Engaging Employees With A Fun Start To Each Day

Pen Air adopted the Ritz Carlton’s daily meeting to get employees excited about the credit union’s culture and goals.

The daily lineup at Pen Air Federal Credit Union($1.2B, Pensacola, FL) is so much more than a staff meeting. Part pep rally and part daily debriefing, this 10-to-15-minute meeting takes place every morning in every Pen Air department. The meeting informs staff members about what’s happening throughout the organization and in their department while giving everyone a chance to get to know one another.

Pen Air adopted the daily lineup in late March of this year after CEO Stewart Ramsey and a few key executives attended the Ritz Carlton’s executive leadership workshop.

We spent four days learning how they immerse their employees in their culture, and the daily lineups were one of the big things they used, says Dana Mullins, vice president of human resources at Pen Air Federal.

All four Pen Air executives attending the workshop perked up when they heard about the daily lineup.

We thought that was definitely something that could meet our needs as a communication tool to keep everyone focused on our mission, our vision, and our values, Mullins says.

Perfect Timing

Instituting the daily lineup also came at the right time when Pen Air was in the midst of a culture-defining initiative. As the cooperative set about identifying its values, the daily lineup was a good way to share those findings with all employees and keep ideas about Pen Air’s culture fresh in everyone’s minds. At the Ritz, the daily morning meeting reminds the staff about the hotel’s mission,vision, values, and promise to employees.

We’re not at the same place as the Ritz, but we wanted to go ahead and start the process and get people used to managing that extra time in the morning or whenever it works best for the department, Mullins says. It starts theprocess of getting people more engaged, and that’s what it’s all about.

Instead of the department head or branch manager leading the meeting, different staff members take turns. The manager or department head is only responsible for making sure the meetings happen, and Pen Air encourages managers to assign days to staff members so everyone knows when they’re responsible for leading the meeting.

Behind The Scenes, An Engagement Team

The credit union’s engagement team provides the universal content that is shared with all staff members. The organizational engagement department was created when the credit union spun off its training department and singled out the process wherenew hires learned how to be a Pen Air employee. The department, which is under human resources, focuses on leadership, career development, and soft skills, and includes a complete on-boarding process that introduces new employees to Pen Air’sculture.

We didn’t want to use the word culture anywhere in the title because we see culture as everybody’s responsibility, Mullins says. And if you put culture in the title then everybody will think culture is solely that department’sresponsibility.

The organizational engagement team sends the content for the next day’s daily lineup to managers and department heads at 3:00 p.m. each day. The team also came up with the daily themes that are used each week, for example, Meet Your Peeps Monday,when co-workers get to know more about each other’s special talents or goals, and Wow Wednesday, when Pen Air employees trade stories about a staff member who went the extra mile for a member.

Although a daily morning email could disseminate information more quickly, meeting in person is a key part of the daily lineup. An email just doesn’t create thesame camaraderie that bringing the group together does, Mullins says. Plus, whoever leads the meeting is encouraged to do more than just read a message to the group.

We’ve had people come up with skits or bring some kind of snack that somehow ties into what they’re talking about, Mullen says. It makes it fun and it creates that feeling of being part of the group and we’re allin this together today.

For other credit unions looking to introduce a similar morning meeting, Mullins recommends keeping it short. No more than 15 minutes, she says. But the most important thing is the meeting must have support from senior management and needs to be a collaborativeeffort. Nothing too serious, though. Keeping the meeting light and fun is more effective.

October 3, 2014

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