I actually googled something like that and found this title on the “For Dummies” website. Don’t ask me why. Never ask me why. Now that I have your attention, what I really meant to say is “How to Spice Up Your Credit Union and Rekindle the Mojo.” Really, there will be no sex talk today.
Humans are social creatures. Most of us need playful, meaningful and emotional interactions with others. But when it comes to the workplace, sometimes we put up so many barriers to make sure our people are “working” and not socializing and having some real team building time.
How many credit unions block Facebook and other social media sites at work? I’d love to see the poll numbers on this one. My credit union has never blocked any of these sites. And in fact, we encourage our people to be active on social media sites… but still do their work. Guess what? They do it.
We took it a step further. In 2008, I stumbled upon a social media solution called Yammer. Per Wikipedia, Yammer is a freemium enterprise social networking service used for private communication within an organization. Or you could just call it your very own social network.
When I found Yammer, I played with it for about seven minutes and created our own social network by minute 15. I had a plan in place and invited my management staff to our group by minute 20. I saw the power and possibilities of this product. What could we build and how could we use this to its fullest potential?
Why would anyone want to create a social network for their business or organization? I suppose there are lots of reasons. I had four main objectives:
- Connect our branches—Our people don’t physically see each other often, so this would be a great way to keep them connected to each other.
- Create better communication—Yammer replaces your internal intranet with something more interactive and easy. The messages are instant and very clear.
- Reduce email communications and inject openness and transparency—When you put the message out there for all, or for specific groups of people, you’re no longer tracking down an email chain, and you’re getting all your people “in the know.” They almost stop thinking about your business as an employer/employee relationship, and they start thinking “we” instead.
- Spice up my credit union and rekindle the mojo—I wanted to do something fun and get people really interested and invested in their credit union family. It’s more than business stuff; it’s also sharing personal stories and successes and whatever you can create. It’s a blank canvas.
By now you’re thinking, “What about regulation? What about privacy? What about hacking? What happens if __________? If you follow the one rule, you’re safe. What’s the one rule that addresses all these “what ifs?”
Don’t post anything you don’t want your mother or the whole world to see.
Yes, our policy is longer than that, but who remembers an entire policy? They remember the one rule. And that one rule is pretty effective.
All of this sounds great in theory, but what the heck do you really do with your social network?
We use it just like Facebook, but without the “what I had for dinner” posts. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention, there’s no training on how to use Yammer. It works just like Facebook. People are already familiar with posting, commenting, liking and reading their news feeds.
Some ways we use Yammer:
- General Updates—What’s going on? Tell people what you want them to know.
- Praises—Does someone do something good? Call them out with special praise and notice for all to see.
- Education—Updates on products, services and other education topics.
- Employee News—Internal news on policies, events and more.
- Job Opportunities—Post open positions for your staff to see.
- Wish List—No explanation needed.
- Member Stories—This is one of my favorite groups. This is where our employees share their stories of member interaction and the kinds of things that are happening in our members’ lives. It’s how we stay close with our members and evaluate the credit union brand and mission fulfillment.
- Compliance—Yes, we even stuck that one in here. Thank goodness it’s not the one most used.
- Personal and Fun Stuff—Open to anything… your dog, your night out… whatever you want to share. Even pictures of coffee mugs.
If you love hashtags and like to overuse them, this is the place to be:
- #MakeTheirDay—Highlights how our staff have made the day special for a member, employee or anyone. It’s all about the love.
- #MissedTheirDay—Highlights how our staff missed an opportunity or didn’t quite meet our credit union’s expectations.
- #TellMyBoss—Members give us lots of feedback on our staff. This allows staff to track the comments easily.
- #DontClickShit—Think before you click. Don’t be click happy on web sites and emails. And it’s just fun that we have this as a policy. Everyone remembers this one.
I asked my staff “What do you love about Yammer?” Here’s what they think:
- I like that we can keep up with what’s going on between the branches and be a little silly sometimes.
- My favorite is Make Their Day Stories. It’s always uplifting to hear these stories.
- Easy and quick way to share info, funnies and stories.
- Love the communication (the overwhelming response from all employees)
I shared the above post with my team in 2014. If I had not posted this, no one would know it happened. Now multiply this sharing by the number of your employees and team members. How many stories like this would you see? Would your people start thinking differently about your purpose or maybe even feel more connected and aligned with your mission? You are what you eat, but maybe you are also what you communicate?
Social interaction and connectedness. It’s what all the cool kids are doing. It’s how we’ve made advances in just about everything at such a rapid pace. Sharing. Connecting. Having a passion for something. And making it awesome.
Credit unions fit perfectly into this connected world—inside the workplace and outside. Adding a little spice to the mix can make a world of difference. Take a chance and open up a little bit. See what happens. You might start having more fun than you ever thought possible while still getting the job done and not breaking any rules.
See? No sex talk. Just as promised.
Linda Bodie is the Chief Innovator at Element Federal Credit Union. Linda has transformed Element from a traditional banking environment to one that is innovative, personal and interactive. She has developed processes including digitizing 99% of the paper at her credit union, streamlining a multitude of business processes via technology and implementing electronic check deposit services. Her most impressive accomplishment was co-developing and deploying the world’s first remote deposit capture iPhone application in July 2009.