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Is Your Credit Union in Danger?
Friday, November 4, 2016 6:35 AM

Kimberly Jones, AVP, HR Consulting, Credit Union Resources

One of your credit union’s ultimate goals is to find and keep amazing people. We often look for employees we consider dedicated, loyal, intelligent, trustworthy, and trainable, just to name a few attributes. Typically, most or all of these characteristics can be found in a company’s “star” employees.

But what happens when those stars begin to flicker and grow dimmer? They may even appear to lose their drive to perform above and beyond what you’ve come to expect from them. How do you identify when this is happening, and what can you do about it?

Listed below are seven signs that your employees may be in danger of losing their motivation in the workplace:

  1. You begin to notice changes in punctuality and reliability. They may be taking extended lunches, arriving late, or needing to leave early more often or abruptly. Not paying close attention to their work could also be indicative of an unhappy and disengaged staff.
  2. You begin to see an increase in absenteeism, sick days, or maybe even medical leaves of absence. All of these could be signs that your employees are struggling with negative work-related circumstances beyond their control.
  3. You may notice that your employees complain more about dissatisfaction with fellow co-workers, their own performance, perceived favoritism toward others, or how fairly company policies are implemented.
  4. An increase in member complaints may also be a sign that employees are disengaged. Employees who are unhappy with their work may express their discontent through their relationships with members. When employees no longer care, they will not be willing to fulfill or exceed member service expectations.
  5. Your top performers may begin resigning unexpectedly. Even if their own performance has not been impacted, they may not want to be a part of a declining or overall negative work ethic, increasing negative attitudes, and diminishing productivity.
  6. No one is having fun anymore. If, at times, your workplace feels tense and uptight, it may be because people are feeling disconnected from their work and the people with whom they work.
  7. Silence is prominent in your organization. You will likely sense some disconnectedness and uneasiness when co-workers do not ask questions of each other, offer their opinions, or freely exchange ideas. Something may be wrong when employees are unwilling to express ideas or commit themselves to taking risks and accepting new challenges.

Now that we’ve identified some of the danger signs, below are six action steps your credit union can take to regain employee motivation and engagement:

  1. These days, so much interaction with employees is handled electronically, you can easily miss when your employees are dissatisfied. Make sure that you personally reach out to your employees on a regular basis.
  2. Be sure to continually stress and confirm the value your employees bring to the organization. Most employees, especially millennials, need and want to be praised and recognized for the work they do.
  3. Be careful to channel your stress and frustrations to a safe place, so you don't become toxic to those you need to rely on. Don’t allow your negative behavior and attitudes to be the source of some of the distrust and unease in your organization.
  4. Reinforce and champion the vision and goals of your organization. People really like to feel part of something bigger than they are.
  5. Get buy-in from your employees before implementing new policies and procedures. Employees can really resent what they see as arbitrary changes, especially if they're not given the chance to offer recommendations and suggestions before these changes are announced.
  6. Don't micro-manage your employees. Let them know you're available, and give guidance if needed. However, give them the authority and freedom they need to perform their tasks to the best of their ability. If they make a mistake, treat it as a trainable moment. Turn a negative into a positive.

Finding, creating, and maintaining success in your credit union hinges on having the right people in place to help you accomplish your goals. Therefore, your most important goal is to ensure that your employees are put in the best possible position to be successful; and by ensuring you have a work environment that motivates, engages, and recognizes employees, you are more likely to avoid the danger zone in the workplace.