HR Answers: How AI Can Help Ease the Credit Union Staffing Squeeze

business manager considers how to deploy team members and AI solutions
Kyle Hoback Photo
Director/AI Automation

4 minutes

By leveraging artificial intelligence in hard-to-fill roles and eliminating mind-numbing tasks, members and employees will reap the rewards.

While no two credit unions are alike, there is one thing they all have in common: challenges with recruiting, retaining, reskilling and replacing staff. Attracting qualified talent is a top concern today say 67% of bank executives and 63% of credit union executives, according to a survey by Cornerstone Advisors.

The bottom line: There is simply too much work and there are not enough workers to do it. Sanctions alerts still need to be processed (more on this below), emails need to be returned and regulatory compliance still needs to be ensured. This all places a new burden on existing staff—leading to increased errors and employee burnout.

The ability to “hire” artificial intelligence that works 24/7/365 can be a game changer for credit unions as they manage the staffing squeeze.

Finding Qualified Candidates

The first phase of recruitment consists of simply finding the right person, whether for an entry-level role or an experienced role. However, post-pandemic, organizations are still struggling to find candidates.

Finding employees who want to work in an onsite branch is more challenging today than ever. A WorkFusion survey of banking, financial services and insurance executives found that 87% of respondents reported that it has gotten harder to retain employees, and 89% reported that it has gotten harder to recruit new employees.

But recruitment consists of more than simply filling an open job requisition. Organizations also must account for onboarding and training new employees, which proves critical to understanding the full-time-to-value of a new hire. After taking one to three months to fill the role, it can take another one to three months to get that person up to the same level as the person they replaced.

The Talent Treadmill

Losing talent is becoming the norm.

While organizations continue to look for ways to address employee retention, the problem is only getting worse. BFSI year-over-year employee-departure rates indicated the amount of turnover (both entry-level and experienced) increased by 35% last year, according to the above survey.

In an already tight labor market where there are more jobs than people and employees currently doing more with less—combined with hiring freezes and layoffs—employees are feeling the pressure. For retention, increased stress and increased workload go hand in hand. Overworked employees come with their own set of risks like backlogs, SLA delays and errors, missed escalations and possible remediation efforts.

This leads to people leaving their jobs, which creates more work for an already overworked staff. In turn, this causes more people to leave because they are overworked, not getting any job satisfaction and feel like they are on a constantly moving treadmill. This revolving door of personnel then requires its own solution, such as proactive over-staffing or reactive hiring of expensive contractors.

AI and People Working Together

Technology like ChatGPT is creating broad awareness and adoption of AI. In the very short term, AI is going to dominate all aspects of our jobs, and AI and humans will need to learn to work together.

In the even shorter term, HR teams can look to hire AI to tackle their staffing challenges.

While teams may initially be hesitant to welcome AI with open arms, AI has the power to greatly improve their employee experience. They can offload the mundane work to AI and focus on projects that are more meaningful and of higher value. Mind-numbing work demoralizes employees and increases the risk of errors, leading management to add layers of quality control.

For example, if you take a role like a L1 sanctions screening analyst, that job is based on reviewing a high volume of alerts for people or entities that may be on a government sanctions list. (It is not uncommon for individual analysts to face 500-plus alerts per day, more than 95% are false positives, hindering the likelihood of finding that one true positive.) This is a super important job for a credit union; however, it’s not very gratifying for employees, who may become bored and burnt out and end up leaving to find a more satisfying job.

Happier Employees Create Happier Members

There is a business philosophy that the customer comes second, meaning happy employees create happy customers … or in this case, members. By leveraging AI to fill hard-to-fill roles and eliminating mind-numbing tasks, members will reap the rewards.

AI can automate and simplify many aspects of a job, streamline work for employees, and deliver a better experience for members. Recruiters and credit union leaders should keep an open mind to embracing AI to fill open roles. This innovative strategy will lead to better morale, higher employee satisfaction, and better employee retention. By investing in AI, credit unions are investing in their business, their employees and their members.

Kyle Hoback is director/AI automation at WorkFusion. He helps financial institutions understand how AI and automation improve operational efficiency to enhance customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), and growth. Before joining WorkFusion, Kyle consulted public and private sector organizations on more effectively using their data and systems.

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