Evolving to Serve Members in Every Circumstance

In 2020, the landscape of financial services changed rapidly, and UFCU employees pivoted to redefine Member service. Team UFCU got creative, pushed innovation, and moved swiftly to meet challenges not yet seen in our 84-year history. The most immediate need in the early days was keeping employees safe. All in all, 73% of the UFCU workforce transitioned to working from home.

In 2020, the landscape of financial services changed rapidly, and UFCU employees pivoted to redefine Member service.

That initial transition was only the beginning. A group of UFCU employees organized a touch-base initiative to reach out to the vast majority of employees who had transitioned to working from home. These wellness calls served as an indispensable check-in as employees dealt with the crisis. Employee feedback triggered new benefits to meet emerging employee needs, including reimbursement programs to supplement at-home office requirements, additional paid leave options for those struggling with isolation, the addition of online options for emotional wellness, and more.

New procedures were implemented for staff who remained at UFCU locations, including mask protocols, sanitation procedures, and social distancing guidelines. These measures ensured UFCU’s doors stayed open to Members, and all involved could complete in-person transactions with peace of mind.

Many employees, like Erica S, also took on completely new responsibilities. These employees eagerly redefined their roles to continue to put Members first, despite unprecedented challenges. Erica joined a “special ops” team dedicated to ensuring all UFCU locations were operational, and Members could be served, even after potential exposure to the virus caused a temporary interruption.

“The special ops team responds to every situation with a mindset of curiosity and readiness to meet our Members’ needs, to get the job done regardless of the obstacles. And we found that our Members also demonstrated a phenomenal willingness to learn new avenues for taking care of business,” said Erica.

Cheryl D, who manages the Kyle location, led the new team. From personally reaching out to Members by phone to picking up weekly deposits from a Member who was unable to make the weekly trip to her home branch, many personal financial representatives redefined their daily job descriptions to help Members achieve their goals.

“We are all in this together. It goes beyond providing for financial needs. The culture we have created at UFCU is built around emotional connection and relationships. That’s what drives our desire to serve, and we get a great feeling from doing that. I believe that’s something unique to UFCU. It’s not the norm for your typical financial institution,” Cheryl said.

All of the hard work culminated in a 2021 Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award. As an award winner, UFCU ranks among the most elite organizations around the globe. UFCU has an engagement level of 74%, while most companies worldwide have an average of 22%.

In addition to engaging employees and empowering them to shift to new positions, UFCU also continued to hire new employees to meet Member needs. Rhonda Hall, VP Human Resources and Organizational Development, was pleased with the effort.

“I am so proud that I work for an organization that allows me to do my job the right way. We have uplifted employees with integrity, and I am privileged to serve an organization that has had no reduction in force but has hired even more employees, that has not cut costs but made more benefits available, that has remained open to serve our Members who need us,” Hall said.

The goal was, and remains, to serve Members first. They are at the heart of our every decision and every action. Thanks to our wonderful UFCU team for evolving with such grace to put Members first in every circumstance. When the landscape changes, so does UFCU.