At first glance, a doctorate in social psychology of sport and physical activity might not seem relevant to a career in employee engagement.
But Amber Rahn says she uses her degree every day as the culture and organizational development manager for $1.3 billion asset Blue Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Rahn’s talent for energizing and engaging employees has been put to the test with many employees switching to remote work.
Rahn, who also was short-staffed because of a team member’s recent promotion, rose to the occasion and organized virtual events and challenges to keep up a sense of camaraderie.
One event was a series of weekly musical interludes featuring talented employees.
“For a brief period during the chaotic workday, our employees unplugged for 15 minutes and got to tune into some truly awe-inspiring performances,” Rahn says. “It definitely built a sense of connection on our team, and it felt good to see the employees feeling good.”
Rahn works hard to motivate Blue Federal staff to build healthy habits. She has organized an annual walking challenge for many years.
This year, she raised the stakes to encourage staff to move while working from home. She challenged another credit union to compete in the challenge.
When Blue Federal won, the CEO of the losing credit union had to carry a life-sized cutout of Blue Federal’s CEO with him all day.
Rahn has also worked to help Blue Federal employees gain financial freedom. Since she introduced the SmartDollar financial training program in 2017, employees have eliminated more than $750,000 in debt and saved another $250,000.
“SmartDollar has been an incredibly liberating program for our employees,” Rahn says. “It’s been wonderful to watch the financial confidence of our employees soar after involvement in this program.”
Her colleagues say Rahn has a genuine heart for helping others and making them feel seen.
Even while juggling the stress of homeschooling her children during the pandemic, she has found ways to affirm other parents on the staff who have felt overwhelmed.
“Anytime she is presented with a challenge, she looks for ways to overcome the challenge and make sure employees receive the best of the best,” says Chief Human Resources Officer Stacy Maatman.
To keep up her own spirits during quarantine, Rahn spends time hiking, horseback riding, and cuddling Clip Clop, her snuggly donkey.