Friday, February 23, 2024

SECU - Consider This: Chapter 22 - Tax Prep, The Missing Piece ... too busy to help?

Mentioned in Chapter 21 [link] that discussing the We Board's peremptory decision to eliminate tax prep services would be like touching the "third rail". So, the overall response did not come as a shock.

Had hoped that broadening the understanding of what was at stake with the tax prep service - millions of dollars in savings for members, the individual and community economic boost from foregone tax credits, heightened employee training and pay, the reputational value of SECU being recognized nationwide as something other than a "Kleenex bank" [see Chapter 3] - might open some minds. Not sure it did.

We know for sure that the 100,000+ members thrown under the bus by the decision haven't changed their minds and the We Board remains imperious and aloof. We might want to focus therefore on talking a little more with those put most at risk by the decision - SECU employees, particularly those in the branches. 

Received one comment which was extremely thoughtful from a long-time employee, who said she had been an area tax prep supervisor/coordinator, a top preparer, liked "doing taxes", but agreed with the decision to end the tax prep service! She then offered a calm, thorough, detailed critique of the program problems -  which included multiple entry, processing, and review levels; inadequate training, lack of dedicated resources and senior management support; and an inappropriate expansion of the program beyond the "simple 1040 only" mission/scope. The problem analysis was a tour-de-force, excellent! The problems were succinctly and intelligently described!

But you know what was missing?  The missing piece?  The problem definitions were exceptional; but, no solutions were offered? Although the tax program problems as outlined - better system design, automated workflow,  more preparers, better training - are easily addressed; senior management was evidently out-to-lunch and the We Board uninquiringly clueless. Can't much blame the SECU employees on the front line and in the trenches; they can tell you precisely what is not working well at SECU, but if management ("lack of senior management support") and "the We" aren't listening....  why bother?

"They" weren't listening and so the solution offered to 100,000+ SECU members by their Credit Union was the chance to inspect the underside of a Greyhound... 

But why do you say SECU employees - particularly in the branches - are at risk with the decision? Thanks for asking; lets talk about that tomorrow. Here's your test question:

✅ "If your job, your career, your future at SECU (let alone the mortgage, car payment, childcare, and that long hoped for cruise!) depended on you solving those tax prep operational difficulties in the next 90 days, could you do it?"

  ... we'll talk tomorrow. But if your answer is "No"... better go on and get your resume together!