Growing Morale Grows Sales At 1 CU

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EUGENE, Ore.-After much role playing and interaction, Oregon Community began implementing a new, proactive approach to engaging with members in the early part of 2010.

As part of that, CEO Many Jones said contests are being used to add an element of fun to the process. There is an "OCCU Derby" going on that trades on the excitement of horse racing's three Triple Crown races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

The OCCU Derby features two-branch combinations that compete by sales points throughout the organization, and the points are given to "horses" racing for a finish line. Dennick said each day the senior management team gets a report showing production from the night before it is delineated by various channels, including branch, indirect, online and even individuals.

"Everyone from the teller to the CEO can go on the intranet and see their goals and production," he said. "There is a friendly competition between branches and between individuals. We track loans, referrals of products and referrals of ancillary products. Each person has a minimum base of referrals, then they get incentives for being over that base."

VP Marketing Rosemary Pryor added, "Errors detract from point totals, which has been a quality control system. We've seen errors go down because of this."

The result? "We are having fun," Jones said. "We have huge momentum, we have excitement, and the employees are having a good time with the contests. Last year was gloomy from the economy and job losses, but now employees are so engaged and are helping members."

Agreed Pryor: "Part of the reason why morale has shot through the roof is No. 1, we set big goals and told employees we believed in them, and No. 2 we installed tools for reporting so the staff could see their success. We show them every single day how they are being productive."

OCCU made no announcements to its 96,000 members that anything was different, but Jones said several have mentioned there is a "buzz" in the air in its branches. She added the credit union has introduced a few new loan offers this year because it is in a very competitive market, but other than that, "It is really employees talking with members about what their needs are, and the back office is supporting each sales team by becoming more efficient and faster.

"We have to keep the momentum going, and we believe we can sustain this," Jones continued. "What works for us is goal-setting, energy in putting the training together, and the willingness of employees to go out and help members though a tough time. Employees have a lot of stories about helping reduce members' loan payments by converting their loans from banks to us."

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