Diversity and Inclusion
Happy Friday and National Donut Day!
Today’s blog is about diversity and inclusion, because just like with donuts, people come in lots of flavors!
A few months ago, we blogged about credit union diversity and inclusion and NCUA’s first annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) summit. That blog discussed what it means for a credit union to be diverse and inclusive. It also discussed the Annual Voluntary Credit Union Diversity Self-Assessment, which NCUA began collecting in 2016. NAFCU also hosted a webinar on diversity with guest speakers from NCUA.
To continue with its efforts to diversify the credit union industry, in May NCUA announced it has launched a new Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Council. The mission of the council is to build a culture where shared values, beliefs, and behavioral norms around the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, engagement, and leadership are developed in a manner than aligns with NCUA’s other priorities.
Regarding the inspiration behind starting the council, NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood stated, “for the NCUA to carry out its mission effectively, every staff member should be respected, and diversity and inclusion should be truly fostered.”
If your credit union is considering a council, social group, or other diversity related initiative, you may want to begin by defining what diversity and inclusion mean to you. NCUA defines “diversity” as “a broad spectrum of characteristics including race, skin color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, religion, language, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, family structure, geographic differences, diversity of thought, life experiences and more. Simply put: Diversity is all the things that make us who we are.” Further, NCUA defines “inclusion” as “cultivating an environment that connects each employee to the organization; encouraging collaboration, flexibility, and fairness so that all individuals are empowered to participate and contribute to their full potential.”
Even if your definitions of diversity and inclusion do not exactly match NCUA’s, it may be valuable to come up with definitions that match the culture and identity of your credit union. This may create a clear message to all leaders, staff and members about what diversity looks like in your credit union and what goals will be met by your credit union’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Credit unions exploring different methods of promoting diversity and inclusion may want to consider some of the approaches NCUA has taken. NCUA has established a variety of programs to sustain a skilled, highly engaged, and diverse workforce at all levels, including the following:
- Recruitment outreach - engaging specific, diverse segments within the population in order to broaden the pool of talent from which leaders recruit.
- Formal mentoring - providing opportunities to build and share organizational knowledge and professional expertise. This approach depends on the skills of individuals committed to the development of an inclusive, high-performing workforce.
- Diversity Advisory Council - leveraging a team of diversity champions from throughout the agency. This team can advise decision makers with diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Training and education - learning and professional development programs may be used to maintain a consistent and competent pool of diverse talent. Topics such as unconscious bias may provide staff and supervisors with techniques to identify and mitigate bias.
Credit union might benefit from using some or all of the approaches mentioned above. Credit unions may even consider creating programs which focus on the advancement and celebration of particular groups. Since each credit union’s membership and workforce is unique, the groups chosen here may depend on the makeup of the credit union. This type of strategy may be used to acknowledge different groups, especially those which have been historically marginalized.
About the Author
Loran Jackson joined NAFCU as Regulatory Compliance Counsel in April 2019 and was named Senior Regulatory Compliance Counsel in February 2021. In her role, she provides daily compliance assistance to member credit unions on a variety of topics. She also writes articles for NAFCU publications and presents at NAFCU conferences