee experience is to build the company culture. 

According to Built In, “Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization.” 

By definition, a company’s culture is not something you can change overnight because it occurs naturally, whether you are part of that culture. This means that to build the company culture, you must first understand the company culture. Your employees are creating a culture around you, so it’s important that you are part of that culture. 

If your company culture does not align with your company’s core values, then you and the rest of the leadership team have work to do. Change comes from the top, so if your culture does not align with your values, change starts with you. 

The key to building a company culture starts with living out your company’s core values. When your employees see these values in action and they agree with these values, your culture will improve and become healthier. 

Focus on Employee Development

Another way to build your company culture is to provide managerial support and flexibility to your employees. Navy Federal Credit Union does this by prioritizing employee development. This often looks like encouraging employees to pursue their goals and dreams within your credit union, which may include transitioning to different departments and positions, and providing them with the opportunities and training to do so. 

This internal mobility is critical to maintaining employee retention and satisfaction. Employees feel more valued and passionate about their roles with a company when they know that they are not stagnant in their current position. Managers need to encourage employees to dream and make goals – and leadership needs to enable these opportunities. 

Get Personal

Another way you can improve the employee experience is to focus on the little things, such as learning the names of all of your employees and listening to details about their lives. Short conversations can improve the employee experience because when employees feel heard, even if you cannot change a situation for them professionally or personally, they feel valued in both respects. 

Another way you can get personal with your employees is to share stories with them. Humanize yourself with your staff by sharing anecdotes about your professional and personal life – the opportunities are only limited by your comfort zone. But these conversations, in groups or in private, can help you connect with your employees, which can make them feel like they are more of a part of the company.

Depending on your role and your credit union, this may be very challenging if there are silos in your organization. It is up to the leadership team to break down those silos in order to improve the company and employee experience. 

Encourage Feedback

If you’re unsure where you stand with your employees or are unsure where to begin to improve the company culture, start with gathering feedback. This can look like anonymous employee surveys, informal group discussions, or personal conversations between yourself and employees or between managers and employees. 

Encouraging and gathering feedback on a consistent basis is critical to improving the employee experience because oftentimes, employees don’t want to be a “squeaky wheel.” So if your credit union is heavily siloed, start searching for feedback indirectly. Watch for signs of a poor employee experience, including:

  • Employees showing signs of burnout
  • Low retention rates
  • High rates of sick days
  • Poor work quality
  • Regular tardiness
  • High customer complaints

Identify Biases

Improving the employee experience starts before the hiring process. Leaders must identify their own personal and professional biases, scrap them, and implement changes to the hiring process. This not only helps focus the hiring process on adding value to the culture rather than finding applicants that already fit into the culture, but it also benefits diversity and inclusion efforts. 

According to CUInsight, “By fostering an inclusive culture, we begin to breakdown these biases. Too often we hear about organizations that look to increased diversity as the answer, by hiring diverse talent, without ensuring there is a culture of support and inclusion in place. This sets organizations up for failure in this critical area.”

This ongoing process is very intentional. To improve the employee experience for everyone, leaders must hire people who are different than themselves in order to add value to the company as a whole. To only hire applicants that share your personal values is to pigeonhole the credit union and limit its connectivity to the community as a whole. 

Upgrade Your Technology

Another way to improve the employee experience is to upgrade the technology they use to do their jobs. Using the right technology tools and platforms can provide these benefits:

  • Improve employee collaboration
  • Save employees time
  • Improve employee productivity
  • Optimize the member experience
  • Improve employee engagement

If you use KeyStone by Corelation in your credit union, then upgrade your technology and streamline the employee experience with our KeyStone Solutions