HR Answers: How to Increase Frontline Employee Retention Through Engagement

smiling engaged employee advises customer in office
By Whitney Loe

3 minutes

Technology can help ease the pressure during member interactions, leading to better outcomes and staff satisfaction.

According to BalancedComp’s annual salary and incentive survey, the average employee turnover rates for banks and credit unions peaked at 19.7% in 2018. Unlike banking and tech firm competitors, credit unions are known for establishing and maintaining outstanding relationships with members, but there is opportunity to raise the bar even higher with a strategic focus on employees’ satisfaction.

In fact, the key to lowering turnover is all about engagement. Research shows that organizations with higher engagement among employees experience less turnover. This is important because employee turnover proves costly for an organization when factoring in the money and resources required to attract and train new employees. Research has also revealed the strong correlation between employee engagement and an organization’s business outcomes that determine success, including productivity, profitability and member engagement.

It’s obvious that engaged employees help their organization flourish, so credit unions should be open to and actively seeking ways to improve engagement among their own staff. Doing so allows employees to outperform their disengaged counterparts by 202%.

So, how do you engage employees?

With limited resources and waning enthusiasm among the financial services industry workforce, how can credit unions turn things around? Starting behind the scenes, credit unions must ensure employees are receiving proper training and access to tools that encourage engagement. In today’s fast-paced environment, a credit union that does not guarantee these simple, yet effective, accommodations will have a disengaged staff.

Credit unions should offer interactive training materials and courses that allow employees to sharpen skills and improve abilities, along with resources to retrain when new products and technologies are introduced. Employees that feel like they haven’t received adequate or enough training are 40% more likely to leave their job within the first year. Investing in a solution that supports training efforts helps employees actively engage—and stay engaged.

When it comes to engaging members, providing employees with interactive, guided discovery tools also improve engagement by simplifying and streamlining interactions. Using such tools, employees can better assist members by uncovering and addressing their needs with accuracy and efficiency, positioning the employee as an expert on all products without having to memorize all rules and regulations accompanying the offerings—an impossible task.  

How can technology support engagement?

As the pace of new technology ramps up and the nature of work rapidly changes, digital dexterity among staff is fundamental for better business outcomes, according to Gartner. Implementing a digitized, guided discovery solution can help differentiate credit unions from competitors while equipping frontline employees with technology to quickly and accurately assess member needs and deliver a consistent, relevant experience. This approach enlists AI-enabled tools and business intelligence to “build” conversations, allowing employees to customize each conversation based on individual members’ specific preferences. Such guidance tools give employees the opportunity to focus more on connecting with and engaging members than pushing products and services—leading to greater job satisfaction.

Likewise, technology can measure employees’ member interaction performance. Implementing a digital sales guide powered by intelligent analytics gives management access to real-time data and actionable decision-making reports. With these reports, executives can review employee performance to gauge success, identify process gaps and determine engagement among staff. Regular monitoring will allow your leadership team to spot and address problem areas before they turn into dissatisfaction.

Inevitably, employees will come and go, no matter how successful your credit union is at staff retention. But arming employees with strong training and a guided, digitized sales process will give your credit union the upper hand. Not only does it have the power to increase employee satisfaction, raise profitability and fuel productivity, but it will ultimately increase loyalty and retention among your workforce.
Whitney Loe is director of Business Development for Credit Unions of Ignite Sales Inc., Dallas, the financial industry leader in customer engagement technology. Ignite empowers banks and credit unions to conduct highly efficient and effective customer interactions designed to discover customer needs and make accurate product recommendations.

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