Leading with Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in your Credit Union

Leading with Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in your Credit Union

The topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion is continuing to gain momentum in all industries. As we look towards the future, people want to see equality in all levels of organizations. We’re all continuing to learn that our differences are powerful in uniting us. As credit unions hold a unique position to continue to push the industry forward towards greater diversity, inclusion, and equity. While this may not be an immediate adjustment, there are a few steps you can begin taking to move forward. 

Let’s start with a few statistics to show you where credit unions stand in the DEI space.

  • In 2018 the typical credit union board was made up of 90% white and 8% black members.
  • In this same report, the credit union leadership was made up of 90% white and 5% black members. 
  • Credit unions as a whole report 52% of CEO positions are held by women, however, for credit unions of $1 billion and above, that number drops to 14%

With these numbers in mind, it’s important to understand where your credit union falls among others. As you assess your credit union, where can you improve your DEI? We have a few tips!

Diversity among leadershipLeading with Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in your Credit Union

Working towards a diverse leadership team starts with determining whether everyone within your credit union is set up to receive the same opportunities that help them reach their greatest potential. If not, now is the time to acknowledge the inequities within your organization. Once you become aware of the inequities within your organization, you are better equipped to assess your practices, processes, and culture. 

These assessments can help leaders realize how unintentional biases potentially run through your organization and how they create limitations for your team members. Understanding this aspect of your business is the first step to creating change, ongoing strategy, and enhanced coaching and development opportunities. 

Integrating DEI into succession plans and recruitment strategies

Ensuring the integration of DEI into your succession planning and recruitment strategies is essential to continued progress toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. Conversations surrounding DEI should be an ongoing aspect of succession planning and recruiting processes, with constant reviews and updates being made. 

As a proactive recruiting strategy for credit unions, a list of candidates who contain the skills and experiences needed to fill roles should be kept that covers the full spectrum of demographics: age, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status. Fostering an environment of transparency in recruiting and retaining top talent will allow candidates to see that the credit union supports these initiatives and supports inclusivity in valuing employees’ unique backgrounds, characteristics, and ideas.

Communicate your commitment to DEI

In the past, credit unions and other industries have attempted to “check off the diversity box” by including a general DEI statement buried deep within their website. Fortunately, this is no longer an adequate solution. Doing so does nothing to push your credit union in the right direction of the development of a diverse workplace. 

A credit union’s commitment to embracing inclusion in the workplace has a massive impact on your community. This commitment should be celebrated the same way your commitment to serving your favorite nonprofit is celebrated. 

Understand your unique DEI strategy

There is no set strategy or playbook for understanding DEI in your credit union. As mentioned above, it starts with your recruiting strategy. Ensuring that you remove barriers to hiring employees of all demographics is essential to maintaining positive recruiting and hiring processes. 

That being said, you know what your unique credit union needs to succeed. You know what your members need to feel confident in their membership, and you know how your staff feels on a daily basis. Your board of directors and leadership team help set the tone for the entire organization, so ensure you are aligned on how to drive your credit union forward.