The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to look at the way your credit union does business. By keeping these seven basic resolutions in 2016, your credit union can offer great service to your customers and maintain an ideal working environment for your staff.
With disaster recovery, it’s not a matter of “if”—it’s a matter of “when.” Sooner or later, important data will be impacted by hackers, a natural disaster or plain old user error. Thinking about it now means less panic when it happens. Have a robust, multi-layered plan in place so you can return to business as usual with a minimum of disruptions.
The current economic situation might have left you with a tight budget for 2016. Think about what you can cut without compromising efficiency or data security.
Whether you’re a small local credit union or a large one, good communication is the key to making things run smoothly. During 2016, make a resolution to communicate clearly at all levels of the organization. Clear communication can happen face-to-face in meetings or by other methods, but it needs to happen.
More and more customers are doing their banking on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. If your credit union hasn’t already optimized the user interface to make it just as convenient for small screens as it is for desktop computers, now is the time to make that change.
Cloud-based business solutions can help you run your credit union more smoothly and safely. By moving important functions from office-based physical infrastructure into the cloud, you can enjoy better security, increased efficiency and reduced IT costs.
Especially when you’re going through a big change such as a core conversion, it’s crucial to talk with your staff at each stage of the process. Let them know what’s going on with your credit union and answer their questions honestly.
Your customers may have questions about mobile banking, home banking, bill pay or other aspects of their user experience. Take the time to listen to them and respond to their questions. Consider using live online chat or other methods to encourage communication with customers. Live chat can take some of the pressure off the phone lines.
By taking the time to make smart plans about budgeting, communication, customer service and technology, you can make 2016 more successful than ever.
Making the decision to implement a core conversion can give credit unions a lot to deal with. Among the issues to reconcile is what—and when—to communicate to employees. Certainly employee engagement is important. Helping staff know what to expect can go a long way toward maintaining productivity and facilitating good, ongoing service to members.
Here are 10 things to tell credit union staff members when undergoing a core conversion:
Holding regular meetings is helpful so that you can keep employees updated in small chunks. Each week, let them know what key changes will be coming so they are not blindsided.
Focus part of your weekly meetings on the aspects of your conversion activities that will directly impact how your employees do their jobs.
Clearly identify what members will experience during each phase of the conversion. This is especially critical for people in member-facing positions.
Whether a change impacts employees or customers, let your staff members know how to work around any change or downtime in system functionality. Never just leave them wondering or sitting around with no options to get things done.
When telling staff about what things will change, also highlight what will not change. It can be reassuring to know that some things will be kept the same, but it will also prevent questions about changes that really are not even part of the process.
Any time that a part of your system will be unavailable, even just for a couple of hours, your staff must know. Be as specific as possible about when the downtime will begin so that employees can plan their work accordingly.
Similarly, let staff know how long any lack of system availability will last. Again, this can help team members plan their work and also communicate appropriately to members who may have similar questions.
If a delay occurs, let your employees know as soon as possible that the downtime may last longer than originally expected. Proactive notification goes a long way toward preventing additional problems.
Be as detailed as possible when giving instructions on new systems or features. This will get people working efficiently sooner and keep morale and member satisfaction up.
Your employees will have questions along the way. Make sure they know who to go to in order to get those questions answered.
There really can be no substitute for good communication when undergoing a major change like a core conversion.
Your employees are essential assets for your credit union, and keeping them informed goes a long way toward keeping them with you. When you cultivate engaged employees, you also cultivate satisfied members.
As the face of a credit union to its members, employees play a direct and critical role in the institution’s success. Keeping employees motivated, happy and engaged should therefore be top of mind for credit union management. Following are some ways that this can be done.
By sharing company goals and status updates, credit unions can help employees see how their jobs and responsibilities play into the bigger picture. This can be a big motivator for employees who want to truly make a difference.
Let employees see that opportunities exist to grow within the organization. This keeps their focus on staying with the credit union rather than leaving in order to expand their horizons.
People appreciate knowing their employers believe in them enough to pay for training and education. This can strengthen employees’ loyalty and also better arm them with the skills they need to perform their jobs.
Instead of relying on outdated systems that are cumbersome and do not effectively address member or employee needs, credit unions should put time and money into newer systems and processes. When work can be made more efficient, employees can feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Every employee in a credit union has a unique perspective on how things work—or don’t—and can offer valuable insights to managers. When looking for ways to improve, managers are encouraged to ask the opinions of their employees on what can be helpful. This simple act alone can empower people, but when their suggestions or ideas are used in some form in an actual change, the boost is even greater.
