Serving Those Who Serve

CUs face many challenges as they serve members deployed around the world.

August 10, 2011
KEYWORDS family , services , troops
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Reconnecting with the core

Credit unions that serve the military typically also include a variety of SEG groups. This strategy counters declining military populations in some locations. But that doesn’t mean these credit unions forget their military origins.

Less than 10% of members at $1.1 billion asset North Island Credit Union, San Diego, are currently linked to the Navy. Even so, North Island was a sponsor of the Centennial of Naval Aviation events, including issuing a “challenge coin” celebrating the 100th anniversary of Navy aviation on one side and the credit union’s 70th anniversary on the other.

President/CEO John Tippets says
North Island participates in events that matter to its military membership as a way to “reconnect with the core”—the credit union’s most loyal members.

Employees at Texas-based, $4.3 billion asset Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU), are involved in Operation Home Front, which provides emergency assistance to families of service members and wounded warriors.

About one-third of RBFCU’s members are directly tied to the military. RBFCU was among the handful of financial institutions in its region to create a plan to provisionally cover members’ usual direct deposits when the federal budget debate created the potential for a government shutdown. “While people were struggling with the rising costs of gas and food, we didn’t want concerns over whether they’d receive their next paycheck or be able
to provide for their families to weigh on their minds,” says Sonya McDonald, senior vice president of market development.

Next: Maintaining Relationships

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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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