Cooperative Trust: Creating a Strong CU Culture
The need for succession planning in credit unions isn’t a secret. There is a very real need to groom future industry leaders as many CEOs prepare to retire.
Having a strong mind for business is important but equally important is creating a strong culture, steeped in the understanding of the credit union movement. It’s not only the top leaders, but all credit union employees need to know our story. Staff at any level can become engaged participants who boost sales on the line, raise awareness in the community and even self-identify as new leaders.
Challenges of an aging member base and lack of consumer awareness threaten our collective opportunity to capitalize on events like the International Year of the Cooperative and Bank Transfer Day. These are chances for credit unions to unite as a movement. But when many of our employees remain unaware of the scope of these events (if not completely ignorant of the events), how can we leverage the full potential?
Cultivating culture within your credit union can help engage employees, particularly younger staff who are broadly characterized by their interest in credit unions’ social responsibility.
Credit union culture can help sustain individual credit unions, their staff and this movement in a time when long-term succession and success are critical.
Staff need a shared baseline understanding of credit unions. We have a shared history, owed in part to credit union innovators Edward Filene and Roy Bergengren. We are reaping seeds sown over the last century by dedicated employees, advocates and members.
Through strong training and culture development, whether internally through your own programs or using external resources, staff can begin to create this shared knowledge base that will help unite us.
These programs, and an understanding of culture, will help engage employees, which will in turn help sales and innovation, key components to any organization’s success. Engaged employees are also more likely to remain in the movement and are poised to lead in the future.
Succession planning is undoubtedly important, but when thinking of how to train proper candidates, don’t overlook engaging staff of all ages with the core components and story of the movement.
Lisa Totaro is a marketing associate at Sunmark Federal Credit Union
Contact 518-347-3190 or LTotaro@sunmarkfcu.org
The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots organization composed of several hundred young credit union professionals. Its activities include meetings, mentorships online collaboration and development projects. Opinions expressed are the personal views of the author.