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Unity One CU Launches Staff 'Walk the Talk' Program
FORT WORTH, Texas (7/19/13)--Unity One CU in Fort Worth, Texas, has rolled out a new staff program--"Walk the Talk"--aimed at nurturing the internal culture and increasing employee engagement as part of a three-year strategy, says the Cornerstone Credit Union League.

"The goal of Walk the Talk is to recruit, retain and recognize valued behavior that, we feel, will positively affect co-worker and member relationships," said Erayne Gee Hill, Unity One CU assistant vice president of community and public relations, in the  Leaguer newsletter (July 18).

Organizations and companies "spend tons of time and resources externally but fail to address or recognize internal triumphs or challenges," she told the league, adding that "no house can stand without a solid foundation. It must be properly maintained.
"This is especially relevant to credit unions that place member service as a priority. When our staff is knowledgeable, confident, positive and responsive, the member experience is elevated. And, member satisfaction directly impacts the bottom line," she said.
Walk the Talk, which launched last week,  involves an everyday recognition initiative--the Walkie program--where "employees can give each other a pat on the back when they see behavior that is 'on brand,'" Hill said.  Employees submit a Walkie on a customized landing page. A Walkie is equivalent to a dollar and can be redeemed for Lands End logo-wear or other accessories. The credit union will expand rewards as the program matures.
"We have had 40 submissions so far, which can be attributed to the program's novelty, but we are hopeful that the trend will continue," she told the Leaguer.

The $189 million asset credit union also redesigned its employee newsletter to be brand consistent and engaging, and conducted research and sought feedback to prepare for the campaign. "Walk the Talk is really an employee project--it is a reflection of the group's needs and wants."

In August,  Unity One FCU will form a task force of brand champions to meet regularly and make decisions about the credit union's culture.  Its first project: Re-evaluating the dress code.

The campaign also includes training and communications, with regular staff roundtables to reinforce product and service offerings. Town halls and video conferences with the CEO are in the works."

The program's success "will have a direct correlation with quality member service," she said. "Confidence or self-assurance is one of our core values, and one way for that to happen is to be knowledgeable." By changing its training and internal interaction format, "we can address different types of learners."

She advised credit unions wanting to improve internal communications to use both in-person and video town hall meetings regularly, staff training roundtables, employee newsletters and the credit union's Intranet.

Selected as a Texas Best Place to Work in 2012 and 2013, the credit union is "aiming for 2014 and beyond," Hill said.


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