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Kearley Research: Credit Union’s Communication of Their Purpose

Installment #2: What types of communication lead to greater adoption of the credit union’s Purpose by credit union employees?

A Kearley team member conduced research examining how credit unions communicate their Purpose internally and the impact of that communication on employee perceptions, adoption, and actioning of that Purpose – also known as the Credit Union Difference of People Helping PeopleClick here for background and Installment #1. 


Employees were asked to identify communication channels where purpose was communicated. These questions were then correlated with the respondent’s degree of purpose adoption.

Controlled communication channels led to greater purpose adoption. However, of those credit union employees surveyed, few were using their website to communicate their purpose with members.


Respondent’s Reported Frequency of Use of Various Communication Channels 

There was a statistically significant, positive correlation between controlled communication and awareness (r = .30; p = .002), understanding (r  = .314; p = .001), adoption (r = .294; p = .002), advocacy (r = .357; p = <.001), and innovation (r  = .379; p = <.001). For uncontrolled communication channels, there was a low, positive correlation with advocacy (r = .248; p = .011) and innovation (r = .26; p = .008). Controlled communication channels correlated more positively with all purpose-related variables unlike uncontrolled communication channels, which only correlated with two purpose variables.


Controlled communication channels are vitally important to laying a foundation for awareness, understanding, and adoption of the Credit Union Purpose. Senior leadership should work with Marketing / Communications, HR, and Facilities teams to ensure purpose is being communicated and is communicated effectively. First and foremost, ensure the credit union’s purpose is included in any/all internal communication including:

  • Training materials
  • Email signatures
  • Employee evaluation documents
  • Employee break room / back office signage. 

Next, find ways to include the credit union’s purpose in member-facing communication including:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Marketing materials
  • Annual report
  • Community event materials/t-shirts/giveaways

Then, be sure you equip employees with ways to articulate the credit union’s purpose to members. These could: 

  • Tangible talking tools
  • Senior leadership should reinforce in employee communication as well as in meetings.
  • CEO and Senior leadership should model advocacy behaviors for their teams.

Elisa Rode, President and CEO of Kearley & Company, just completed her MS Degree from TCU in Strategic Communication. Her thesis focused on credit union employees and Purpose. Installments from her 56-page thesis will be distilled and posted here for any and all to share. This spring, you will be able to download the entire document from the library at Texas Christian University. GO FROGS.

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