Article

A Satisfied Staff

employees with thumbs up
President
People Perspectives LLC

4 minutes

In our continuing series highlighting the People Perspectives Distinguished Credit Unions of the Year—our credit union clients with the highest satisfaction and engagement averages—we now focus on $4.42 billion/267,583-member Ent Credit Union, with 681 employees in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Of all of our credit union clients that conducted employee engagement and satisfaction surveys with People Perspectives in 2015, Ent CU had one of the highest overall averages for both employee satisfaction and engagement. Ent CU had especially high averages on supervisory satisfaction and on salary and benefits satisfaction, so let’s take a look at some of the reasons behind these impressive ratings.

Supervisory Satisfaction

For Ent CU, the elevated supervisory satisfaction averages start at the top. On the 2015 engagement and satisfaction survey, respondents gave high marks to how well-managed Ent CU is.

At Ent CU, the senior managers make themselves visible to staff and strive to keep everyone informed. One way in which they do this is through regular operational visits to the service centers.

The workforce at Ent CU seems to appreciate the “open door policy” for all of the senior managers, in addition to the emphasis that they place on ensuring that all of the Ent CU facilities are well-maintained. 

The CU also benefits from having a stable senior management team with a track record of organizational success.

For Ent CU, stability breeds success. Feedback mechanisms like the annual employee engagement and satisfaction survey demonstrate management’s desire to hear employee concerns and respond accordingly.

I can attest to this personally. While visiting the credit union’s human resources team a couple of years ago, I was able to meet the senior management team together, as they happened to be in a meeting poring over the results of their most recent employee survey to glean information to make the organization even more effective. 

According to my Ent CU host, this was a process that would extend over several meetings.

Employees’ responses were treated with respect. The senior management group takes information from the employee engagement and satisfaction survey very seriously.

Talent Development

Ent CU also prides itself on its ongoing effort to promote from within and, as such, is able to retain employee talent. Promoted employees know not only the technical and leadership roles they came from but also the culture of the organization.

Because of the credit union’s open leadership communication style, employees are aware of Ent CU’s longer-term strategic goals as well as its mission and core values. From a professional development standpoint, Ent CU employees who desire to be supervisors are encouraged to participate in a five-week supervisory skills program, developed by the CU.

In addition, managers throughout the organization are selected to participate in an ongoing leadership development program, provided in-house through Ent CU’s training and development department. The CU also works closely with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in developing an extension of what it is providing internally with leadership development opportunities. 

As a side note, Ent CU strives to promote internal candidates whenever possible as part of the credit union’s desire to provide growth and opportunity for employees. The CU encourages internal movement within the organization—not only in the form of promotions but also through horizontal movement for those employees looking for new challenges and a broader understanding of the business.

Salary & Benefits Satisfaction

Ent CU annually performs a salary and benefit analysis through a few external resources, including Mountain States Employer Council and the Hay Job Evaluation System, and makes adjustments as needed.

Moreover, the credit union strives to ensure that its employees are aware of their benefits and helps raise awareness of benefits annually through meetings for all employees as well as a comprehensive benefit guide. HR’s Benefits and Recruiting Manager Sara Holland has comprehensive knowledge in this area and is readily available to answer any staff questions that may arise.

In addition, all employees receive an annual benefit statement reflecting the value of their individual benefit selections.      

The credit union also understands the value of employee health and wellness and demonstrates that importance to its employees through a variety of formal programs.

For example, Ent CU provides a formal wellness program, which includes wellness challenges, “lunch and learn” seminars, regular exercise opportunities and ergonomic breaks. With the ergonomic breaks, employees are encouraged to stretch in an ergonomic manner for five to 10 minutes twice a day, either as a department or as an individual. 

Employees are also encouraged to walk during their breaks, and many department managers have walking meetings rather than sit-down meetings. Ergonomic initiatives are even listed in the employee handbook and have a dedicated segment on the Ent CU internal website, complete with videos of appropriate stretching.

Results

Ent CU has been able to demonstrate the impact that employee engagement and satisfaction can have on the workplace. For example, in 2015 Ent CU’s membership grew by 7.81 percent and assets grew by 7.83 percent. Moreover, employee turnover remains consistently low throughout the credit union.

Kerry Liberman is president of People Perspectives, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in conducting employee engagement and satisfaction surveys for credit unions. She can be reached at kliberman@peopleperspectives.com or 206.451.4218. You can follow People Perspectives on Facebook at www.facebook.com/peopleperspectives.

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