Community Service

Smith Accepts CU Hero Award

Local Government FCU CEO calls the moment ‘bittersweet.’

June 20, 2011
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CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney presented Credit Union Magazine’s 2011 Credit Union Hero of the Year Award to Maurice Smith, president/CEO of Local Government Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, N.C.

Smith joined the credit union in 1992 and has been president since 1999. During that time membership has grown from 63,000 members to more than 200,000, and assets have increased from $217 million to $1.1 billion.

During the economic downturn, Local Government Federal union developed innovative programs to help members through tough times, including an unemployment protection program, a subprime direct mailing effort, and mortgage modifications.

Smith called the award “bittersweet.”

“I had hoped, even though it was statistically unlikely, that there would be a four-way tie. I don’t feel any more deserving [than the others]. Each and every one of you have a story about what you’re doing for members. This gives us an opportunity to tell our stories.”

Click here to read Smith’s story.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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