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Expanding Employee Diversity

nails in a board connected by colorful string
Dionne R. Jenkins Photo
VP/diversity & inclusion
Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union

2 minutes

Five tips any credit union can implement

An important way to foster sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion efforts is by expanding employee demographics. Credit unions looking to expand their talent pool and recruit candidates with a diversified skill set must start internally with their human resources department. Is there diversity represented in your recruiting team members? The best way to attract diverse candidates is by showing the diversity among your team from the onset. When diverse candidates attend a job fair, they are more open to approaching your company’s booth if they see diversity among recruiters.

Employees want to know that there is room for growth and opportunity within your organization.  They need to envision themselves as a part of the team. If your staff does not represent the diversity they are looking for, they will take their skills and talent elsewhere and you will miss an employee essential for your company’s growth.

Here are five easy tips any credit union can implement to expand diversity within the organization:

  1. Define the type of diversity. Do you want to focus on racial, generational, socioeconomic or a combination? Remember, you are not limited to a few small categories.  
  2. Always be genuine and authentic. Members will recognize immediately if you are not sincere in your efforts. Employees will know if you are trying to pacify them for the time being until you can move on to something else. It is important that you hire, develop, promote and sponsor employees. 
  3. Check your blind spots. Is unconscious bias stifling your credit union’s growth? Are you ignoring an entire unbanked population because you do not see the value they bring to your organization?
  4. Invest in diversity. Outside of investing in a diversity practitioner and allocating funds for their efforts, your marketing department needs a diversity budget to sponsor, support and promote diverse events within the community. Your HR department needs a diversity budget to hire bilingual talent and offer pay differential for the expertise. Departments that work with vendors like facilities and IT need to be held accountable for ensuring diversity among the third parties they hire.
  5. Listen to your diversity practitioner. They were hired for a reason. The conversations will be uncomfortable at times. The solutions they offer may be outside of your level of comfort.  Allow them to stretch the organization beyond its normal comfort zone. 

CUES member Dionne R. Jenkins is VP/diversity & inclusion at $1.8 billion Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Chattanooga. She works collaboratively with senior leadership to increase staff diversity and advance the CU’s mission and vision through recruitment, retention and community engagement. Jenkins earned her B.S. in business administration and her MBA from Bryan College. Her motto is, “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, ‘Because of you, I didn’t give up!’” She and her husband, Don, have a daughter and two sons.

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