Tips for Talent Development

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Contributing Writer

3 minutes

5 best practices for identifying and growing potential.

Credit unions can learn from others how best to identify and assess talent. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you develop or refine your own talent development program.

1. Start with the end in mind. “Know where your organization is going,” recommends CUES member Sandra Lueders, chief HR officer for $1.9 billion Vantage West Credit Union, Tucson, Ariz. “Based on that, you can back up into: ‘What are the things that we need to look at to get our people ready … ?’ Back it up even further and ask, ‘Where do we need to modify our talent acquisition models so that they run complementary to each other?’ The best way to achieve that is to start with the end in mind.”

2. Align your people with your organization. Jennifer Stangl, CUES’ director of professional development, stresses the need to make your talent development program compatible with your organizational strategy and culture. “One of the goals of our CUES Consulting offering is to help organizations understand their current climate—for instance, what are the perceptions and behaviors that are present within the organization, and are there adjustments that need to be made to have those perceptions and behaviors align with the organizational strategy?” Stangl explains. “You could have the greatest strategy in the world, but if you don’t have the people with the skills to execute it, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

3. Be economical—but effective. “People might perceive that a leadership development program needs to cost a lot of money, but there are a lot of things you can do organically with your experiential resources,” says Tricia Cassidy-Vincent, AVP/HR/talent management at Vantage West CU. “For instance, I think that people underestimate the value of mentorship programs. We do mentoring groups, where people learn from each other and the mentor.” CUES members can find practical tips and tricks for building strong mentor relationships in the CUES Guide to Effective Mentorship, a new 2019 membership benefit.

4. Begin with the basics. Lisa Bowers, SVP/human resources and training for $1.5 billion Dupaco Community Credit Union, Dubuque, Iowa, recommends you start your talent development efforts by creating job titles. Even if you don’t consider your organization title-driven, it’s still a good strategy. “Titles define roles, and roles define competencies, and competencies define responsibilities,” Bowers says. “You have to have clarity in a role to be able to identify if someone is going to be successful in it and/or has the aptitude to excel.” 

5. Use available resources. Bowers’ colleague, VP/Member Services and CUES member Tami Schepler, stresses that it’s important to use all the resources at your disposal—e.g., leadership classes, crasher programs, coaching, mentoring—to make the development process successful. “It takes the support of the senior team and the board to make that all that happen,” Schepler says. “The budget, the time, the support—all of that starts at the top and works its way through.”

Diane Franklin is a freelance writer based in Missouri.

Read more about finding and developing high potentials in "Growing Future Leaders." Look for it in the upcoming September issue of Credit Union Management magazine.

CUES is rolling out new 2019 membership options, with more benefits, more resources and more value. This means more opportunities to accelerate your team’s development. Learn more at

For more development opportunities, check out Vertex, a customized manager training program, and CEO Institute, the industry’s best in executive development.

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