Middle Managers Key to Engaging Disengaged Employees

two women working at a computer
Mike Neill, CSE Photo
ServiStar Consulting

2 minutes

They’ll teach your staff how to love your credit union and build your brand with members.

Companies with powerful brand identities excel in two significant ways: They connect with their target markets on an emotional level and they deliver predictable, consistent experiences. Think Chik-fil-A, Starbucks or Apple. Their interactions with customers go beyond the typical exchange of cash for goods to create raving fans who are loyal, repeat buyers.

This doesn’t happen by accident. Companies don’t get there through technology (not even Apple) or by having the best product. Starbucks coffee is not that awesome and you can get a serviceable chicken sandwich at many fast food restaurants. The key is having service-oriented employees who believe in the company’s mission, are well trained and are working in an environment that allows them to be engaged.

So why are these companies the exception rather than the rule? Nationally, engagement numbers are horrible. According to a Gallup poll, in 2015 only 32 percent of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs. Over half (50.8 percent) of employees were “not engaged,” while another 17.2 percent were “actively disengaged.” For the sake of argument, let’s be generous and say credit unions are unlike any other industry and our culture fosters employee engagement twice as well as any other. That still means over a third of our employees, including those delivering front-line member service, are disengaged or actively disengaged!

Fortunately, there’s a natural starting place to remedy the situation: middle management. Research shows the most significant factor in credit union employee engagement is an employee’s relationship with his/her direct supervisor and the supervisor’s ability to teach and model the organization’s values. Investing in developing the skills and overall management competency is a clear pathway toward building employee engagement, the cornerstone of a powerful branded experience for your members.

Mike Neill, president and founder, Michael Neill & Associates, Inc., Atlanta, is perhaps best known as the creator of ServiStar, the most respected sales and service culture development suite of services within the credit union industry.

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