When it comes to maintaining great relationships for your bank or credit union's bottom line, fostering a positive culture internally can work wonders for improving productivity, building retention of valuable employees and, in the long-term, improving your customer or member experience. This work can take a lot of effort and insight on the parts of your leadership team, but buy-in is key. So in what ways can you improve your behind-the-scenes performance with your team members that will have the biggest impact?

Here are a few examples of ways in which you can improve financial culture within your banking institution.

Incentivized Education

One area in which many financial institutions can struggle to strike the right balance is in incentivizing their employees. While most opt for putting the highest value on finalized sales, account openings and the like, this doesn't always necessarily breed happiness nor good habits in your end consumers—particularly if they're matched with a product or service they largely don't need for the sake of meeting a quota. What you do have going for you amongst your most tenured CSRs and MSRs, however, is knowledge. This is a powerful tool that should be prized and valued by your leadership team—and it's one that's incredibly useful to banking customers.

So rather than adding team member incentives to hard-and-fast sale-closing numbers, why not praise employees for taking the initiative to educate a new customer on financial literacy, managing a budget, understanding debt and how to manage it, etc. These sorts of requests lean directly into what many reps are inherently good at and endears you to an end consumer likelier to be a return customer. Though it's not directly tied to a bottom-line improvement, the indirect effort makes team members feel more prized and customers/members feel more taken care of.

Two-Way Appreciation

One thing that credit unions have adopted en masse is member-appreciation events. These can take the form of anything from one-off gatherings for refreshments and giveaways to monthlong celebrations filled with events and give-back efforts. Beyond simply adopting this tried-and-true method of garnering more foot traffic to your branches, and thusly instill more confidence and excitement in your existing client base, what if you took this same measure with your staff?

Turn your next member-appreciation into a dual event that can mean the same thing internally to your frontline staff—namely, take the opportunity to add give-back and recognition to your employees in line with asking them to help in thanking your customer or member base. Not only will it help to improve your retention efforts in the long run, but it will also invigorate your staff to spread their love of your financial brand to your membership—longevity is the ultimate factor in putting in this sort of effort both ways.

Mutually Beneficial Branches

There's an inherent value in a tenured branch staff—a service rep is 10x more likely to be able to problem-solve and troubleshoot on the fly if they've been immersed in the day-to-day for a longer amount of time. So making your branch spaces more attractive, more modern and more comfortable not only gives a great first impression to a potential customer or member, but it also offers your frontline team members a more desirable place to come to work every day. Offering free coffee to your walk-ins? Give your staff the same courtesy. Engaging your foot traffic with seated waiting areas and built-in entertainment to make queueing less agonizing? Model your own breakrooms in a similar fashion. When your outward-facing brand identity matches your internal culture, you foster buy-in from your team and show that you value your people and your business in equal measure.

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