To be successful in today’s business environment, a credit union must attract the best and brightest talent; understand and serve its members; develop strategies to attract and retain new members; and offer innovative products, services, and solutions that meet the evolving needs of its members. Investing in diversity and inclusion will help credit unions achieve the above-mentioned areas. Below are five ways your credit union can start investing in diversity and inclusion:
1. Align diversity and inclusion with mission and purpose
Diversity is a broad spectrum of characteristics including but not limited to – race, religion, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Inclusion is a practice or behavior that creates a sense of belonging and value for all individuals. Diversity and inclusion are critical for credit unions as most credit unions are founded on the premise of representing the community they serve. Your credit union must create an organizational culture and climate in which every voice is heard, valued, and customers feel a sense of belonging. Ensure leaders and employees of your organization serve as advocates of diversity both internally and within the community.
2. Create a diverse talent pipeline
In this ever-changing world, a lack of diversity within organizations can lead to a narrow-minded viewpoint and may set some financial institutions behind their competitors. Investing in a diverse talent pool gives credit unions an advantage in attracting the most talented professionals. Understanding the value of each staff member’s unique experiences, skills, and perspectives allows the credit union to connect a diverse set of talented individuals to create many strategic and operational benefits. For culturally diverse teams, learning from each other’s differences can be a source of performance improvement. When employees and board members feel their differences are valued and honored, they are more engaged in making customers happy.
3. Ensure your team represent the community you serve
It’s critical for all members to feel valued and understood by their credit union. To that end, ensure your staff and board members represent the community you serve. This helps credit unions align with the specific members’ needs and creates a more inclusive environment in which members have a greater sense of belonging. It makes good business sense to have board members, managers and employees reflect the community your credit union serves.
4. Offer diverse products and services
Diversity also means offering financial products that work for specific groups while showing potential members that the organization is sensitive to their unique needs while supporting their community. For example, if there has been a sudden influx of new groups in your community, understanding their culture and relationship to finance is critical. Additionally, to overcome language barriers, all your customer service should integrate languages other than English to represent diverse groups in your community.
5. Invest in innovative solutions
Diversity enhances a credit union’s ability to see business opportunities and capitalize on them in new and innovative ways. Allowing diversity to guide business strategies helps credit unions understand and respond to changing member requirements. Diverse teams bring broader perspectives that lead to better decision-making and problem-solving—generating new ideas and identifying and eliminating barriers to success. This is a direct result from considering various points of view.
The business case for diversity in credit unions is simple – diversity is a good investment. Diversity and inclusion are strategic business imperatives that allow credit unions to achieve their mission. Diversity leads to better service, incredible innovation, improved solutions, and increased membership. These things make credit unions profitable and sustainable, strengthening membership growth.
- Align diversity and inclusion with mission and purposes
- Create a diverse talent pipeline
- Ensure your team represent the community you serve
- Offer diverse products and services
- Invest in innovative solutions