Making Safety A Priority In Oklahomaby Nina Penson
Safety has become a key part of the member and employee experience at True Sky Credit Union of Oklahoma
Across the nation, credit unions and banks are playing a critical role in the financial health of individuals and businesses. From processing PPP to developing credit relief programs, financial leaders are stepping up and busier than ever. After shifting operations to support drive-thru only service, teams working remote, and countless other changes, leaders are faced with determining what they can do to open offices and branch lobbies safely and keep them open, without having a precedent to follow.
At La Macchia Group we’ve been engaged in many roundtable and open discussions on this issue, hearing first-hand the challenges our financial leaders face. For some, this decision has been somewhat overwhelming, and they haven’t yet figured out what to do. For many others, they’ve been able to take small steps to secure PPE, cleaning supplies, and in many cases install acrylic partitions and floor markings. For True Sky Credit Union; however, they’ve chosen to go a step beyond what you’ll find in your neighborhood grocery store and incorporate safety more permanently into their member experience. Absent of a formula or consistent mandates to follow, their experiences may offer some solace to others wondering how to approach their facilities.
The True Sky Approach
“There’s an opportunity to create an environment where the community as a whole feels safe,” says Sean Cahill, President & CEO of True Sky Credit Union. “The solutions that La Macchia brought to us were things we hadn’t even thought of yet.”
True Sky chose to install UV cleaning systems, infrared thermal temperature scanners, and surface-adhered nano-technology solutions for high-touch areas of their facilities. Deployed across their entire network of 9 branches, the investment wasn’t negligible, but according to Sean, “From a safety perspective, it’s not expensive. There is definitely a return on this investment that we’re making.” He went on to say, “With La Macchia, we started talking through how we could provide a different experience than anybody else. How we could demonstrate our commitment to our members, not just for their financial health, but for their physical health. And create an environment where employees feel good….they don’t want to be in an environment that may compromise their own health.”
“When working with clients like Sean, we make sure to talk through what they want to accomplish, both near-term and long-term. We’re addressing options for distancing and personal sanitation of course, but beyond that, we’re discussing risk & traffic management, surface and space sanitization, air quality management, communications, and operational modifications,” says Tim Klatt, Director of Retail Strategies for La Macchia Group. “We’re looking at how to combine analog solutions with technology-based solutions that are more adaptable over time. In the end, layering different solutions together provides the best protection. That final combination may vary customer by customer or even branch by branch.”
Choosing to Lead
When asked why he chose the additional solutions he did, Sean explained, “We can wipe down every surface after every transaction, but there’s always something that may be missed. So these extra systems will help with self-cleaning – the UV and nano-technology options – also the infrared technology will help us understand BEFORE someone gets into the branch whether they have a temperature.”
Having taken a strategic, leading stance on how to address their physical environments, we asked Sean what advice he would provide to other leaders trying to determine what to do. With his first suggestion, he encouraged other leaders to consider the long-term benefits of whatever plan they put in place. “It’s about a thoughtful, methodical plan to be able to provide safety for members. Don’t look at them as temporary, whether it’s flu season, or colds and allergies, there are benefits of doing these things. Hygiene, in general, is changing in a very positive way.”
For those who haven't yet re-opened their lobbies, he advised, “There is tremendous pressure being put on them to re-open doors as quickly as possible. I would just say resist that pressure, make sure that you’re comfortable and doing it on your timeline rather than someone else’s because, at the end of the day, we’re responsible for our employees’ and members’ well-being.” For those that have opened, or may not have had to close, he also suggests making sure employees and members are comfortable with the plan, not simply being open or reverting to business-as-usual because others are.
La Macchia Group would like to thank Sean and the True Sky Credit Union team for their commitment to member safety and for their solid partnership over several years. In addition to supporting the True Sky team through COVID-19, we are excited to be building 2 new facilities for them in the Oklahoma City metro area.