Few companies are in a position to be as generous or flexible with their employees as Yahoo! But new CEO Marissa Mayer’s major policy changes on parental leave and telecommuting have sparked a lot of discussion about the evolving relationship between employer and employee, and the oft -cited “work-life balance.”
Credit unions understand that a work environment built on flexibility, support, and solid benefits can result in increased overall productivity and loyalty, executives say.
Employee feedback crucial
Recently, a branch manager for $830 million asset Rogue Federal Credit Union, based in Medford, Ore., called his superior to ask for two weeks off due to a family emergency. So did an information systems specialist immersed in a major system integration.
Both requests required some juggling to fill the void. But management granted them with the blessing of President/CEO Gene Pelham.
“This is not a slacker organization,” Pelham says. “Hopefully we’ve built enough trust and respect that, by being true and recognizing individual responsibilities, folks actually perform at higher levels.”
This outlook applies to major life events but also to the everyday experiences that enrich or deepen family bonds. “How productive is somebody who resents the fact that their child’s out playing a ballgame, and they’re stuck at the office?” Pelham asks.
Rogue Federal offers competitive benefits such as a paid time-off program that employees can use for any circumstance, and makes all its awards ceremonies and community activities family-friendly.
But Pelham knows that no system is perfect. So he tracks the pulse of his employees by scheduling small-group meetings. To promote honest conversation, employees’ supervisors aren’t in the room.
“It started out as, ‘The button doesn’t work on this device,’” Pelham says. “But the staff have really raised the level over time, bringing up relevant organizational issues that keep us in touch with the challenges employees face while working at their jobs.”
The credit union refused to close any branches or lay off employees during the recession, even at the expense of its net worth ratio. Employees received merit raises throughout the downturn, and received bonuses in all but one year in that span.
The credit union has an internal Net Promoter Score of 80%. In 2013, Oregon Business placed Rogue Federal at No. 7 among large companies in its “Best Places to Work” competition.
“None of this happens if our board isn’t supportive of this family-focused staffing strategy,” Pelham says.