One of southwest Wisconsin’s largest and most successful credit unions, and a Top-100 workplace, Educators Credit Union’s workforce planning focuses on finding and developing the talent it needs to ensure that its 115,000 members receive outstanding service.
Linking planning to core values
“Excellent service is a core competency and a strategic driver,” explains Peter Stein, Vice President of HR for ECU. “And hiring good people—those in whom we see the potential for advancement—is how we’ll sustain the credit union.” Stein says that the organization primarily does tactical workforce planning at present, but is “working on the strategic piece and thinking long-term.” Planning activities grow from the culture and focus on pointing out the skills and people ECU needs to serve its members and fuel continued success.
The organization uses the Predictive Index, a behavioral assessment tool, to profile jobs and identify skills and behaviors associated with high performance. ECU cultural factors also underlie informed hiring and targeted development. Stein explains that efforts are based on the credit union’s five core values: respect, integrity, stewardship, community and passion.
Ensuring the right talent for current and future needs, he says, involves extending development opportunities beyond managerial staff. “We have a couple of tellers participating in our Leadership Educator program this year,” Stein notes. In its fourth year of deployment, the program is ECU’s means of providing potential leadership candidates with structured training and development, while also addressing the organization’s succession management needs—the focus of its workforce planning activities.
About 14 high-potential candidates participate in 12 monthly live classes administered by an outside vendor. Says Stein, “we give participants a project that offers experiential development. They spend a lot of time working on their program assignments–in addition to their existing jobs.”
Building an internal talent pool
According to Stein, ECU “promotes from within whenever we can,” and Leadership Educator program graduates provide a pool of potential candidates with proven capabilities they can bring to new or vacated positions. Echoing the experiences of CHROs in many fields (as reported in i4cp’s The Future of HR: The Transition to Performance Advisor), he adds that the credit union took action to build its own development pipeline because “the education system isn’t necessarily giving people the skills we feel are needed. We want to make sure we provide this for our staff so we can be sure they have the skills they’ll need in the coming 10, 15 years, or longer.”
This is an excerpt from i4cp's report, Winning at Workforce Planning: Turning High-Performance Strategies into Action, available exclusively to i4cp members.