Stephens Earns His Own 'Applause!' E-Card
- Stephens said HR’s role has to be that of an effective and strategic partner in all areas and at all levels of the organization.
- The credit union has managed avoid layoffs and has reduced turnover to 18%.
- Stephens has implemented a variety of innovative programs that have increased Mountain America’s employee engagement to a current score of over 83%.
It’s amazing how dreams change. Early in his career, Lynn Stephens thought working in the great outdoors in the Forest Service was a dream job until he got into management.
During the early stages of the program, Stephens put the responsibility in the hands of employees by reiterating, "Nobody cares as much about your career as you do." This philosophy helped eliminate much of the administrative burden that typically plagues these types of programs and empowered employees to be individually and personally responsible for their own career development. He also helped create a new career path for those staffers interested in remaining in the sales arena. To this end, he helped pilot and implement a new position, financial services representative III. Through this new position, Mountain America has been able to retain more of its top sales performers, give them a valid and rewarding career path and provide opportunities for internal mentoring.
"Our culture and work environment are all related and tied to our philosophy of business vision and values, which have to align with our employees’ values," said Stephens. "So communication is key. We ask how they feel about things, provide development so even those who only plan to stay with us while they are in school feel there’s opportunity to grow," said Stephens. "It’s a matter of somehow retaining a high level of touch and maintaining engagement among employees and I believe really listening and effectively communicating the why behind the moves made and programs implemented are key to everyone understanding how each individual’s contribution has value."
"Lynn exemplifies the lifetime learner. He is on constant lookout for a better, more straightforward way to help his executives, managers and employees contribute the best they have to offer," said Linfield. "He is always the first leader to pilot a new developmental, mentoring, or coaching program that promises improved results and performance breakthroughs."
With an eye on improving Mountain America’s bottom line, Stephens took a closer look at his own department and through the "Cut the Phat" program, challenged his team to find spending that wasn’t adding value to the business. This program saved $850,000 for the credit union over a two-year period and was accomplished without reducing service levels. In total, HR was 24% below budget in 2009, the first year of this program, and over 5% below budget in 2010.