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    Celero Spotlight: Digital Transformation Interview with Don Shumlich, CEO of Weyburn Credit Union

    July 14, 2021

    Welcome back to Celero Spotlight! In our second episode of season two, Deborah Moore, Celero’s Director of Digital Transformation, sits down with Don Shumlich, CEO at Weyburn Credit Union.

    They walk through Weyburn's digital transformation journey and talk about Don's executive perspective, chatting about how the process has shaped employee engagement and what advice Don has for other CEO's thinking about digital transformation.

     

    Deborah Moore

    Hi, I'm Deborah Moore, Director of Digital Transformation at Celero. Welcome back to season two of Celero Spotlight.

     

    In today’s episode, we’ll be continuing our multi-part series with Weyburn Credit Union’s leaders to discuss their digital transformation journey.

     

    So today we have Don Shumlich with us. He's the CEO of Weyburn Credit Union. Welcome Don, and thanks for joining me today.

     

    Don Shumlich 

    Yeah, thanks, glad to be here.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    Thank you, I'd like to ask you a few questions about Weyburn’s digital transformation journey. 

    I know over the past few years, Weyburn has been focused on embracing new technologies, and last year you decided to accelerate your digital path.

     

    So, I've got a few questions, so the first one is what triggered Weyburn to embark on this digital transformation initiative last year. Especially during COVID, I mean that must have been a challenge.

     

    Don Shumlich 

    So how it started is really going back to member expectations. As we were seeing member expectations are increasing, you know, where they bank and how they bank. The other big driver really was technology.

     

    We wanted to have a better path for where we wanted to go in digital transformation, so we wanted a process that would clarify where we're going to spend our money and where we're not going to spend our money.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    And what key outcomes will your digital transformation initiative deliver for you at Weyburn?

     

    Don Shumlich 

    I guess the biggest key outcome is really improved member service, and what we want to do is really look at the processes, and we want to really streamline our front-end service and back-end service.

     

    So, what we're having our staff do and spending the time on is those different areas that add value to our members. And so in the end that'll help us stay more relevant and viable.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    Some organizations struggle with where to start. How did Weyburn decide where to focus first?

     

    Don Shumlich 

    Ah, that's a good question. It, you know, it's a tough one, but it's something where you have to start somewhere.

     

    And really, we just got into it. We knew our markets are changing, member expectations are changing, so it's just to get at it. We knew we had lots to learn about, you know, the process and where we're going to go. But the big thing is it clarified our direction.

     

    We started somewhere and now we have clear direction where we want to end up, so and that's helping us take those steps to get to that end goal.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    And what benefits have you realized so far?

     

    Don Shumlich  

    I guess the biggest benefit is just helping us define where we want to go and how do we stay relevant. 

    So, we have a clear direction, you know, a clear road map of where we want to end up. That's helping us just to design the right process, so we meet our member needs well into the future.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    Were there any surprises along the way?

     

    Don Shumlich 

    I think the biggest surprise was how much staff were empowered and they felt they were empowered. A lot of times we were running processes driven by top-down executive management deciding, but with digital transformation it was getting staff involved in where's the areas for improvement, and they helped develop where we have to improve.

     

    And that had a lot of impact in getting these changes made because they're part of the discussions and they just ran with it when we went to implement it. So that was the great part of it.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    How is this approach to digital transformation helped upskill your talent or retool Weyburn?

     

    Don Shumlich 

    Oh it has, and this is something that we weren't expecting. It's added a lot more value than, you know, since the start of the project.

     

    But really, the change management process. It helped tweak our change management process and gave us a better process to go through. And it's really helped staff understand change, and where we're going with change, and the why behind the change.

     

    The other aspect of it is really just empowering our employees. They were involved in the process and helping design their improvements, which made a big deal because when we went to implement where we needed to change, they already had the knowledge of what we want to do, because they helped with input and they were excited to go with the change.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    So, it really sounds to me like, in order for digital transformation to really take hold and to be successful, that you really need to be engaging all levels of your organization and the employees in that process.

     

    Is that what you're saying?

     

    Don Shumlich   

    Yes, digital transformation is just helping us bring everybody together, and everybody has a role to play in us being successful and doing what's best for our members. And that's the exciting part about digital transformation.

     

    Because it's bringing the team together and they all know what they have to do for us to be successful in the future.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    So you’ve embarked on your digital transformation initiative, and you see this as a key driver of improving the experience for your members.

     

    How has the digital transformation initiative created a more member-centric view of your organization, or what have you seen that's been different about how you manage the experience for members, as opposed to what you were doing in the past?

     

    Don Shumlich 

    So, the start of the process is really, you spend a lot of time understanding your members, so member research was completed, and that provided a lot of information on what our members were looking for.

     

    And the next great thing about that — you analyze what the competitors are doing and spend time on deciding where you want to end up or your vision for digital transformation — and that was very helpful. And just designing a process that we know is going to end up helping our members in the end, because we know what they want, and we know what we have to do to meet their needs.

     

    So, it really just helps solidify a solid road map to go down to ensure we remain a viable credit union.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    Right, so it sounds like that research and understanding that experience has Weyburn focusing on looking at the experience across all the touch points.

     

    So, it sounds like you're really focused on an omni-channel experience. Is that what one of the key outcomes have been? 

     

    Don Shumlich 

    Yes. And that's really our focus is to have an omni-channel, so we know what that looks like, and it's really helped define that. And really just gave us the steps that we have to take to achieve that omni- channel. So just really a lot of clarification from us.

     

    The big thing is, so the whole team understands what that looks like and where we want to end up. So, defining it just was immense benefit for us.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    So, over the last year you've learned a lot as an organization I imagine, as you've gone through digital transformation.

     

    What advice do you have for other CEO's as they plan out their organization’s digital transformation?

     

    Don Shumlich 

    Well, my advice to other CEO's is just to get started.

     

    We were always really good on the personal in-branch service, but this is really going to increase, what you can do, your capabilities in-branch and out of branch, and that's really the big benefit of it all. So, if you want to improve that service, or the member service, start somewhere.

     

    We're learning to approach solving problems from more of a member perspective based on research and what the members want, instead of intuition or what we think.

     

    So, we've really changed the focus and it's more member centric. From being more member-centric, that has led us to develop better skills in the change management process. We have a better process for that, and also having our staff more engaged in the process.

     

    They're learning how change or how we are going to evolve, and they have a say in that, and that has led to a lot of benefits just with buy-in and getting staff excited about what's happening. 

    Finding solutions to member problems has changed, and we’re happy with what we were able to accomplish in this amount of time.

     

    Deborah Moore 

    Thank you so much, Don, for being with us today. Really appreciate your learnings and sharing what Weyburn has learned through this process. Thank you so much.

     

    Join us for our next episode of Celero Spotlight, where I chat with Brooke Charlton, Manager of Retail Support at Weyburn Credit Union, to discuss their perspective on digital transformation. 

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