Purposeful Talent Development: Keep the People in Your People Strategy

people arrow
Lesley Sears Photo
VP/Consulting Services

3 minutes

The best practice is to have both behavior-based and operational elements.

When organizations think of “people strategy,” they often think only of the nuts-and-bolts HR functions like hiring, anti-harassment training and expense reporting.

And while HR functions are important to a good people strategy, they’re only part of what’s needed for success.

I like to think of people strategy as having two kinds of components: operational and behavior-based. 

The operational component is usually the easier one for leaders to think about. It includes not only the foundational HR functions we talked about earlier, but also workforce planning, budgeting for staff salaries and benefits, and other kinds of required training, such as Bank Secrecy Act training.

The often-overlooked component of people strategy is the behavior-based one. This component includes things like getting staff members to buy into the credit union’s mission, identifying the skills team members most need to succeed, helping staff feel safe in the culture, work/life balance, building trust among people and forging clear career paths.

Why is it easier for most organizations to focus on the operational side of people strategy? It’s because operational success can be more visible and more easily measured; because when behavior-based people strategy issues are seen in culture, they’re often not understood. Many times, operational people strategy tasks with their many legal and regulatory requirements take up so much time that there simply isn’t time left over to address the behavior-based component of people strategy.

But it’s important to make time for it. Without doing so, your people strategy will be incomplete and less effective. It could result in less staff engagement. And according to a 2023 report by Gallup, engaged workers drive 23% higher profits. In comparison, disengaged employees cost the world $8.8 trillion in lost productivity in 2022 alone.

It’s also important to make time to ensure your people strategy, complete with both an operational and a behavior-based component, is aligned with your credit union’s mission. That way, your engaged team members will be rowing all together toward the same goals—your credit union’s goals!

How Can I Get a Good People Strategy That Aligns With the Mission?

At this point you may be asking, “How can I develop a complete people strategy that will align our team with our credit union’s mission?” Glad you asked.

Developing people strategy like we do with clients of CUES Consulting is an ongoing process of five steps:

  1. Define objectives and scope.
  2. Gather data and information. 
  3. Analyze your findings.
  4. Develop recommendations.
  5. Plan and execute.

There’s lots of detail behind that basic structure, including using well-chosen, valid assessment tools to collect the data; having the skill and context to analyze both quantitative and qualitative findings; knowing the best practices on which to base your recommendations; and effectively motivating everyone from front-line team members to members of the C-suite to execute the plan.

Without a complete strategy, your organization will likely experience both operational and behavior-based chaos. Operational chaos can be at the root of poor onboarding, being behind on operational training and not having metrics for measuring performance. Behavior-based chaos is showing itself when there’s no collaboration, no understanding of possible career paths, no mission buy-in and high attrition.

If you’re ready to talk about keeping the people in your people strategy and the overall process of aligning your people strategy to your mission, let’s talk.

Stepping into the gap between corporate complacency and organizational excellence is where Lesley Sears strives to be. In her role as VP/consulting services at CUES, Lesley leads CUES Consulting, which provides talent strategy support to credit unions of all sizes. Lesley is passionate about helping leaders find their company’s superpowers in talent development through a holistic approach: identify–develop–document-repeat. She’s a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, a certified executive leadership coach and has over 20 years of experience consulting with organizations across many industries to strategically develop their talent’s best selves. When she’s not working to help organizations maximize their potential, you can find her digging in her flower beds, reading or watching classic movies. Maybe, on a good morning in the spring and fall, you’ll find her running—really slowly.

Get help with your talent strategy!

CUES Consulting works with credit unions large and small.
Get more information today
Compass Subscription