The Invisible Monster: Bad Hiring Practices Might Be Harming Your Credit Union!

By Christine Pena-Oquist

Are your members being scared away?

It seems like the more tools we have to make life easier, the more tasks we are expected to accomplish. These days, we feel overwhelmed as new information hits us rapid-fire from every direction all day long. We feel pressured to rush from one thing to another.

It is no different for your credit union members!

Your busy members, by using various digital channels, can access most financial services on their own. So, it is critical that every personal interaction with your credit union's employees is of noticeable value.

When a member physically walks into your branch, they expect to receive customer service with a personal touch. Walking in to a branch or office is no longer the only way to access most financial services. Your members choose to make that trip for very specific reasons.

They still expect the service to be efficient and accurate, but they also want to feel acknowledged and cared for. Often, they are specifically looking for someone who can teach them how to do something, explain how something works, or solve a problem for them.

It is mandatory that your credit union has enough front-line employees available at all times who are capable and willing to meet those needs. You cannot afford to have employees who are anything less than knowledgeable, efficient, friendly, patient, caring, honest, communicative, and motivated to follow through with each member they serve. Good hiring practices ensure that your credit union is always fully staffed with employees who have those qualities.

If you are not able to attract enough quality applicants to complete your application process, you will not have enough good candidates to choose from. As you know, hiring good employees involves choosing the best fit for a position out of a pool of possible candidates. If you regularly have to choose the best out of very few decent applicants or, even worse, out of lots of bad ones, you will never be fully staffed with the kind of employees that can help your credit union thrive.

As your team of competent employees shrinks, lines and complaints increase--and memberships decrease.

As with so many things in life, hiring employees who under-perform has a ripple effect. First, of course, these employees upset your valued members by being unable to meet their needs.  Then, they either end up being fired, quitting in frustration, or requiring better employees to carry their weight.


As good employees are required to cover for unfilled positions or incompetent employees, their morale plummets. As their morale plummets, they are likely to either stop caring as much about their job or quitting in disgust. Then, of course, they will tell all of their friends about the bad working conditions at your credit union, further shrinking your pool of motivated and qualified applicants. It becomes a vicious cycle.

There is always going to be some turnover for entry-level positions. Those employees that don’t move up to other positions within your credit union, will eventually move on to other jobs. Good hiring practices, however, keep this turnover at a manageable flow.

A happy and cohesive customer service team has the time and energy to properly mentor each new hire. As team members move on, they do so with gratitude for their experience working at your branch--and enthusiastically recommend your credit union to people looking for better customer service jobs.

In credit unions with good hiring practices, everything works better.  Your members love to come into your welcoming branch where they receive immediate, competent, and personal attention. They often know the front line employees by name and are always happy to meet a new one.