Every waking moment we are bombarded by data. We navigate dense webs of information, struggling to make sense of what we sense. To cope with information overload, we divide and conquer, concentrating on manageable subsets, specializing our knowledge base. We erect expertise silos which frame our understanding of the business environment and hone our objectives. In doing so, we tend to focus on functions: accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, and information systems. The same expertise silos that direct our efforts at times obscure our common mission and create unrecognized redundancies. For example, we target our marketing and manage our human resources as if these were discrete tasks, as if members and personnel were apples and oranges. Yet, savvy credit unions know that the most effective talent teams represent and reflect their memberships. In fact, ideally recruiting and retaining members and personnel are complementing and interlocking practices. Efforts to expand membership bases and initiatives to enhance diversity on credit union talent teams are part of the same project: spreading the credit union mission – enhancing the financial well-being of members through member-centric non-exploitive financial services.
Recognizing the need for credit unions to recruit and nurture diverse members and diverse employees, Filene is offering a Talent and Consumer Thinking Research Event September 26-27 in Austin, Texas. Uniting the efforts of Filene’s Center of Excellence in the War for Talent and the Center of Excellence in Consumer Decision-Making, the event is designed to advance the infusion of diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout business practices to build stronger, more effective credit unions. As lead researchers in these centers, Sekou Bermiss and I are co-hosting the event with the incomparable Filene-ers and hope to inspire productive conversations on how credit unions can better reflect and serve diversity.
Featuring prominent academics and industry experts offering their insights on the challenges and successes of baking diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the enterprise, the event promises to offer brain food and take aways for credit unions. In addition to the large group presentations, we have planned a series of deeper dive breakout sessions, hosted by the speakers, concentrating on the implementation of the key insights and take aways.
I am excited to facilitate a breakout session, entitled, “We Belong: Building Diversity and Inclusion throughout the CU Enterprise.” In this breakout, I do a deep dive on how credit unions can enhance their messaging and representation to attract and retain diverse members and talent. Focusing on the membership model, the division between management and clientele erodes because we are member owned. We all belong to the credit union. We are all part of, and committed to, the credit union difference: financial services for people not for profit.
Coordinating the efforts of marketing and HR, credit unions can create a unified message of inclusivity that permeates the business and underscores belongness. From recruiting diverse members and credit union professionals to serving members’ financial needs and fostering a collaborative work environment, we advance the credit union mission. Through active learning, session participants will identify ways to align messaging and representation across constituents in internal and external communications.