When it comes to building an exemplary credit union, you understand the importance of hiring the right people. As the collective face of your institution, your employees are responsible for everything from a new member’s first impression to a long-time member’s continued satisfaction. With so much at stake, it’s safe to assume you’ve spent hours fine-tuning the questions you ask during interviews. But as you conduct the search for your credit union’s new executives, have you spent as much time preparing to answer the questions they may have for you? Believe it or not, the most promising executive prospects may want you to sell them on why your credit union is a good fit for them. Seems backward, doesn’t it?

Leaders are looking for more than just a job. 

Because it’s an extension of who you are as an organization, your brand matters. No, not your marketing brand—your employer brand. Your marketing brand is externally directed, communicating the benefits of membership to current and potential members. Conversely, your employer brand has an inward focus, indicating your staff’s satisfaction and confidence that their working environment aligns with their values, personality, and goals. According to Hinge Marketing’s Lee Frederiksen, your employer brand is “your reputation and visibility among potential employees and talent referral sources.” Both are essential, but while your marketing brand draws loyal members, your employer brand attracts the leaders who will shape your credit union’s future.

If you’re wondering how strongly your employee brand impacts your ability to attract the top leadership talent, a CareerArc survey asked more than 1,300 job seekers about the importance of an employer’s brand. A staggering 75% of respondents reported they considered an employer’s brand before they even decided to apply. If qualified candidates are concerned with your internal reputation before even applying, it stands to reason they’ll want to know more as they move through the interview process. If your employer brand isn’t as clear as it should be, it’s time to fix that. Fortunately, you can make impressive branding strides with just a few focused steps.

  1. Determine your identity.

The first step to establishing an attractive employer brand is realizing it already exists whether you meant to develop it or not. Depending on your employees’ experience, that can be good or bad. If you’ve managed to create a welcoming company culture, spend some time identifying what makes it so positive and commit to keeping those qualities in place. If your brand isn’t what you want it to be, it’s time to clarify your idea of a positive workplace environment. Like it or not, your employer brand develops with or without your attention. It’s far better to cultivate the identity you want instead of settling for one that just happened.

  1. Define your values.

Though they serve a common purpose, no two credit unions are exactly alike. Understanding your distinguishing strengths is critical to clarifying your employer brand. But rather than closing your office door and brainstorming about the values you want to embody, invest time in your employees and ask what they like or dislike about your credit union. Find out what they enjoy most about their role, but more importantly, find out why they want to work for your credit union. Crowdsourcing isn’t just for massive companies with millions of customers. Your current employees can offer valuable insights that help ensure your success. 

  1. Develop your culture.

Whether you’re rehabilitating an unfavorable reputation or building on a foundation of success, maintaining a winning employer brand is going to require consistent, intentional work. But when you consider that quality executives care about the health of their company’s internal culture, the long-term benefits make the work worthwhile. Engaged leaders empower their employees, and empowered employees create an environment where members feel valued. When you build a credit union that meets the needs of its executives, employees, and members alike, you’ll craft an employer brand that attracts candidates of the highest caliber.

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