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New employee recruitment. Photo: SOMMAI/Shutterstock

A paradox is often used to describe a counter-intuitive result or statement. We see examples of paradox all the time. In our day to day we hear such statements as “Your enemy’s friend is your enemy.” In literature Oscar Wilde famously said, “I can resist anything but temptation.” And in our world of credit unions we see such paradoxical decisions as investing more in a less popular delivery channel (branches) than an emerging/more popular channel (mobile banking).

A paradox I’m excited to share with the credit union industry is highlighted in an upcoming Filene research study entitled “Winning by Losing: A Case Study of Alumni Effects on Credit Union Recruitment” (March 2020) by University of Texas professor and Filene Research Fellow Y. Sekou Bermiss, PhD. Effectively, the research examines the potentially positive effect of losing credit union employees to brand name competitors in the credit union’s own recruiting efforts. Despite the obvious evidence about the dangers of losing your employees to competitors, the research indicated organizations can indirectly benefit when they lose employees to high-status competitors. Because high-status organizations are held in such high regard, often due to previous financial successes or historical legacy, being associated with such organizations can be beneficial. When an employee moves on to a well-known high-status organization, that can be a positive signal to potential candidates that being employed at your organization can lead to prestigious future opportunities.

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