Community Service

Polish CUs Succeed Through Collaboration

A single visual brand unites all of the nation's CUs.

January 01, 2012
KEYWORDS credit , gdansk , unions , woccu
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Poland’s credit unions—re-established shortly after the Solidarity movement freed the country from Communist rule in 1989—now constitute one of the world’s fastest growing and most successful credit union systems.

Served by the National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions (NACSCU), a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) member, the system currently numbers 59 credit unions of all sizes, from small institutions like US$40 million asset SKOK Wybrzeże to the mammoth US$1.9 billion SKOK Stefczyka, Poland’s largest credit union with more than 370 branches.

With aggregate assets of US$4.75 billion, Poland’s credit unions serve 2.2 million members through 1,870 branches, and the system continues to grow.

What makes Poland’s system successful is the high degree of collaboration among institutions. A single visual brand under the acronym SKOK, short for spółdzielcze kasy
oszczędnościowo-kredytowe (credit union), unites all institutions, each of which retains its own personality in serving various affinity groups.

NACSCU provides back-office and financial services from which all credit unions draw, allowing them to concentrate on serving members.

In July 2012, WOCCU will help NACSCU celebrate its 20th anniversary by holding is annual World Credit Union Conference in Gdansk, birthplace of Solidarity and site of the rebirth of Poland’s credit unions. For more information, visit www.letsgdansk2012.org.

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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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