Let's be honest; the best plan will fail if your team isn't on board to implement it. We first made sure to discuss how Virtual Branching would create career advancements for our front line.
They were all in!
Was going to the team before the Board putting the cart first? Absolutely not. They are the key to implementing this strategy!
Human Resource BENEFITS
We're all hearing about the challenges of retaining and hiring team members. That's not been a problem for us. We know it has a lot to do with our benefits thanks to virtual branching.
A flat hierarchy is the curse of small credit unions, prohibiting talent progression, especially among front line team members. Transitioning to virtual allowed these individuals career advancements, otherwise not typically afforded.
Virtual branching transitioned our transactional front-line team members into income-generating roles, now driving loan growth which was seen with an increase of 80% in new direct loan volume the first year and an additional 30% in year two.
100% virtual operations enabled us to hire top talent without demographic restraints, with nearly 20% of our staff now living out of state. Next up, we're looking to hire several PT team members to offer 24/7, 365-day call center services. Hiring for the 2nd and 3rd shifts will be much easier being virtual.
Team members are extremely happy with working remotely for the savings in gas, vehicle wear and tear, clothes, and fewer lunches out. And, yes, we do accept the fact that sometimes you need to keep the kids. That's life, and that equals big savings!
Without the work commute, our local team has gained an average of 1 hour per day. That's an average of 11 days a year they get back!
With the extra time and lunch hour at home, team members have the ability to put more time and attention to their physical and mental health.
I broke my back this last winter. I really couldn't afford to be off long-term. Working from home, and with my job duties, I was able to work when and how my body allowed it. I'm grateful for so much flexibility--- even if my body isn't!
Brandy Fox, Risk Officer (previous teller)
We constantly get asked how we maintain a good culture.
It isn't easy, but find we're more intentional about it than we were in the branches.
Training happens in most of these meetings but we also get together 5x per year when we close to the membership:
Martin Luther King Day
Indigenous Peoples' Day or Columbus Day
We use these days for some training, and strategic conversation, but more so to connect and have fun.
It's a time to meet new co-workers, do pay it forward activities in the community, and just enjoy one another's company.
The team loves these days and looks forward to them. We always go out to lunch together and take our time.
New employees train on zoom with every employee having two monitors, they can watch on one and practice on the other. We also focus on the 7 learning styles, and adjust training accordingly.
We'd say training is, by far, the weakest area in our culture and are in need of a FT trainer as soon as the budget permits.
Engagement really comes from the first two listed to the left, but more so from our core values as the foundation.
Even more than when we were in the branches, we lean into our core values to maintain a good culture.
Additionally, we train twice a year on personality styles for communication and appreciation languages (the 5 love languages). Our intranet has a page for each employee that shows their individual learning style, personality style- related to a bird, and their appreciation language.
We grade engagement for each employee on their scorecard with a 360 rating by their peers and team leader by asking:
Do they show you support to help you be successful and happy?
Quite simply, we put a lot of effort here. We are very intentional about using Teams to chat on simple questions but try to do video chat over phone calls so we see one another and connect visually.
We are very intentional with reoccurring meetings:
Weekly one-on-ones where the team member sets the agenda with their leader
Weekly department team huddles
Weekly all staff training
Monthly one-on-one where the team leader reviews their scorecard, showing their annual salary adjustment based on results
Bi-weekly leadership meetings
It may seem like a lot but take out all the chit-chat that happens at the water cooler and the drop-bys at offices and we're much more efficient with these intentional check-ins.