Transform your culture: Lessons from a cooperative, First Credit Union for #CeridianCXDay
By: Angie Poulsen, Human Resource Manager at First Credit Union & Insurance
Given the great influence that corporate culture has on the overall performance and success of your organization, you can’t afford to ignore it. From employee engagement and productivity to retention and recruitment, corporate culture influences many different aspects of a business. Here are three simple strategies you can use to transform your culture and create a workplace where employees, and your organization, can succeed.
Develop leaders to be coaches
When I was first recruited by First Credit Union, having the opportunity to learn from Sandra McDowell, VP of Communications and Culture, was a huge draw. Sandra has an executive coaching certificate from Royal Roads University. First Credit Union integrates “the coach approach” into all its one-to-one and performance discussions. The coach approach is all about asking the right questions and enabling employees to discover their own accomplishments and areas of improvement.
Many of today’s workers value employers that provide them with opportunities to advance their careers, learn, and develop themselves professionally. But, as pointed out in a recent post on Fast Company by Renee Robertson, coaching is not criticism. Rather, coaching is more about having a conversation. Recognizing the difference is critical because, as Roberston explained, this type of conversational approach to coaching “empowers the employee to act while their manager supports them. The employee gains confidence knowing that they own the outcome while feeling acknowledged and supported.”
To bring this kind of coaching program into your own workplace, start at the top. Identify the leaders in your organization who would make great coaches – and provide necessary training to hone their skills. Encourage coaches to get their certifications. I am proud to be attending Royal Roads in the coming year to obtain the same coaching certification as my mentor Sandra!
Engage with your community
Another critical area of an effective corporate culture is engagement – and not just within the workplace. Engaging with the community can help employees feel more valued and connected. According to Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, research has found that over 90 percent of organizations agreed that one of the top benefits of volunteer programs is that their employees are more engaged and that workers who participate in company-related volunteering programs have higher levels of loyalty and commitment to their organization.
If you’re interested in engaging and giving back to your community, there are two main channels to do it through:
- Online: Maintaining a strong online presence is a great way to facilitate ongoing communication with your community. Blogs and social media networks are great platforms to share updates and information that would be of interest to your customers, and both help demonstrate your social responsibility. For example, First Credit Union is a cooperative, so we very much value giving back to the community in any way we can. Our blog is about helping people, specifically with their finances. We want to help them reach their financial goals and blogging is a great way to present easily-digestible ideas and tips.
- In-person: Although there is so much you can do online, one of the best ways to engage with your community in a meaningful way is to do so through face-to-face interactions. At First Credit Union, we close for a half day once a year for a Community Impact Day. You can learn more about our most recent event by watching this video.
Provide an HCM solution that empowers everyone
A strong company culture simply isn’t possible without an engaged workforce. One of the tools that can significantly help employers achieve this is human capital management software. Now that First Credit Union uses Dayforce, our managers are much more empowered and engaged. They have visibility and autonomy into managing and supporting their people that they didn’t have before. Before Dayforce, managers had to connect with HR to have access to any records. Now managers have the ability to take action themselves which frees up HR to focus on developing people and programs instead of fishing out paper work, and means that . managers spend less time hunting for records and more time coaching and developing their employees. It goes without saying that engagement of non-managerial employees has increased as a result due to the fact that they too have access to everything they need in their employee record when they log into Dayforce. For instance, they can access their remaining vacation time and book their next holiday well in advance which is said to increase the benefits of vacation time – anticipation is as important as vacation itself.
While the cooperative fundamentals of First Credit Union have remained, we have changed a lot as an organization since we started in Powell River, British Columbia 75 years ago. Like many industries today, ours is certainly changing. Processes within credit unions are becoming more automated, and there is more demand for financial advice; overall, how we do business is changing. Workforce planning and organizational planning will be key to the success of First Credit Union in the coming years. As with any organizational change, Human Resources will be instrumental in helping our people through any change and I believe our strong culture is an important component in our vitality throughout it.
Angie Poulsen is the Human Resource Manager at First Credit Union & Insurance. She previously was the HR Manager for retail giant, Home Depot and in 2014 she was a finalist for both BC HRMA’s and Canadian HR’s respective Rising Start Awards. Angie holds an Advanced Human Resource Diploma from Camosun College and is currently working towards a bachelors degree in Human Resource Management and Labour Relations from Athabasca University. At this year’s Ceridian XOXO Awards, First Credit Union was the recipient of the Astounding Transformation Award, an achievement honoring the impressive HCM process changes it made that helped improve efficiency and productivity. An avid (runner/biker etc) she is passionate about fitness and you can be sure to run into her on bike paths in outside of the beautiful Comox Valley where she is based.