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5 Rules for Creating an Irresistible Culture



I’m a firm believer in the mantra: If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your account holders, who will in turn take care of the organization. So, when it comes to taking care of employees, boosting retention is extremely important—and you’ll have much greater success doing so if your company has an irresistible culture. I’m not talking Google-level amenities and perks, but certainly a culture that offers a vibrant, positive, fun and rewarding environment in which to work.

This is easier said than done. In a recent Duke University survey of 1,800 CEOs and CFOs, 78 percent said culture is one of the top five things that adds value to their companies—but only 15 percent said their own corporate culture is exactly where it should be.

We have seen many of our community bank and credit union clients overhaul their corporate cultures in order to retain talent, hire for the future, build account holder loyalty and reach growth goals. The clients who have done this successfully have adhered to a handful of very important tenets.

1. Change starts at the top.

Leadership needs to, well, take the lead on this. It’s up to them to take the pulse of their employees, determine the direction to take the culture and be ambassadors for all adopted changes. Along with approving all additional benefits and program changes, CEOs and other managers need to set the tone, and spread a positive vibe throughout the organization. Their actions speak volumes and will give employees the green light to embrace changes.

2. Results take time.

A culture change is not something sent in a memo on a Monday and implemented before the weekend arrives. It takes time to make decisions, upgrade benefits and perks, spread the word, refresh marketing communications, change community involvement and see widespread employee adoption. With something as important as defining and nourishing corporate culture, the last thing you want to do is rush it. Instead, you want to see employees embrace it.

3. Employees are the company’s #1 asset.

Employees are an important part of the equation when it comes to both retaining and losing account holders. When your employees enjoy their jobs and respect upper management, their actions are more likely to translate into greater customer service. It’s the incentives, staff activities and benefits that you provide show that you’re invested in your employees’ growth, happiness and well-being.

I’ve seen some institutions’ CEOs or other members of the leadership team organize a variety of outings for groups within their organization. Whether it’s lunch, dinner or another type of gathering outside the office, the dialogue during these gatherings not only deepens the relationship between management and staff, it strengthens the connection to the company and shows that upper management values the input and company of all employees –  no matter their position, title or job function.

Employee recognition also fosters a positive work environment. Often, simply showing appreciation outranks a bonus or promotion, according to a recent study from Appirio.

Finally, finding opportunities to help employees develop their professional skills adds value in their eyes, while also benefiting the organization.

4. Fun balances hard work.

This great saying says it all:

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
You find the fun and – snap! – the job’s a game.

Encourage your employees to find and enjoy the fun amidst all of their hard work, and it will go a long way towards preventing burnout and improving overall culture.

5. People can sense a positive culture.

There are a number of ways prospective and current account holders will see your corporate culture in action:

  • through advertisements, marketing campaigns and web content;
  • by walking into the bank or credit union and seeing employees happily interacting with each other and account holders;
  • at fun community events;
  • by reading social media posts from and about your institution; and
  • through their own interactions with your employees.

It is noticeable, and people will sense whether your bank or credit union has a vibrant or dull culture, one built on serving account holders or their own interests, one that gives its employees freedom or micromanages every detail.

Another great benefit of this palpable vibe, if your company has a positive one: It will serve as a powerful recruitment tool.

When you keep these five principles in mind, you’ll be able to focus on the big picture and create a valuable, sustainable organizational culture. If you discover you need help finding the best candidates to match your company culture or new management to help you change the current culture, look to an experienced, professional recruiting organization. One that gives serious consideration to how an individual will fit into the company culture during recruitment to ensure the best possible fit.

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