This interview is part of our Innovator of the Year series—  highlighting the most innovative in banking. Meet the rest of the winners here.

Your people are your greatest asset— so how are Financial Institutions attracting and retaining rockstar talent in this job market?

We had the pleasure of interviewing Marcy Philips, President and CEO at Lone Star Credit Union, and recent awardee for the Unrivaled Employer, part of Kinective’s Innovator of the Year Awards. From competitive benefits to growth opportunities for staff at all levels, Marcy shares how Lone Star goes above and beyond to create a desirable culture resulting in high retention (including multiple team members who have been with them for 15+ years).

The Unrivaled Employer Award recognizes a Financial Institution for going above and beyond to reduce and improve employee onboarding timeframes, empowering employees through support and job duty consolidation, and creating cultures focused on sales and customer success. Learn how Lone Star Credit Union sets themselves apart as an employer below!

What strategies is Lone Star using to reduce and improve total onboarding and training time frames?

Technology is the key to improving anything and everything. We have different technology through HR, specifically our recyclers, to empower our employee to be more advances and more consultative than your standard teller.

What new approaches are you taking to support your employees and simplify/ consolidate job duties?  

We believe that an engaged employee leads to an engaged member, which ultimately leads to growth. Recently, we adopted the Netflix philosophy after reading the book No Rules, Rules, which is about the culture of reinvention. A lot of the philosophies are around employee engagement and empowerment, which is really leading to our own retention. Here are a couple of the things we’ve adopted that we’ve seen tremendous success with:

Began offering FTO (flexible time off): This essentially means unlimited time off for every single employee of the credit union. It felt a little scary when we first introduced it, but our staff absolutely loves it. Now, you don’t have to worry about saving PTO if your kid is sick or you need a mental health day.

Removed Controls: Credit Unions have a lot of steps, including the added barriers of approval processes and unnecessary tasks. We really try to empower our employees to make their own decisions for what’s best for the member and the credit union. If it’s good for the member and it’s good for the credit union, then go for it!

What opportunities do you provide your employees to improve their skills?

We let our employees go to conventions and conferences, and we really encourage them to go out and meet people in the field, in their industry, and make connections with people that share their interests.

What has Lone Star done to improve retention, and what kind of results have you seen fro those efforts?

We have really fostered a culture of feedback— and we have noticed that when you’re open and you’re candid giving and receiving feedback (even if it’s negative) employees really want that. They know they are growing and learning, and that is something we’ve noticed is important.

We’re also always listening to our team and their ideas, and keep them in the loop with what’s going on. If we end up going with one of their ideas we let them know, and if we don’t, we also communicate why we chose to go in a different direction.

The tenure at Lone Star is incredible, with a couple of our employees having been here for over 20 years, and a more of us 15+ years!

What advice would you give to other financial institutions seeking to innovate in this area?  

Don’t be scared, and don’t shy away from innovation. Keep your eyes and ears open for the benefits. I’m always thinking— will this innovation impact our employees positively, and our members positively? If the answer is yes to both of those- really look into it!

Innovation can be scary— so just be open and listening and asking questions, and trust your employees to provide feedback and ideas.