WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If as Mark Twain says, "doing what you love means you'll never work another day in your life" then there are a lot of people just "working" across the United States today. A recent Conference Board study finds that overall job satisfaction is on the decline among workers of all ages and across all income brackets. In fact the largest decline in overall job satisfaction-from 60.9% in 1995 to 47.4% today- occurs among people age 35-44. According to the report people in this age bracket were once the happiest group in the American workforce. In addition, older workers, age 55-64 also expressed a low level of satisfaction with only 48% reporting being satisfied. The New York-based Conference Board, a non-profit organization that focuses on human resources/management research and trends, says that workers reported being least satisfied with bonus plans, promotion policies and educational training programs. With employee retention a priority at credit unions many are focusing their efforts and dollars on keeping employees happy and feeling valued. At Pasadena, California-based Wescom Credit Union education is the key to employee satisfaction. "To us the success of an organization is measured through its people and the achievement of business goals," said Wescom CU Employee Relations Director Pat Bailey. "In order for us to achieve our business targets we need the right people and talent to stay with us so employee recognition is a high priority here." To that end, employees complete a Climate Survey to measure how the senior staff is doing and then employees and senior staff work together to come up with solutions. That is how Wescom University and the employee relations team came about. "When we first started doing the Climate Survey six years ago employees felt they were being `tossed' into positions and basically had to `sink or swim'," said Bailey. "So we created Wescom University to enhance the training and development process. We teach more than just teller and loan programs but also added courses to reach a broader slice of the organization from management and career development training to time management. And now we have gotten such good reviews for our university that it is one of the main benefits that attract people to Wescom and keeps them here." According to Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union Marketing Vice President Nan Greenwood, in addition to employee recognition programs the best employee morale boost at the Kingston, New York-based credit union comes from the teamwork and commitment in organizing community events or fundraisers. "We have a very strong community relations program that is completely run by the employees," said Greenwood. "They spearhead all the fundraisers from `soup to nuts' and everyone just loves the camaraderie and they all have fun with it." MHVFCU has also launched a new "Tops in Service" program where employees and members nominate staff for service that exceeds expectations. Once nominated employees are entered into a weekly drawing, monthly drawing and a grand prize drawing. The program will run until December 7, 2002. "While money is important, what really motivates employees is thoughtful and sincere recognition," said Greenwood. "And that has to come from the top of the organization and leading by example." Over in Tampa, Florida, MacDill Federal Credit Union Vice President of Marketing Lisa Moerchen couldn't agree more. "Yes we have a great benefits program including tuition reimbursement, retirement programs and the like but the biggest thing is just the communication that occurs from the top down and back up to management," said Moerchen. "We have a lot of weekly and monthly meetings and our President/CEO Robert Fisher takes the time to meet with all the employees and let us in on what we've accomplished and how it is all possible thanks to our team efforts." It was Fisher who came up with a program that transformed the credit union's sponsorship of the local NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers Radio Show into an employee recognition opportunity. With all eyes on Buccaneers Head Coach John Gruden, MFCU sponsors his Monday night radio show and with the sponsorship the credit union receives two tickets to every home game, as well as a free trip to North Carolina for the Carolina game. Enter the Total Member Experience and Total Employee Experience, which is based on the idea that by making every experience with MFCU a great one not only will employees feel great about their workplace but members will maintain and grow their relationship while telling others who will also join. Employees recognized by their peers for going above and beyond their normal course of duties are eligible to win the Buccaneers tickets. Out of 55 entries 11 were selected as winners, with the grand prize all expenses paid trip to Carolina being awarded to Nancy Kehler. When a member called from Korea wanting to know how he could order flowers for his girlfriend on Valentines' Day since all he had was an ATM card, Kehler went after work, bought the roses, and delivered them to the girlfriend at the hospital at MacDill Air Force Base before she came to work. Last month the credit union was notified that when the boyfriend got back into town he proposed and they are now married. "I just love coming into work everyday because Bob goes out of his way to make us all feel like we make a difference so we always go that extra mile," said Moerchen. "And I bet about 99% of the employees here feel the same way." -email@example.com
Credit unions doing their best to keep employee morale up; not an easy job these days
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