NAFCU Journal January February 2022

41 THE NAFCU JOURNAL January–February 2022 level in the past few years. We were very lucky to have a Pandemic Preparedness Plan in place that we developed over 10 years ago and we already had employees working remotely full-time. That served us very well. I am very proud to say we did great adapting to the “new normal” circumstances. The first thing we did was call every single one of our members, wherever they lived, to see if they were OK. Nothing else. It took about ten weeks, and those we could not reach by phone, we emailed. We pushed no products, made no offers. We simply reached out and checked on the wellbeing of our community, because to us that was the most important thing. While this was happening, we switched every employee to WFH (working from home) mode within a week. We expanded our lines of communication so that we could have secure messages on our members’ online banking platform so they could communicate and share documents with us safely; we also made it a point of enhancing our security alert systems on the online/mobile banking platform. After ensuring that we could speak with our members, we ran a survey to find out what they expected from us, and worked to meet those needs while keeping up with remote work rules. This helped us minimize the impact that our change to remote work had on our members. We started officering curbside service, and in the case of elderly and people naturally at risk, we even drove to their homes to help them transact business. Q: What advice do you have for other executives also trying to lead their teams through and beyond this unprecedented crisis? A: Listen to members, volunteers and employees. And I mean really listen. Pay special attention to volunteer insights. In the case of OAS FCU, our volunteers are our first line of feedback, because they are members themselves; ■ Don’t be afraid to try and implement new solutions, even if they might fail. New ideas can provide unexpected insights about your membership, your employees and your capabilities as a credit union, plus they are always open to adjustment; ■ Be as ready as possible with pandemic contingency plans. Develop a WFA (work from anywhere) policy so that the flexibility is available for telecommuting before you need it. Pay keen attention to your staff and volunteers when it comes to asking them to step out into risky situations; ■ Expanding on that last point, having your staff feel supported and protected goes a long way. Be ready to be flexible, as no solution works for everyone. Work with everyone’s needs and situation. Something that has helped us greatly is working closely with our sponsor organization’s inclusion department to ensure that everything we do is inclusive for members, prospective members, employees and volunteers alike. It works wonderfully.