Workplace Diversity in Credit Unions
Ronaldo Hardy is a speaker, consultant and a CEO in the credit union industry. He leads the Southwest Louisiana Credit Union while also leading his congregation as pastor at Love Alive Church in Baton Rouge, La.
Hardy decided early on in life that he wanted to use his voice for good, especially when it comes to the topic of workplace diversity. “Being part of a minority category, I actually feel the effects of diversity in our organizations.”
In an interview with CU Times, Hardy believes as uncomfortable as the topic might be for some people, that we’ve reached a point in our history to start having these uncomfortable conversations.
“In the credit union industry in particular, you do a scan of the different conferences we have and you really do look at our board rooms and our executive teams – we have an issue in this area.”
A workplace diversity study done by the University of Florida defines diversity as “acknowledging, understanding, accepting, and valuing differences among people with respect to age, class, race, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, etc.”
Hardy said it’s important for credit union leaders to take a look at the culture they’ve created, and does that culture support two things: candor and compassion.
“If the organization isn’t open-minded to candor, then it doesn’t create an environment where people can be expressive about how they may feel,” said Hardy. “If you don’t have that culture, then what it does is it leaves people frustrated.”
According to studies, employees who aren’t encouraged to share their feelings and/or who might even be afraid to bring up the topic of diversity, begin to harbor resentment which can turn into a toxic work environment.
Hardy said from his experience, there’s one big thing you can do as a credit union leader to begin to expose the diversity problem that your credit union might have. “Commit to that open-door policy you say you have. And do not dismiss what employees are saying to you.”
CU Times will be exploring this topic inside the credit union industry in the coming months with Hardy and other experts both online and in our print issues. Watch the full interview with Ronaldo Hardy using the video link here or by clicking on the image above.