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ORLANDO, Fla. – Achieving loyalty from members will only take place when credit unions get buy-in from employees and that starts with a well-developed incentive program. This, according to David Lockhart, CUNA Mutual Group Midwest lending sales manager, and Tom Wiedl, vice president/sales and service, Sunmark Federal Credit Union, Schenectady, N.Y., who recently spoke at CUNA Mutual’s Discovery conference. “Try to avoid incentive programs that reward the best, or number one,” said Lockhart. “When you make an incentive program designed to reward the top performers, ninety percent of your employees will think it is over before it starts. You actually de-motivate people.” Wiedl suggested having team goals to involve everyone, and he noted top sellers are more willing to share ideas and plans, knowing it helps the team. “If you give lunch awards to only the top performers then you tend to have lunch with the same person every month,” said Wiedl. He advocated the “Power of Now,” telling attendees if employees are rewarded today for what they did today, they will probably work just as hard tomorrow. Wiedl said one such program he uses might pay $15 to $20 for a job well done that day, or maybe a restaurant or store gift certificate. He said it actually costs less than a monetary reward, or commission, at the end of the month, but the impact is immediate. Both speakers agreed the goal is not to have employees compete against each other, but to have them compete against the competition. Lockhart and Wiedl noted many credit unions believe a good employee incentive program is cost prohibitive, when in truth the opposite is true. Wiedl said at his credit union, indirect lending costs $17 per $1,000 loan, direct lending is $18 per $1,000, while his incentive program costs only $3 per $1,000. [email protected]

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