Managers should always be on the lookout for someone doing something right. Catching employees in the act and acknowledging right then and there does wonders for people’s morale. Casual “atta-boys” go a long way, as do other reward mechanisms, such as additional time off or recognition at a staff meeting.
Sometimes people do need guidance, but how that guidance is given can make all the difference. Any critiques should be couched in a guiding and mentoring approach and philosophy.
Employees who feel treated like real people by managers will be more engaged in their jobs. Managers should get to know employees on a personal level and let employees know them as such as well. These seemingly simple acts go a long way toward making employees feel like people, not just workers.
Moving critical business functions to the cloud can be a bit intimidating for credit unions. The lack of physical infrastructure can seem like some type of black magic. The reality, however, is that it can be pure magic. Credit unions can realize many operational efficiencies by taking advantage of cloud-based business solutions.
From better information sharing to reduced downtime, following are some of the ways that cloud solutions can be a profitable business driver for credit unions.
Employees and members alike can access information more quickly and from more locations or interfaces. This lets work get done faster whether in-branch or remotely. Sharing of information between branches may enable employees to better meet in-person member needs, to expedite loan processing or to generate critical management reports.
Cloud-based business solutions are more stable than hardware-based solutions in general. Teams can enjoy reduced downtime and faster recovery when problems do occur. By keeping employees working without interruption, better productivity is achieved. Members also enjoy the benefit of mobile banking or other interfaces that are reliable.
The cost of maintaining a cloud solution is much lower than a traditional hardware system. This is due to the reduced reliance on hardware as well as streamlined IT management. These cost savings allow credit unions to put more focus on work that directly serves and benefits members.
In this day and age, information security is essential. A cloud infrastructure is inherently more secure because all data is consolidated into one place versus being dispersed on a variety of hardware devices. It would be like a home with one door and no windows. Fewer points of entry for hackers reduce the risk of a breach.
Upgrading a cloud-based business solution can be done with little to no disruption to a credit union’s members or employees. Many of these solution upgrades are created to be intuitive so as to reduce the need for employees to face lengthy periods of time while getting up to speed on new technology.
Instead, they can come into work on the day after an upgrade and be productive right out of the gate. Members appreciate this as well because they are not kept waiting at a window or in line because of a new system that must be learned.
Despite the virtual concept of the cloud, the efficiency that credit unions can enjoy from cloud-based business solutions are real indeed.
Technology has become one of the most integral parts of business operations today. This is as true for financial services institutions as it is for many other types of businesses. One of the biggest benefits that technology offers is the ability to reduce the load on employees and help them to be more productive.
However, new technology in and of itself does not create productive employees. There are three elements critical to generating a productivity boost from a new platform or system. First, it must solve a specific problem. Second, it must be intuitive and easy to use. Finally, it must be built with future enhancements in mind.
Technology for technology’s sake rarely delivers positive results. Before choosing to introduce new hardware or software, credit unions should step back and identify what problems they currently face. From there, research should be done to find automated solutions that directly address those problems.
Targeting a real need always gives credit unions a head start in realizing the necessary financial and productivity benefits from their investments.
There can be many ways to quantify quality when it comes to a technology offering and ease of use should always be considered one of the most important. This is because it directly impacts how well employees can make use of it. The more intuitive a platform or interface, the more quickly people can learn it and the more productive they can be.
A smaller learning curve creates more productive employees far sooner which translates into improved ROI for credit unions sooner. It can also contribute to increased member satisfaction because employees can often address member needs with greater ease as they are not forced to spend their time navigating a cumbersome computer interface.
By nature, technology must continually evolve. When selecting a new platform, organizations should keep a keen eye on the ease of integration with current systems as well as the ease of updating over time.
Platforms that integrate more easily with an existing system will result in better and faster adoption rates among employees. Those that are built with future enhancements in mind make it easy for credit unions to add functionality without disrupting employee productivity.
Integrating truly intuitive technology into a credit union can address an institution’s most pressing issues and help employees work more efficiently. Automation planned right can free people up for other tasks without sacrificing quality.
CUProdigy is in the unique position to help Credit Unions ‘Advance Beyond’ by providing a core processing platform that puts the member experience first. CUProdigy empowers credit unions with a comprehensive solution that is both robust and scalable.