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VACAVILLE, Calif. – Travis Credit Union employees have flipped over FISH!- the philosophy that emphasizes a fun approach to work. The philosophy is based on the film, FISH! which chronicles the fun-loving, energetic environment of the Seattle-based World Famous Pike Place Fish Market. Despite the hard work, long hours and constant fish smell, the fish market staffers’ passion, playfulness and commitment to a positive attitude helped Pike Place stand out and become famous. The FISH! philosophy has already transformed the cultures of thousands of companies such as Target, Southwest Airlines and Saturn. The philosophy revolves around four basic concepts -Play, Make Their Day, Be There and Choose Your Attitude. “Everyone has a choice about his or her work environment-people can go to work and be miserable or enjoy what they do,” said Travis CU Vice President of Branch Operations Steve Langley, who suggested the over $1.2 billion credit union embrace FISH! in 2003. According to Travis CU President/CEO Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, who was already familiar with the program and believed in the concepts, incorporating FISH! was not a stretch for staffers since many of the same principles were already in place. “This is about spirit, not process. The work we do is very serious, and member service is a priority to us. Having fun and involving our members reinforces our commitment to a good work environment,” said Van Ouwerkerk. “One of the key aspects of this philosophy is that the employees are taking the responsibility for themselves and their attitudes about providing good service.” To formalize the culture shift to FISH! Langley put together a series of FISH! Camps. The eight-hour programs that introduced the principles and concepts of the FISH! philosophy were creatively designed around a camping theme complete with tents, lawn chairs, camping gear and camp food. Van Ouwerkerk attended the first of the 14 all-day camps. To play up the member experience on any given day Travis CU branches can host nerd days, luaus, crazy hat days or bowling contests in addition to providing members homemade cookies or trivia contests for while they wait in line. “I have really seen a difference in the last six months in our organization,” said Van Ouwerkerk. “The members love it. Our member satisfaction survey results have been outstanding. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best, our average score for overall member satisfaction is 4.7.” According to Langley the choice is what makes a difference. “You can come to work, enjoy it and embrace it, or come to work and be unhappy. We made the choice here to really embrace our work. It’s the small things-like smiling and having a sense of humor-that matter. It really seems to have made a difference to both employees and members.” [email protected]

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