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Building a Culture of Credit Union Excellence

Every organization has a culture. Some organizations create their culture intentionally and carefully. At others, culture just happens, for better or worse.

Executive Summary

As the financial services environment continues to become more complex, more competitive, and more crowded, engaged employees are the critical ingredient for credit union success. Filene Research Institute’s colloquium, “Building a Culture of Credit Union Excellence,” held at Loyola University in Chicago, examines the roles that compensation, human resource management, and organizational development play in a credit union’s ability to create a culture of
excellence and a workforce that engages in exceeding members’ expectations.

What is the research about?

Building a Culture of Credit Union Excellence, features presentations by noted human resources theorists, including Paul Davis, president of the Scanlon Leadership Network. The Scanlon Plan aims to:

  • Include the worker in on the adventure, the decisions and the profits of increased production.
  • Help management tap the ingenuity of employees as a means of improving production.

The report also features the work of Dow Scott, professor of human resources at Loyola and president of Performance Development International, Inc. Scott makes the case that, based on Scanlon methodology, an organization must meet the needs of three primary stakeholder groups. Scott also describes the relationship between a culture of excellence and a culture of innovation.

Additionally, Chuck Cockburn, CEO of Watermark Credit Union, presents a case study of Watermark’s initiation of the Scanlon process.

What are the credit union implications?

The discussion of building a culture of credit union excellence goes beyond questions of the relative value of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the role of compensation in coaxing good performance out of employees. We have discussed creating a culture where excellent performance is the norm, where it does not need to be coaxed out of employees, because it is how they want and expect to perform. Motivation is a tricky affair, and so is culture. But we have some successful models upon which to build. The Scanlon approach is one such model. 

The ideas presented at Loyola University Chicago can contribute to the development of an environment where excellence and innovation are encouraged and nurtured, where employees are treated as equal partners in the organization’s success, and where the goals and interests of all key stakeholders are aligned.