One of the biggest rivalries in the new millennium is the battle between Google and Apple. Both sides have a loyal following and reasons for thinking their side is the best, but what happens when you combine the two in a credit union setting? You get Credit Union 2.0! Credit Union 2.0 is a new type of credit union that is focused on attracting millennial (people between the ages of 18-34) members and employees by combining the culture of Google with the technology and retail model of Apple.
Why is this necessary?
Research shows that millennials now make up a third of the workforce. That means one in every three employees is between the ages of 18-34. That is huge! It is imperative that credit unions make changes in order to attract this age group as employees and as members. Google has been successful in this area. In fact, they have been the number one work place for years mostly due to their culture. Imagine working for a company that has nap rooms, onsite physicians, free restaurants, free shuttles to and from work, showers for after a workout, haircuts on site, amazing paternity/maternity leave, etc. The list goes on and on. While all of these perks sound amazing, Google is a HUGE company and smaller credit unions, such as Shell Geismar, have to decide what we can afford to duplicate and what we can’t.
So what have we done?
Well, we've implemented a number of strategies that are scalable to an organization our asset size. We realize we can’t afford to build free restaurants for our employees. Instead, we offer free daily snacks and drinks from our snack bar, and we pay for lunch and cake on an employee’s birthday. We can’t provide a shower for all employees so that they can work out at work, but we have done a weight loss challenge. In order to demonstrate our commitment to our employees' health, we offered a cash prize and provided the BMI scale, healthy snacks, and ongoing support. We can’t afford onsite massage therapists, but we have provided massage chairs, and we give our employees the freedom to use them. To get the staff’s creative juices flowing we have an innovation center with a white board wall that we use for innovation tournaments. These adjustments to our culture have allowed the credit union to attract and keep top millennial talent, which in turn helps Shell Geismar attract millennial members. One of the most important non-monetary things we have demonstrated is our genuine care for our employee’s health, happiness, and personal/professional development.
And how will we evolve our retail model?
Well we learn from others that have built a successful model. Apple has created a space where consumers feel comfortable in their shopping experience. Lines have been replaced with friendly customer service reps that come to you, and are able to transact business any place in the store. It's a step above the AT&T pod model. Credit unions adopted that retail strategy a few years ago, and while it is good, it is almost outdated. We prefer Apple's model, so we worked hard with our core processor to have the capability to run our core system using tablets. In fact, we are the first credit union in the nation running Fiserv CUnify on tablets. Using these tablets gives us the flexibility to help members anywhere in the building. There's no need for teller lines, pods, or offices. We can even bring our services to a member in a coffee shop, at their home, or their job. Our opportunities are limitless. In addition to that, we have also added massage chairs to our lobby as a member experience enhancement. The chairs, along with mocktails, snacks, and soothing background music are all a part of our initiative to blend spa like elements into our member experience. It's what sets us apart in our market, and we have seen exponential growth in member satisfaction as a result.
Blending Apple’s technology and retail model with Google’s employee focused culture offers the ideal credit union of tomorrow. This is Credit Union 2.0.