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They say many hands make light work, but I tend to disagree. Sure, when lugging groceries from the trunk to the kitchen, an extra set of hands is appreciated. But otherwise, the inverse relationship between number-of-hands and size-of-workload seems somewhat moot in this digital age. It implies that without an abundance of hands, we’re obliged to operate all-hands-on-deck.

To be fair, I acknowledge that for some organizations – including credit unions – the current labor shortage requires an all-hands-on-deck continuity plan. According to Rivel’s Benchmark Report (August 2021), four out of five leaders of U.S. financial institutions are concerned about staffing shortages. To cope, some executives are turning to human-resource-based solutions. One credit union closes its branch for 45 minutes each afternoon to give its tellers a daily lunch break. Some credit union leaders are delaying their retirements, and even asking those who have already retired to return to the branch to ease the burden on current staff. Now more than ever, it’s clear that credit union leadership must find ways to protect and support their already-overtaxed staff – but I’d argue the long-term solution is not found in bolstering the size of one’s workforce, but in finding innovative ways to do more with fewer people.

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