Good Economy Means Greater Challenges for CU HR Departments
VANCOUVER, B.C. - With the economy on an upswing, credit unions need to up their recruitment and retention efforts more than ever-not just for their front line but also management positions. "During the recession, jobs were tight, and employees were content to stay with their employer. An improving economy will eventually create new jobs and lower unemployment," said HRValue Group President/CEO Yvonne Evers during an educational session at the 37th Annual NAFCU Conference & Exhibition. "This is a good trend, but it will bring challenges for employers as workers seize new job opportunities to achieve their career goals." According to the CUNA & Affiliates 2002 Complete Staff Survey Report, credit union employee turnover dropped overall from 24% in 1999, to 17% in 2002. Evers says with those numbers credit unions not currently experiencing problematic turnover rates might be tempted to maintain the status quo but that would be a mistake. "An improving economy produces a lag effect with employment. New jobs aren't created until after a recovery takes hold, so people will stay put until new job opportunities arise," said Evers. "And if your credit union already has problems retaining staff, you really have an issue to deal with, because the situation is going to get worse." Effective recruitment requires a combination of patience, offering competitive wages/benefits, having a well-defined job description and solid orientation and training plans. In addition, Evers advises credit unions to implement employee referral and sign-on bonuses, accelerated pay increases, paying above market, and offering early eligibility for vacation and participation in benefit programs such as 401(k)s. Given the costs associated with training new hires equal attention should be paid to retaining quality employees by setting high standards, providing a clear sense of purpose/direction and creating an environment that helps staffers strike a work/life balance. "You have to balance the "worth-its" for employees," said Evers. "That means they must feel their rewards justify their hard work for your credit union." Evers added that other important keys to retaining employees include: having fair and equitable policies; encouraging professional development; providing feedback and recognition of employees; and treating employees fairly. Based in Middleton, Wisconsin HRValue Group, LLC is credit union system initiative owned by a consortium of state leagues and CUNA Mutual Group that specializes in helping credit unions establish human resources programs.