One CU's Strategy For Making Staff Meetings Interesting

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The staff at Jeffco Schools Credit Union "got milk" all right, and more than 25 different types of cookies to go with it.

As part of its quarterly meeting to announce Mystery Shopper results and acknowledge outstanding staff, officials at the $119-million JSCU built a theme around all things sweet, appropriately dubbed, "Best of the Batter."

In addition to an employee cookie exchange, managers produced a PowerPoint presentation that included information such as "Ingredients for Success," "Sweet Rewards" and "Raisin the Bar."

"Instead of just Janet (Meyers) reading off names, we decided to make it positive, fun and energetic," said Lou Baccam, marketing director, referring to the credit union's CEO.

She added that the sweets theme was concocted after she and Meyers saw a pile of cookbooks in the CU's storage room left over from a fundraiser a few years back.

"None of our members were buying the books anymore, so I passed one out to every employee," she said. "Then we kept hearing them say, 'I'm going to bake this and that,' so we decided to do a cookie exchange."

A Carton Of Milk

From there, she said, planning was as easy as pie. Each of the 38 staff members was handed a carton of milk as they entered the meeting. During the early morning event, acknowledgements went to employees who met 90% to 100% of the CU's goals by the mystery shopper. There was also a guest appearance by infamous French baker, Pepe Le Tart (a.k.a. JSCU operations manager.)

Four judges-"The guys in the office that didn't want to bake," Baccam said-got the honor of judging all of the sweets.

The top three winners received, what else, cookie jars. It was rumored that the judges just got stomachaches.

Meyers said she has enjoyed the unconventional meetings. In fact, she kicked them off more than a year ago by dressing up as Sylvester (the cat, not the actor). On another occasion, an IT assistant revealed his true identity as Superman, flying into the meeting room to help pay tribute to the CU's "superheroes," she said.

"This makes it fun," she said. "We're presenting important information and getting the point across in a lighthearted manner."

By the way, employees who go above the call of duty, receive "apple bucks," coupons that can be traded for such things as work time off, money and gift cards. The more bucks they get, the better the prizes.

She added that the employees now look forward to the meetings. "We keep the staff wondering what in the world we'll come up with next."

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