MADISON, Wis. (9/12/08)--Credit unions can learn how to create consumer rewards programs that deepen member relationships, and what benefits to offer to retain employees in two new white papers from the CUNA Councils. “Credit Union Rewards Programs That Enhance Member Relationships,” by the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service (OpSS) Council, discusses how to develop a program that deepens member relationships. The paper outlines the reasons for rewards programs and the types of programs available. It uses tips and credit union case studies as examples. Credit unions need to combine “head and heart” when it comes to what kind of program they offer, said Denise Wymore, a credit union consultant who helped create a member points program used in about 20 credit unions. “Let’s say you have 30,000 aggregate points and as a reward, you get unlimited ATM use,” Wymore said. “I don’t really feel the reward. I’m not consciously aware, every time I use the ATM, that I’m not being charged by my credit union. And if I’m being charged by the ATM but not by the credit union, that’s negative. I’m not feeling the love.” The rewards should connect with both parts of the member, she added. The second white paper, “Retaining Key Employees,” by the HR/TD Council, investigates strategies and retention factors employed by credit unions--beyond the obvious attractions--for recruiting and keeping officer-level employees. Executive benefits programs and coaching, advanced educational opportunities, and organizational culture are all addressed as prime retention factors in this paper. Tips for identifying key employees during the interview process are provided. For example, Lee Alderman, assistant vice president of employee relations and development at Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., identified two traits that the credit union’s star employees all share. They are all good relationship-builders/networkers with members and staff, and they take responsibility for their own learning, he said. “These are the type of people we want to hire,” said Alderman. “We redesigned our education and hiring process based on what we learned from these 10 individuals. We added behavioral questions on our interviews to recruit their type of individual.” For more information on these white papers and a list of other topic papers from both councils, use the resource link.