Last week I was talking to some credit union peers and one of the topics of discussion was the alarming rate at which the credit union industry seems to be losing young and talented professionals – not necessarily from Gen Y – but more so from the age group of 30-45. Most of the people who participated in this discussion were in the Gen X demographic (myself included.) It wasn’t just the topic that was so interesting. Rather, it was the depth of concern voiced by everyone. These are serious credit union professionals – all accomplished and who hold senior management positions at their credit unions. So what was said should not be taken lightly. I wanted to share some of the discussion with my readers.
Young professionals are not getting what they were promised when they were hired. When any of these folks accepted their jobs, they were told that they would be given autonomy, the ability to lead, and the authority to make enhancements to their departments and processes. Unfortunately, when they attempt to bring new life into old institutions, they are stopped in their tracks and challenged by people who just don’t want to change anything. For the most part, young professionals do not fear changing course when doing so is necessary and when it would benefit the organization. Many are not easily dismayed when they face push-back. However, a person can only take so much rejection before they start thinking about looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Creativity is being stifled. This is especially true in the marketing and business development disciplines. Passionate, creative, and talented professionals are hired to “make things better.” Yet, when they suggest tactics that could be deemed “out-of-the-box,” they are forced back into the very box from which they are trying to escape. When they want to take a bit more risk and be a little less conservative with their methods, they are told that “it won’t work with our membership” or are given some other excuse for not being able to move forward. And then folks sit around scratching their heads wondering why the results aren’t there. Perhaps they’ve forgotten that age-old definition of insanity…..
It’s just a job. We need young professionals to want to make their careers in credit unions. In order to keep them around, they need to see a bright future loaded with advancement opportunities and the ability to further develop their professional skills. If they don’t see those things, they are going to keep leaving the industry as they have been.
And we may not be able to replace them…..