Management

Six Jobs You Won't Recognize in 10 Years

As CUs evolve, so must staff.

April 01, 2012
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Tellers and MSRs performing more complex roles.

Moving the front line to a sales mode has been in the works for decades. But there’s increasing pressure now to move high-cost/low-value transactions to nonbranch channels or to automate them within the branch.

Teller transactions have decreased an average 4.4% annually in recent years, according to a productivity survey by the research firm Novantas. And about 30% of branch teller transactions will disappear during the next three years because of remote deposit capture, according to Mercatus, a research center at George Mason University.

Does high-tech necessarily mean low-touch?

“There will always be a human presence in branches,” says Carmichael. But as members handle transactions on their own, he adds, tellers and member service representatives (MSRs) must take on new, more complex roles.

At Red Canoe, CUNA’s Creating Member LoyaltyTM System of Training is turning tellers from order-takers into relationship-builders.

“We spent a good deal of time educating staff on the difference between selling and meeting a need,” says Davis. “We aren’t trying to push certain products or services—we’re using cues we’ve gained from listening to members to provide credit union resources that seem like a good fit.”

Neighbors Federal, a community-chartered credit union, also focuses on relationship-building. “We train our front-line staff to do things ‘the Neighbors’ way and empower them to ‘wow’ our members and turn them into raving fans,” says Inman.

Neighbors Federal plans to put a new spin on “wowing” by trying the increasingly popular concierge approach at one of its branches later this year. Instead of going to a teller window, members will sit at a counter, face-to-face with a credit union staffer who can handle everything from transactions to loans. “We’re focused on engagement,” says Inman.

And at $137 million asset West Community Credit Union in O’Fallon, Mo., there’s a strong emphasis on hiring front-line staff who can go beyond transactions. “We created a program we call ‘listening and lending,’” says Gary Hinrichs, president/CEO of the community credit union. “This program is giving our front-line staff the tools they need to help members solve problems. They love it, and it helped grow our loan portfolio 14% last year.”

Even though members likely will handle more of their own transactions in the future, staff have to be familiar with the tools members are using.

“To optimize our investment, we need to help members help themselves,” says Robert Reh, chief information officer at community-chartered $370 million asset Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union, Westbury, N.Y. “Employees at every level need baseline knowledge of the tools in your branches and on your website.”

Business development staff are specializing.

In the past, when credit unions served only SEGs, business development was primarily a matter of hosting a few seminars or showing up at the employee picnic. But as more credit unions gain community charters—or function as de facto community charters because of the number of SEGs they serve—the business development role is changing.

“It’s important to have a sales mindset to have a successful business development program,” says Sean McDonald, director of business development at $18 million asset, community-chartered Mid-State Federal Credit Union in Carteret, N.J.

You have to set goals and create plans for achieving them, he explains. “You’re no longer in the business of merely sustaining an existing relationship. You’re in a very competitive space and you need to become visible in the larger community and build new relationships with centers of influence in that community.”

Multichannel connections are critical. Nothing will replace time-honored traditions such as face-to-face meetings and phone calls, but credit unions know that some people will never enter their branches.

“Keep track of where interactions take place, and respond accordingly,” says McDonald. “If someone’s only connection with you is online banking, use it to try to build business.”

Hold every credit union leader accountable for new business, and assign someone—perhaps a regional vice president—to lead your efforts, suggests Carmichael. If business development is a critical growth strategy, don’t bog that person down with administrative tasks, he says. “Give them the time they need to accomplish your business development goals.”

Your business development person also needs specialized expertise, adds Carmichael. “I don’t think you can grow your business unless you have strong mortgage and commercial lending programs. If you don’t have that knowledge internally, you might have to go outside.”

Next: Compliance staff dealing with complexity and heavy loads.

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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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