Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Headache: Keeping the Troops Motivated: We Asked Prescribers: Have You Tried Something New to Perk Up Your Workforce? Send Your Thoughts to Scocheo@sbpub.Com

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Headache: Keeping the Troops Motivated: We Asked Prescribers: Have You Tried Something New to Perk Up Your Workforce? Send Your Thoughts to Scocheo@sbpub.Com

Article excerpt

Remedy 1: New ideas from new places

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Marry Hansen, president & CEO, First State Bank, $41.5 million-assets, Fairfax, Okla. We started this program about six months ago, and it has improved bank morale. I wanted more participation and input from staff, but I could see real reluctance from many.

About every 60 days we create a team of 5 employees. The only nonparticipants are upper management. The team is lead by an employee--never an officer. They are presented with a problem or even a new idea and asked to brainstorm--nothing is sacred. They meet on their own schedule, sometimes when we are open and sometimes after hours.

In the end the team makes a recommendation. It is amazing the input we see from employees who formerly declined to speak up. The empowerment they feel in participating, and the pride they have in seeing their team's recommendation come to fruition is remarkable.

The innovation they show exceeds what we could ever get only from upper management or officers. They are not "boxed in" like most managers these days--they think outside the box, often cutting edge.

Remedy 2: Annual Rally Day

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Nick Pfeiffer, second vice-president and marketing officer, MidWestOne Bank, $1.7 billion-assets, Iowa City, Iowa We host an annual daylong event--"Rally Day." It is an all-employee gathering that celebrates the past year and looks ahead to the coming one. It is the only time that we have all 400+ employees together in one space. Many of directors also attend.

The bank presents annual awards in such categories as Community Service Employee of the Year, Sales Performance of the Year, and Support Employee of the Year. The awards are taken very seriously, with tracking and nominations throughout the year. It is a thrill and a true accomplishment for winners.

Our president and CEO provides a state-of-the-bank address, and lunch is served. Additionally, we bring in two guest speakers. We aim for two diverse subjects and styles. We've hosted speakers from motivational to human interest to humor to industry experts.

The theme of the day changes each year. The focus is always on fun. Past themes have included movies, Disney, sports, "American Idol", "Survivor", and superheroes. We have pre-recorded some games and skits and done some live. We always tie our games to prizes with audience participation. …

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