Credit unions and banks spend a great deal of time focusing on the consumer experience, as they should. That experience is a key point of differentiation for you, but so is the employee experience.

According to McLean & Company, a disengaged employee costs your financial institution $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary. The way you treat your employees directly impacts the way they treat your members or customers—and therefore directly impacts your bottom line.

If you don’t mirror the wow factors internally that you deliver externally, your employees – also known as your brand ambassadors – don’t exude the brand loyalty consumers need to experience.

I ran across a video on Facebook recently which demonstrates how the employee experience contributes to the strength of an internal culture. Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres surprised one of her employees – Jeannie – on her tenth anniversary as a cast member of Ellen’s show. Ellen played a highlights video of Jeannie’s decade of tenure, then she interviewed Jeannie in front of the audience. Holding back tears, Jeannie said something heartfelt that every business leader needs to hear:

“I have the best job in the world…She’s (Ellen’s) the best and it just trickles down to every person that we work with. It’s the best place and I’m so grateful for that.”

Jeannie could not have said it better. The way your employees feel about their jobs and your brand in general trickles down from the top. If your CEO and executive team don’t treat each other or the people who report to them with integrity and respect, then the rest of the organization follows suit. Eventually, you lose the positive, productive people and your consumer experience suffers.

Here are some tips for improving or enhancing the employee experience at your credit union or bank:


Model the behavior you expect of all employees


It’s the golden rule. Treat people the way you want to be treated and the way you expect them to treat their co-workers and members/customers.


Recognize employees


Obviously you don’t have the budget or the influence of the Ellen Show, which gave Jeannie her own permanent seat in the audience and convinced Ford to give her a brand new SUV. Recognize your employees in a way that aligns with your brand. Give them gifts cards. Treat them to employee outings. Give them surprise bonuses. Find out what they like and try to make it happen.


Create a culture of thanks


Encourage employees across the organization to appreciate each other. Texans Credit Union used to have a thank you coupon program which was wildly successful. Each employee received six blank coupons each calendar year and could give them to any employee for any reason. Recipients cashed in those coupons for rewards. The more they received, the greater the reward.


When employees feel appreciated and love their jobs, there’s no limit to their level of loyalty and productivity. Wow them with a memorable employee experience.