CU Employee Retention During the Great Resignation


The discussions surrounding employee retention in light of the recent Great Resignation call into question several core tenants of the hiring process and those who are involved in it. And while many hiring experts say the worst of the movement took place during the latter part of 2021, the lack of headlines doesn’t necessarily mean we’re out of the woods. In fact, according to Fortune, resignation numbers from May 2022 are virtually the same as they were at the end of 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic – and several other global and market-based factors – created new lenses through which many employees are viewing their current professional positions and the job openings in their preferred fields.

But what has that meant for those in the banking and financial industries? Let’s go through some of the ways the Great Resignation could be impacting your credit union, and how you can move forward with some helpful employee retention strategies.

The Great Attrition? The Great Renegotiation? The Great Realignment?

The Financial Brand shared some helpful insights about the latest developments in the labor movement. The first thing they noticed is the name – the Great Resignation – keeps getting tweaked in an attempt to accurately convey the current hiring and recruiting climate. But whether news sources are calling it the Great Renegotiation, Realignment, or some other evocative term, there’s really one central theme: businesses have a demand for specific talent, and there aren’t enough willing workers to keep up with that demand.

This dialogue may get tricky, but it’s a necessary step in the right direction for many financial institutions and could bring about substantive change in the future.

Redefining the Workplace for Employee Retention

Remote work was a necessity as little as two years ago, but the farther we get from the worst of the COVID shutdowns, the more banks and credit unions are faced with choosing what they want to define as the workplace. There’s now no way to deny that a great number of tasks can be done remotely and have been. However, many industries still value having employees come into the office or another business-centric work location.

But when about 3 out of every 5 employees across U.S. industries has looked for a job in the past 12 months, it’s a clear sign that your current employees may not think they are being served as well as they are serving their employers right now.

Action Items to Increase Employee Retention

The top survey items that current employees looking at their options are saying they would leave their current job for one that is more flexible, both in hours and in the work location. These desires are followed closely by things like more pay transparency, a greater focus on sustainability, and comprehensive DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) strategies.

When you break this list down, it’s really saying two things. First, the work-life balance that exists currently is not desirable or optimal for employees. And second, more and more people are looking for jobs with company cultures that show their commitment to fair, sustainable, and transparent business practices overall.

Employee retention amid the Great Resignation can also be boosted by evaluating your communication channels. Are your managers and leaders truly listening to the concerns of those who report to them? How many employees have brought up similar issues in strategy and engagement improvement meetings? Are your leaders conducting critical research into these issues and providing feedback or alternative solutions?

Employee trust is rising again, and that trend must continue in order to keep your best and brightest employed at your credit union. Your employees are expected to learn new technologies and techniques that will improve workflows and allow your credit union to better serve its members, but you also must look behind you. Are you providing the same experience for your staff? Can they count on you to grow and change as they need?

Competitive Hiring Practices Are a Must

From entry-level to C-Suite hiring, the current market means that your credit union will have fewer interested applicants and less time to make a great offer before your ideal candidate accepts another position. A strong offer right out of the gate shows your candidates that you are serious, and can show that your CU is willing to be direct and transparent about the compensation, benefits, and responsibilities that come with the role.

Digital Solutions Are Leading the Way

Many employees (and members) are looking for credit unions to meet them where they are. Phone conversations can oftentimes be replaced with helpful chatbots, internal and member-facing digital communication and navigation tools, and other digital solutions that cut down immensely on the frustrations your employees experience with their teams and the members they interact with.

It also often cuts down on the time these employees and members are spending on these calls trying to navigate the loan application process or work through strategic issues. Traditions are great when it comes to company culture, but antiquated communication for the sake of “keeping things the same” isn’t going to appeal to the largest portion of those who are joining the workforce today.

Top-Notch CU Technology Is Your Partner in the Employee Retention Game

We hear it all the time – these are the days when everyone wants to work smarter, not harder. And that often means leveraging technology to augment (not replace) your skilled and specialized employees wherever possible.

Private cloud services are helping credit unions all over the country create sustainable and stable options for back-end protocols and processes like data discovery, IaaS, and anomaly detection.

What can IMS help you with today?

Managing CU Employee Turnover


There are several workplace trends that will affect how your credit union weathers 2022 and beyond. One of the most significant is the competition for attracting and retaining talent. 2021 saw the Great Resignation, a movement characterized by massive amounts of people quitting their jobs to look for work that better suits their lifestyle.

So, what can you do to keep your credit union adequately staffed? Let’s go through some leadership tactics for managing credit union employee turnover.

Do Your Retention Research

Though it is an incredibly useful tool, many companies don’t conduct exit interviews, either in certain instances or at all.

There are many ways to use your own workforce to discover insights into curbing employee turnover trends. It’s important to open more lines of communication between all levels of employees when it comes to expectations, compensation, and conflict resolution.

Employees are quicker than ever to leave a company if they feel they aren’t being heard or treated fairly. Your first move in curbing credit union employee turnover should be to implement strategies and opportunities for staff members to share thoughts and concerns with leadership teams. And these opportunities should be presented in a way that is actionable and truly taken seriously.

Some things to think about:

  • How do employees view communication channels between themselves and your credit union? Are they effective, transparent, and impactful?
  • How do your employees feel about their roles and responsibilities? Have their feelings changed recently? What has caused those changes?
  • Are there improvements that could be made to help foster communication between leaders, employees, and peers?

Evaluate Management Protocols & Training

Employee turnover is often caused by negative relationships between employees and management and a lack of trust in an organization.

When it comes to improving these relationships, it’s important to know what you are working with in the beginning. Do your management teams have training that allows them to resolve conflict effectively? Or are you just leaving your managers to use their best judgment and escalate issues to HR if they are uncomfortable continuing certain conversations?

Evaluating your management protocols and training in regard to communication and transparency is a critical piece of the credit union employee retention plan.

Employees don’t leave bad companies; they leave bad managers. And this is truer than ever. Employee engagement can be tough, and stagnation can happen at all levels of leadership. That’s why manager training should be refreshed periodically to improve managers’ emotional intelligence levels as well as their interpersonal skills.

Your managers (should) already demonstrate that they can manage credit union employees and operations. The training they need is more valuable when it’s focused on how to effectively manage and evaluate people and their emotions.

Focus on Fostering Purpose and Upholding Values

Credit union employee turnover goes down when individuals feel like they have a strong purpose and direction driving their work. While we can’t all have jobs where we save lives or help people in need, there are many ways to instill a sense of individual purpose in your employees.

Leaders should foster interactions where each employee is being recognized for fulfilling their professional purpose. We can take a hint from the number of nurses who are upset at having worked through a global pandemic and then being rewarded with tumblers or pizza parties. Efforts should be put forth to create meaningful recognition of individual employee purpose.

Another way to foster purpose and instill a sense of integrity is to make sure employees at all levels of leadership are upholding the values that adorn your walls and websites. If your mission, vision, and values don’t match your work environment, credit union employee retention gets much harder.

Leaders Partner with Other Leaders – Like IMS

IMS is the leading backup, disaster recovery, and IaaS service provider for credit unions. We know how important it is for credit unions of all sizes – from Fortune 500 companies to local one-branch CUS – to safeguard your member data at all times and in all circumstances.

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