As employee expectations of their employers continue to rise, it is critical for credit unions to create an organizational culture that engages and energizes employees, supports employee well-being, and offers growth and development opportunities.

Burnout continues to climb among employees across the country. According to a 2021 research study by Ketchum, 52% of employees in professional and finance jobs felt more burned out in their job now than they did at the beginning of the pandemic.

It is more important than ever before for leaders and organizations to foster a culture that supports employees both personally and professionally. It’s a big job, but one that is worth the investment, including strong employee engagement scores and improved recruitment and retention rates. But where should you start? Let’s jump in.

1. Engage and Energize Employees

While leaders can lay the foundation and demonstrate the organization’s desired culture, employees are ultimately responsible for bringing culture and values to life every day. Companies increase the likelihood of successful culture-shaping initiatives by engaging employees in the process of improving organizational culture. Leaders also increase the willingness to participate with openness and positivity by involving employees early in the process, and finding ways to engage and celebrate their contributions regularly.

Involving employees in the overall planning and nurturing of the organization’s culture helps leaders to see the opportunities and challenges from an employee perspective. This helps to uncover potential gaps between promises made and the everyday employee experience. It also helps employees to see that their feedback is valuable and that they are heard and seen by leaders.

There are many ways an organization can demonstrate appreciation for their employees. Beyond providing competitive salaries and traditional benefits, companies can show appreciation by rewarding employees who embody the organization’s values by creating recognition programs. Through this reinforcement, employees help the culture to grow organically from within through adapted behaviors based on what is being rewarded and recognized.

Discover how to build a strong, human-centric organizational culture. Download our guide.

2. Invest in Employee Well-Being

The role of an employer in their employees’ well-being had increased in importance long before the pandemic. Now, investing in the holistic well-being of employees, particularly in the well-being of diverse employee groups, is a critical business necessity. According to Indeed’s Employee Burnout Report, more than half of survey respondents said they were feeling burned out, and 67% believe burnout has worsened throughout the pandemic.

Investing in employee well-being helps to reduce burnout and can foster an overall happier, positive and more engaged environment. If your credit union is grounded in the wellness of its employees, people are more likely to be more inspired, creative, strategic, productive and resilient. As a result, your organization will be more likely to attract and retain great employees. If talent is a competitive advantage for an organization, it should invest in taking care of employees to avoid burnout and turnover.

Here are a few ways credit unions can promote a happier and healthier culture:

  • Reinforcing business hours, encouraging employees to stick to them and having leaders model the behavior
  • Making one day of the week meeting-free
  • Encouraging employees to schedule breaks and time off, providing recommendations for how to let colleagues know when they’re unavailable and who to delegate requests to
  • Sharing ideas for how employees can informally connect with their colleagues using digital channels, similarly to how they would have in the office environment
  • Providing education, tools and resources to encourage self-care

3. Support and Offer Growth and Development Opportunities

Employees are looking to sharpen their skills, or to learn new ones, as we emerge from the pandemic and as technology continues to accelerate the way we work. If there are no opportunities for employees to pursue professional growth and advancement opportunities within an organization, they are more likely to leave.

In fact, the top reason employees changed jobs last year, according to Owl Lab’s 2021 State of Remote Work, was to pursue a better career opportunity. Organizations can provide employees with professional development opportunities and greater ownership of their work to help improve employee engagement and retention rates.

Employees are looking for clear advancement paths that support their professional development and growth. Organizations must incorporate learning and development into their culture. They can do this by activating professional development frameworks that provide financial support, time allocations, coaching and internal advancement programs. For example, CUNA (Credit Union National Association) has professional development courses available for credit unions to involve the entire staff, offering courses on basic skills all the way up to advanced learning.

By investing in employee well-being, engaging and energizing employees, and supporting their growth and development opportunities, credit unions can create an organizational culture that supports and inspires employees.

Attract and retain top talent. Download our culture guide.

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