How to Rewire Employee Engagement

Our family dog, Charlie, is a delightful Cock-a-Poo – the offspring of the Poodle and the Cocker Spaniel. These are two of the most intelligent dog breeds. Charlie is hypoallergenic, easygoing, affectionate, and will melt your heart. He can sit, stay, shake hands, stand on two legs and occasionally will bark on command.

And that’s all.

Charlie will still dart away when he sees a bird or squirrel, and he loses his mind anytime anyone rings the doorbell. Even though he’s not supposed to, he will rest his chin on the dining room table. His puppy dog eyes will land him a few table scraps from mom, and yet, mom wonders why he always comes to her and not dad.

So, if the Poodle is the second smartest dog breed, and the Cocker Spaniel ranks No. 20 overall, why doesn’t Charlie know more tricks?

It all goes back to who trained him. Oh, wait…. That’s us!

Nowadays, employee engagement is at center stage. A Gallup poll shows highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability and helps reduce absenteeism and turnover. However, if you are going to take a deep dive with your credit union or community bank staff, look inward first.

In other words, you need to find your “why,” and occasionally cover it in peanut butter.

What’s your core purpose? Is it the same as it was decades ago? Chances are, you have tired language within a mission or vision statement that says you will do what’s right for members or customers.

Oh, gee. Thanks. Your organization is so much more than that.

Here are four things to boost employee engagement:

  1. Define your value proposition. – We all want a job that has a sense of meaning, purpose and accomplishment. Your “why” doesn’t have to be long or complex. Reassess what’s important. It’s more than money.
  2. Develop a brand voice. – From onboarding content to staff training to strategic planning, integrate internal brand training. Help each employee understand their role in growing your credit union or community bank.
  3. Teach and reward self-improvement. – Let’s face it, self-improvement isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all have six pack abs. Show your employees how to become the best versions of themselves. Balance that with your brand vision, encourage problem-solving and praise them for their choices.
  4. Gamify the workforce. – A simple incentive concept can encourage a desired behavior. They can be used to reach sales goals, build internal engagement, and foster awareness and accountability.

Charlie is a good boy, and while we are content with giving our puppy belly rubs, you don’t really have that option. Actually, that would be a serious HR issue.

You do, however, owe it to your employees to make your credit union or community bank a best place to work. Change the discussion, and inspire people to get behind your cause. Training and career development are key to attracting and retaining the best employees.

Frank Allgood has more than 20 years of experience in every facet of public information and marketing communications. As Vice President of Relationship Development for Your Marketing Co., he is responsible for strategic brand experiences and marketing initiatives for credit unions across the country. For branding or rebranding projects, call 864.326.8740 or email

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