You know the tune: “Money, money, money, money. Money.” The one by the O’Jays (For the Love of Money). We often think that when it comes to motivating or keeping our employees engaged it’s all about the money. Turns out that may not be the case.

According to a podcast from Donald Miller, he noted a recent survey that indicated “90% of employees prefer culture over compensation.” He emphasized, “Studies show that employees who fit well with their organization are likely to stay and show superior job performance.”

Think about that for a minute. While what you pay someone is certainly a factor in their performance, loving what they do and whom they do it for is actually more important. In other words, culture trumps compensation.

As Miller said in the podcast, “If you create a company culture of service, you’ll attract and retain amazing employees who will share your brand’s mission and dedicate themselves to brining customers back to you consistently.”

So what does that mean for credit unions and banks? Here are three things you have to “get” when it comes to your culture:

  • Get the correct culture—What is your financial institution’s culture? Is it service focused or all about the bottom-line? Is it community-driven or numbers driven? Is it a truly extraordinary experience or is it or more about transactions? Is it employee focused or all about the executives? One thing is for certain: you do have a culture at your credit union or bank. The key to success, however, is having the right culture in place. Branding touches everything, especially your culture. If you haven’t spent time analyzing what it’s like to work for your organization and what it’s like to do business with your organization, then you should absolutely do a deep dive into creating the culture you desire. Culture doesn’t just trump comp, it trumps everything.
  • Get the correct people—As Jim Collins famously said in Good to Great, “you have to get right people on the bus and get the right people in the right seats on the bus.” While success begins with creating the right culture it continues with having the right people implement that culture. That means hiring more for culture than for skill. The reality is you can teach an employee how to read a credit report, how to make collection calls or how to balance a teller drawer. It’s much more important that they approach those tasks with the right attitude. With the right brand culture in place. For example, if your culture is all about experiential service then an interview question you can ask is “Tell me about a time when you gave extraordinary service on your last job?” Culture doesn’t just trump comp, it trumps people.
  • Get the correct accountability—Once you have the right culture and people in place you can’t stop there. You have to review that culture and those people on a regular basis. And you have to have the guts to fire people for a lack of a culture match. Yes, I said that: you have to let people go because they don’t fit your culture. We tend to carry people longer their mothers carried them in their wombs. We’d rather keep an average performing employee who isn’t a culture fit than go through the pain of being short-staffed for a period of time while waiting to hiring a better culture fit. While we may fire someone for being out of balance or stealing, when was the last time you fired an employee because they were not living your culture or brand? If they are not living your culture, then they are stealing: they are stealing from your brand. Culture doesn’t just trump comp, it trumps accountability.

If you want bottom line success at your credit union or bank, those positive financial results start with your culture.