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Succession Planning: Have a Strong Bench

The time to develop a plan is before you need it.

September 29, 2010
KEYWORDS cuna , retire , succession
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Many credit union CEOs have delayed retirement to steer their credit unions through tough economic times—and to nurse their recession-depleted retirement funds back to health.

Only 6.3% of credit union CEOs plan to retire in the next two years, according to the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2010-2011 Complete Credit Union Staff Salary Survey Report.

After that, however, retirement rates probably will accelerate.

The average age of a credit union CEO is 53, CUNA’s survey reports, and about half are older than age 55. Nearly 65% of CEOs in credit unions with more than $500 million in assets fall into that category.

“There will be a pent-up demand for retirement at the CEO level when the economy turns around,” predicts Gene Mandarino, organizational development manager at HRN Management Group, Salt Lake City.

CUNA’s research finds that 20% of CEOs at credit unions with more than $100 million in assets plan to retire within the next five years.

The need for succession planning is clear, especially when you factor in unexpected CEO departures as a renewed job market beckons, or through illness or death.

Many credit unions are ready: 58% overall have a formal plan in place and 16% will by year’s end, CUNA reports.

But others clearly have work to do: 25% of credit unions say they don’t expect to have a plan in place this year.

Replacing a CEO can be a lengthy process, indicates Robert Reh, chief information officer at $340 million asset Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union, Westbury, N.Y., and vice chair of the CUNA Technology Council.

“When you lose a CEO, the credit union can lose direction,” he says. “A succession plan helps ensure business continuity, and the time to develop a plan is before you need it.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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