Jonathan DeVore

By: Jonathan DeVore on May 10th, 2024

Print/Save as PDF

Credit Union Succession Planning: How to Retain Knowledge When SMEs Retire

Over the next four years, the American workforce is going to see a wave of retirement. 

According to a recent study by the Alliance for Lifetime Income, this year and every year leading up through 2027 will see 4.1 million Americans reach the retirement age (65).

Many of these retirees have worked their way up to top-level executive positions in your credit union.

These workers have a wealth of knowledge. And if you don't prepare for their retirement, you're going to see all that knowledge walk out that door with them.

At ScreenSteps — a knowledge ops solution — we help credit unions prepare to lose workers and undergo change by helping them capture their knowledge.

There are many ways you can prepare for your employees to retire. Watch this 3-minute video for four tips on how to preserve that knowledge before it's too late. Then keep reading for more details.

Tip #1: Identify key areas of expertise

In which areas are your retiring employees experts? Are there certain policies, procedures, or tasks that only they know how to handle?

These areas could include risk management, compliance, member services, client services, or something else.

You don't want to be caught in a situation where you don't know what you've lost until it's gone. That's why your first step is to identify what knowledge could be lost if your employee were to retire tomorrow.

Tip #2: Document processes and procedures

The next step is to extract that knowledge from your retiring experts' heads. 

You can either have your retiring experts document these procedures themselves or you can have a content author interview the experts and build the guides.

Either way, you are making sure those policies and procedures are written down so that information can't be lost.

Note: You'll want to account for routine tasks (i.e. day-to-day responsibilities) as well as infrequent (i.e. annual or bi-annual procedures).

Also, it needs to be comprehensive. Don't just document the most common outcome. Account for the atypical or less common outcomes of every procedure.

Doing this step sooner rather than later provides your team more time to amend and optimize the documented process before your expert leaves your credit union.

Credit Union Job Aid Template

Tip #3: Centralize your knowledge

Capturing your knowledge is the first essential step. Of course, there is no point in gathering that knowledge if your credit union reps have no way of accessing those guides.

You'll want a centralized hub where you can create, organize, and share these documented standard operating procedures (SOPs)

Some options include:

Choose software that has interactive elements (ie. checklists, decision trees, workflows, etc.) for your digital guides. This will make it easier for your employees to follow the instructions.

Tip #4: Develop a succession plan

Finally, you'll want to develop a succession plan for the position. Identify potential successors for critical roles within your credit union. 

The earlier you can identify your retirees' replacement, the sooner your retiring expert can start training their replacement for the position.

This will make the transition smoother and help prevent knowledge from slipping through the cracks.

Avoid losing knowledge by preparing for the future

Whether it is from employees quitting or long-standing executives retiring, you will inevitably lose employees from your credit union at some point.

While you may be sad to see certain employees go, that moment doesn't have to be devastating to your knowledge operations as long as you prepare properly.

Our ScreenSteps Knowledge Ops Solution helps credit unions prepare for change, whether that is losing an employee, or undergoing technology changes, or something else.

ScreenSteps helps every employee become an expert by providing clear guides in a centralized hub where your employees can access the guides they need in as few as two clicks.

See how a knowledge ops solution can help your credit union preserve your expert knowledge before employees retire or quit here.

New call-to-action

About Jonathan DeVore

Customer Success