Redefining Success in a Credit Union Sales Culture

Credit Unions everywhere are looking to instill a sales culture while protecting the member service excellence that differentiates us as an industry. For credit unions looking for increased sales, I suggest developing comprehensive metrics that measure the successes of your front line employees to ensure they are providing superior member service through offering your organization’s full suite of products.

 Over the last six months, we have transitioned to a new way of measuring the success of our member-facing employees. With 32 branches and almost 300 front line employees, change can be difficult.  However, I can see behaviors transforming, leading to greater service to our members and increasing share of wallet. In February of this year we launched the Circle of Excellence (COE) program which is a recognition program for our branch employees. The project started out with a simple survey to employees asking, “How do you want to be rewarded?” and “What metrics do you want to be measured by?”. From that point, began the process of building comprehensive ranking systems measuring several products and services for which each type of employee is responsible for presenting. The purpose of the system is to identify and recognize top performers, most improved, and top rookies in the branch network while also identifying employees who require more training or motivation.  

Each job title has its own ranking system in which the employee’s individual performance is measured to all other employees in the same role. For example, in addition to superior member service, tellers have responsibilities for both accuracy and cross-sells. Their weighted ranking system is balanced to ensure they are focused on both. A couple of metrics used in their comprehensive weighted ranking is outages and cross-sells per transaction. This is an example of the balance the ranking system provides to measure behaviors and numbers. A Loan Officer or Financial Services Officer has metrics such as loan volume and loan accuracy striking a balance between sales with compliance. In all, each job role has 10-15 metrics in which they are measured. All are weighted differently depending on the importance to the membership and organization. The Branch Manager’s ranking system is a compilation of all employees that report to them.

Once these outstanding performances are identified, the next step is to provide them with rewards. The goal of our rewards system is to provide our employees with experiences they ordinarily would not have such as season tickets to Dollywood Theme Park, passes to the historic Biltmore home, and a dinner cruise on the Volunteer Princess. All rewards are chosen by popular vote from the front line employees thus increasing their level of engagement. To recognize our top performers for the year, we wanted to do something unique and innovative; something that is memorable and gives back to the industry and our membership. That said, we have  recently announced our top ranked performers for the year will be going to the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in 2015. This is an excellent opportunity to recognize these employees, invest in their careers, and show them how important advocacy is to our industry! I look forward to ‘Hiking the Hill’ alongside my colleagues! 

The success of the program is being continually monitored and will be adjusted accordingly. Recently we completed a survey that identified new opportunities and enhancements that could and will be made to the program for 2015. It is important that the employees are embracing this methodology. Without their engagement, the program fails. We are also closely monitoring our Net Promoter Scores (NPS) to ensure they are improving. This is one of many channels our members have to provide us feedback and it is important we pay very close attention to this metric. There are plans to include the NPS in the ranking system next year which will further reward the outstanding front line performances.  

While the Circle of Excellence program has only been in existence for six months, it has been a huge success. In our recent survey, 56.9% of the 241 surveyed employees said they are more aware of their performance and how it compares to others in the organization. As John F. Kennedy once said, “A rising tide lifts all boats”. Although he was talking economic policy, this is a perfect way to describe the success of the COE program. It has given us a fun way to engage our employees in our pursuit of our creed which is “We are here to serve our members, without them we would not exist!”

P.S. Hot off the presses!  Check out this fun announcement of the 2014 Circle of Excellence Annual Trip:   

Chris Boler