by: Stephanie Lutz, Management Analyst, CRI Solutions
It is no secret that happy employees and high employee morale contribute to better member service levels. There have been several studies conducted on the correlation between a company’s customer service and their employees’ satisfaction and they have all found the same thing: Happy customers are fostered by happy workers.
Although take-away from this fact seems simple, make the staff happy, the answer to the question of “How?” can be more elusive. After all, in an economy that is still in recovery mode and with credit union finances stretched thin, developing an employee satisfaction program, or adding on to an existing one, can seem like a luxury most credit unions can’t afford. The good news is there are several effective ways to boost morale that won’t cost your credit union a dime.
Here are three to help get you started:
- Communicate Goals and Celebrate Success – Most credit unions already do this on some level, setting goals once a year. Sometimes they may even be communicated to employees at an annual meeting, or tracked at quarterly meetings. However, just telling employees what their goals are isn’t enough. It is equally important to truly celebrate success when a goal is reached and there are some great ways to do this without increasing the budget. Try a jeans or casual day as a reward when a branch hits their goals. Also, try to set short-term, attainable goals so that employees do not lose site of the finish line. Annual goals are necessary, but it is easy for them to get lost in the shuffle.
- Acknowledge Exceptional Employees - It might seem obvious that recognizing employees who do a great job is a good idea and helps keep them happy, but it is easy for this simple idea to slip through the cracks in a busy credit union. A simple “thank you” note or email from a branch manager can go a long way, but one from the credit union CEO or a VP would mean even more and doesn’t cost the credit union anything. Have your branch managers keep a record of employees who demonstrate exceptional member service. Better yet, set up a Service Star program that allows credit union employees to refer their peers, since they often see interactions that managers don’t. Recognize the Stars at regular employee meetings or through a “Star Search” email that is sent to the entire office each month. Make sure the employee knows what they did, specifically, to achieve recognition. Did they help to calm down an upset member? Show an exceptional level of patience? Think outside of the box to solve a member concern? Let them know! That way they are more likely to repeat the behavior in the future.
- Take Advantage of Vendor Incentives and Contests – Although staff and individual recognition are important and effective ways to help employees feel happy and valued in your credit union, sometimes an incentive program or contest can be just what the doctor ordered. Of course, incentive programs and contests can get expensive and have found themselves on the chopping block at many credit unions. To keep these types of programs without decreasing the credit union’s bottom line, you need to get creative. Try approaching some of the credit union’s financial product vendors to see if they would be willing to provide a prize for a contest, or an ongoing incentive for selling products. Some vendors might even already have such programs in place.
CRI Solutions runs an annual contest for several of its accounts for the sale of financial service products. At the end of the contest period, winners from each credit union are invited to attend a Celebration of Excellence event along with management representatives from the credit union. (To see pictures from this year’s event go to www.crisolutions.net/2012cruise.) Taking advantage of programs like this not only helps to keep your employees engaged and focused on helping members, it rewards your staff with no hard dollar cost to the credit union.
Stephanie Lutz is a Management Analyst with CRI Solutions in Elkridge, MD. CRI Solutions exclusively serves credit unions by integrating insurance and financial products with the company’s best-of-breed technology platforms, resulting in market leading custom lending and workflow solutions. To learn more about the variety of training programs offered by CRI Solutions, visit our website at www.crisolutions.net.