first_imgWe hear “Wow!” a lot these days among many of the credit unions we work with, in the context of “Wowing the Member,” or “Wow Member Service.” But here’s a stark truth: you can’t “Wow” your members if you don’t first “Wow” your employees. Why?Because an excellent member experience begins with excellent people.After all, who has the most consistent opportunities to “Wow” the member? The executive team? Marketing? No, it’s the people who interact with our members every day: in person, on the phone, through the help desk, or via messaging and e-mail.Last year, I taught Organization Management in a local university’s MBA program. I tried to apply the lessons I learned over 15 years as a CEO. Org Management is a very theoretical course, but managers seldom explicitly consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or Herzberg’s two-factor model when facing a tough decision. I tried to bring 15 years of war stories from the trenches to the classroom, to supplement the theoretical with the practical.One of the lessons I delivered while discussing a chapter on human resource management was one that I tried to practice as a manager myself. I wrote on the board, “The _________ always comes first.” Then I asked the students to fill in the blank. Of course, the group response, delivered by rote, was always “customer.”Wrong answer.Who’s going to place the customer — or member — first? The CEO? Sure, but the customer or member might never know that, given the CEO’s relatively limited interaction with the members. If we don’t put our people first — show them we value them, treat them well, solicit and respect their views, empower them to make good things happen, and allow them to fail (within reason) — they’ll never put our members first. It’s critical that employees see the difference they make at the end of the day, that they feel they have an opportunity to leave their imprimatur on the credit union, and that they’re not just another cog in the machine. Put employees first, and they will put the members first.A related and important lesson is one I learned from the CEO of another organization I worked for. He was the brightest man I had ever met: a Harvard law grad, the majority owner of the company, and the CEO and Chairman of the Board.He drew his organization chart upside-down, with him at the bottom.His rationale? “I work for all of you,” he’d say. “My role, and that of every other manager here, is to support the people above them on the org chart, to clear the hurdles that prevent them from doing their best work and make sure they have the resources they need.” That is our role as managers: clear those hurdles, make decisions in a timely manner, and make it possible for our employees to shine. Do that, and they’ll “Wow” members.The workplace is changing, and most credit unions we work with list talent management among the top risks they expect to face in the coming years. Not only are millennials changing the workplace, but so are boomers. Both groups are more values-driven than before; millennials by things like work/life balance, boomers by the things like the ethics of the people they’re surrounded with. Technology is changing the workplace too, and we’re going to have to get increasingly creative to meet the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent.As we explore those means, the litmus test is going to have to be, “Does this ‘Wow’ the employees?” just as the litmus test for many of our initiatives is, “Does this ‘Wow’ the member?” As the song goes, you can’t have one without the other. 56SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Brian Hague Brian has more than 25 years’ experience in financial institutions and the capital markets, and has devoted 21 years to serving credit unions through various roles at CNBS, LLC, a … Web: Detailslast_img