Employee Wellbeing is Your Top Member Priority

By Tom DeWitt, NAFCU Board Chair

Tom Dewitt, NAFCU Board Chair

As member-owned cooperatives, credit unions implement a business model that is driven by the needs of their members. Providing quality services and solutions to your members rests on the shoulders of your employees. At the true core of the credit union model, the employee experience is where the member experience begins.

Because of this, I’m not surprised that accounting and consulting firm Crowe’s 2021 Bank Compensation and Benefits Survey, which compiled data from 437 banks and credit unions, found that organizations within the financial services industry had wisely invested resources into salaries, incentive programs, and benefits before the pandemic hit. Banks and credit unions were also able to successfully pivot when the pandemic struck and provide safe and productive work-from-home accommodations for employees. The survey also found that turnover rates at credit unions were lower than in 2019 in both officer and non-officer positions.

We should all be very proud of these findings, but we can’t stop here. We must continue to prioritize the employee experience, understanding their needs as we emerge from the pandemic just as much as we try to predict the needs of our members. Many of our employees weren’t spared the emotional strain and scars sustained as the result of months of quarantine, extreme health and safety fears, and in many cases, tragedies like the death of a loved one.

As many of us transition back into the office, it will be critical to maintain our priority of employee wellbeing. Now is the time to listen to our teams and be open to new ideas. Now is the time to encourage employees to take time for themselves and their families. Now is the time to provide opportunities to regain balance both in and outside of the workplace.

The beauty of our industry is that every single credit union is unique in how we serve our members and represent our communities. Just as no two credit unions are alike, no two employees are alike. While promoting employee well-
being is a goal we all share, by embracing the uniqueness of your credit union you’ll provide better solutions for employees both as individuals and as a team. From addressing their concerns directly to seeking new technologies to promote more efficient processes, you’ll naturally better serve your members.

Simply put, there is no right or wrong method for supporting your employees, as long as you’re doing just that—supporting them. We’re all coming out of these challenging two years together. As a service focused industry, now more than ever let’s focus on the employee experience—which is truly where the member experience begins.

For more on NAFCU’s 2022 Advocacy Priorities, go to www.nafcu.org/priorities. Tom DeWitt is president and CEO of State Farm Federal Credit Union in Bloomington, IL.