Crisis transparency isn't just for management and staff

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While you’re adapting, don’t abandon the fundamentals that got you where you are today. Even as you’re innovating, certain fundamental business activities still apply.

Communicate effectively and often. Position your brand authentically and in the best light. Know who you are and what you stand for. Realize that everyone is your customer – your members, employees, partners, vendors and the general population. Study them to know what matters, and when.

We often segment employees and customers in the business world. There are practical benefits to doing so, but at a conceptual level, never forget that your employees are your customer, too. The best brands aren’t only informed by their customers and employees, they’re formed by them too.

When the body is wounded, it sends all of its resources to the injured part in order to heal itself. The same principle that applies to organisms applies to organizations as well. As our country reels from a worldwide pandemic and an outbreak of civil unrest, credit unions must discern how they can help the communities they serve to heal.

Think back to the reason credit unions exist at all – to serve underserved populations.

Ask your community leaders what they want from you and what you can do to help your community heal. Quickly pivot to find solutions that help the most people. Issuers and financial institutions are already doing this, but more can be done.

We know these are tough times, yet how you handle this crisis is essential. If you exist to serve the underserved and deliver on the promise of people helping people, think about your customers and employees first and put your own needs on the back burner.

While you have a business you must keep in business, you also have margin in your business. Have your finance department pivot quickly to products, services, operations and customer care solutions that address your customers’ current and ongoing needs, understanding that those needs may be very different today than what they were just six months ago.

Be proactive. Look at everything through the lens of the member/customer. Consider how you can support housing, education and other core services required for economic freedom and financial vitality. We didn’t get into this alone and we won’t exit it alone, either.

Extend a listening ear, willing hand and confident attitude. In doing so, your employees and customers will find the strength they need to rise above the bleak landscape and make it new.

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