When COVID-19 hit, many Vancity employees saw their workload skyrocket, said Tony Xu, Research Consultant for the Canadian credit union.

The global pandemic affected not only Vancity employees — many of whom were suddenly working from home while simultaneously caring for children and elderly parents — but thousands of the Vancouver-based credit union’s members were hit financially. With more than 540,000 member-owners, 60 branches, and $28 billion in assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union.

“We focus on improving the financial well-being of our members and developing healthy communities that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable,” Xu said.

But the pandemic had rapidly disrupted that healthy community, so Vancity got to work figuring out what actions the company could take to help those affected. They turned to Qualtrics software when they realized they would need to take action as quickly as possible.
 

Helping members defer their loans

Vancity wanted to find a way to help members who were heavily impacted financially by the virus and knew many would need to defer their loans. Normally, the company would create a form on its website, but this situation was different, Xu explained. They needed something much faster.

“My colleagues at Vancity know that I use Qualtrics, and they know I can turn around things pretty quickly on it. It’s a very easy-to-use platform,” Xu said. “The great thing about Qualtrics is that, not only could you put together a generic form like you could in something like Google Forms or other software, but you can build email triggers to direct the form information to the right people in real-time and in an automated process.”

After Xu set up the triggers, the forms were automatically directed to those in the company who needed the information to take action. Roughly 3,500 Vancity members were able to use the system to defer their loans.

A market research firm that works with Vancity conducted a study on how brands have handled the pandemic and found that a large portion of those familiar with the credit union provided excellent feedback on Vancity’s response to the crisis.

“(But) I don’t think we even really needed that to validate people would be happy they could defer their loan payments.”
 

Helping employees juggle new responsibilities at home

The pandemic sent office workers home, forcing many to grow accustomed to new co-workers, including children who needed to be homeschooled and elderly parents who required extra care.

Vancity needed to identify issues that might impact employees’ attendance at work and turned to Qualtrics’ XM Directory to quickly ask people managers where they were finding gaps. Now, all 320 managers are able to report back each day with the needs and special circumstances of their direct reports and how they are accommodating those needs.

“A lot of it was handled on a case-by-case basis,” Xu said. “A manager realizes their employee has a child to take care of, and maybe the employee wants reduced hours. So they work on changing the schedule for the employee.”

While some were able to adjust easily to remote work, Qualtrics helped Vancity determine which of their employees were in more complicated situations and adapt accordingly, Xu added.
 

Listening and acting on employee feedback

And it appears Vancity employees are grateful for that flexibility. The credit union recently asked staff to rate how they felt about working at Vancity, how well the company has responded to the crisis, how well management has kept them in the loop with communications, whether they have access to the tools they need to do their jobs, and provided them an opportunity to give general feedback.

Two out of every three employees at the company replied, “and results show employees overall are very happy with how we’ve responded to this crisis, both internally and for our membership,” Xu said, adding that he’s excited to start parsing the data further, especially by department.

Staff working with members at one of the credit union’s branches may have a separate set of challenges than those working in the head office, he explained. The data from Qualtrics will help Vancity address those diverse needs.

“We’ve really enjoyed using Qualtrics as a tool for guiding decisions using data,” Xu added.

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