Lessons From a Satisfied Credit Union

People Perspectives LLC

2 minutes

The reasons vary for why credit unions choose to do employee engagement and satisfaction surveys. Some use the results as a “checkup” of sorts, to make sure their credit union is still thriving and healthy. Other credit unions, perhaps sensing real issues, use the findings to pinpoint potential problems so corrections can be made.

At People Perspectives, we have been tracking our credit union clients’ employee satisfaction and engagement averages for several years. This year, inspired by our outstanding clients, we decided to recognize those credit unions that have done exceedingly well. $650 million/69,000-member Consumers Credit Union, with 240 employees in Kalamazoo, Mich., was named our first Distinguished Credit Union of the Year and for good reason. In its employee engagement and satisfaction survey, Consumers CU had especially high averages on three survey dimensions: organizational satisfaction, salary and benefits satisfaction, and department satisfaction.

Here are nine best practice suggestions from the credit union:

1. Trust and empower your employees.  Consumers CU allows all employees to make decisions in their roles without fear. For example, a teller or call center rep has full authority to reverse fees and credit transactions if they think it is the right thing to do. When poor decisions are made, the credit union uses coaching to help them understand why vs. punishing or chastising them. 

2. Hire for culture first 100 percent of the time (this is not always easy).

3. Be as transparent as you can with employees about compensation, benefits, strategy and company performance. Employees will make their own assumptions if you are not.

4. Ensure each team member understands how their individual role contributes to the success of the credit union and how it ties back to your mission and vision.

5. Be clear about values and expectations and hold people accountable. Allowing employees to live outside of the values and perform below expectations will disengage your best team members.

6. Invest in the development of your team members not only via training, but also through job enrichment or enlargement opportunities. When employees are interested in learning about other areas of the credit union, allow them to explore that interest. Examples include taking on projects, completing an internship, job shadowing that area, and job sharing.

7. By allowing employees to explore their passions, they become more engaged. Even if their dream job isn’t available for them today, they know their development is cared about. This has allowed Consumers CU to promote from within almost 100 percent of the time.

8. Give your employees a way to share their ideas and concerns.

9. Do what is right by the employee 100 percent of the time. Doing what is right is always the best decision.

Kerry Liberman is president of People Perspectives LLC (, a consulting firm that specializes in conducting employee engagement and satisfaction surveys for credit unions. She can be reached at or 206.451.4218.

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