Consistency matters. It’s the key to delivering great service to every member, every time, it’s the key to training new employees and preparing them for success, and it’s the key to increasing efficiency throughout your credit union.
When things are done consistently, less time is lost debating, correcting, and evaluating why something was done the way that it was instead of some other way, and your members get the same experience no matter who they deal at whichever location they choose to visit.
It sounds logical, everyone knows it, and yet in any organization that has been around more than a few weeks, consistency is probably not what it could or should be, and each day this wastes a lot of time, energy, and money because the fact is that inconsistency equals inefficiency.
So what can you do to improve the level of consistency in your credit union?
Start by putting it in writing…by making the commitment to document all of your policies, procedures, and processes.
Next, put all of your employees through a refresher training program where the documentation is used as the foundation for the way things are to be done in your credit union.
Finally, hold everyone equally accountable for following the policies, procedures, and processes as documented.
WORDS OF CAUTION
1. This will not be an easy process. Long-time employees have learned ways to do things that are comfortable to them and they will be reluctant to change. Newer employees may question why all of the steps are needed, and often will identify ways that you can streamline things to increase efficiency. Bringing the two groups together and gaining buy-in will require some work. But therein lies the value of the effort…you’ll find better ways to do things, you’ll create consistency across people and locations, and you’ll produce a tool that will make training people for new positions easier.
2. This will take some time. The complexity and sheer number of processes that most credit unions have makes this task look almost insurmountable at the outset, but if you break it down into smaller sub-tasks and begin to document what is actually being done, you will learn a lot about the gaps that exist and you’ll quickly see pathways to improve performance in some of those areas that tend to cause problems over and over again.
3. This will need to involve the entire team. There are reasons why different ways of doing things that have likely evolved over time and across location and people. Sorting this out and defining the desirable way to do things for the future will require input from a broad spectrum of people who are actually involved in doing whatever it is that is being documented. But when people are empowered to review and update things, you’ll likely be amazed at the creativity they will bring and the results they will produce.
BOTTOM LINE: If you want to improve the overall efficiency of your credit union, start by putting everything that you do in writing so that you can create consistent performance every day at every location from every employee!