Howick Associates
Clients

The stability and depth of these partnerships make it possible to achieve true collaboration and to impact business results.  We leverage our knowledge of these organizations and understanding of their goals and challenges to provide efficient, effective solutions.

Featured Client Story

Client: UW Credit Union, “Engagement - Taking It To The Next Level”
Situation:

UW Credit Union is a growing, federally insured financial institution committed to the financial well-being of members.  We were founded in 1931 on the University of Wisconsin campus by people who believed that the not-for-profit cooperative business model would best serve the needs of their community.  We currently have over 163,000 members, just short of 400 employees, and over $1.4 billion in assets and 20 full-service branches serving the Madison, Milwaukee, Whitewater, Green Bay, Oshkosh and Stevens Point areas.  Our continued growth, financial strength and market leading member satisfaction scores have proven our founding members right.

Our employees are our greatest asset, and we give back to our team with a highly competitive benefits package, a casual working environment, competitive wages, opportunities for growth and much more.  Our low employee turnover reflects the fact that our employees want to be here.  They are passionate about what they do, and they believe in our mission.  We believe a highly engaged workforce is one of the keys to our success.
Background:

Measuring employee engagement is a regular practice at UW Credit Union. Our engagement survey partner, Patina Solutions, has helped us create an excellent electronic survey tool/process. Patina Solutions plays a key role in maintaining the integrity of information through their assistance with the confidential and anonymous collection, compilation, and distribution of feedback in a manner that made it seamless from an administrative and employee standpoint.  The employee feedback is turned into action plans that have helped sustain high levels of employee engagement. Each leader is expected to work with their employees to identify an area of focus for their engagement and create an action plan to address the areas of focus.   Leaders and employees are held accountable to make progress on their action plans throughout the year. We believe that the ongoing feedback, coupled with our investment in employee development, has contributed in our low employee turnover rate.

We have been very fortunate to experience very tangible results and improvements as a result of the action taken from the data generated from our engagement surveys.   It has allowed us to develop a high performing leadership group who are committed to developing highly engaged teams.

Our survey instrument consists of only twenty four questions which focus on advocacy, motivation, satisfaction, commitment and the core values of the organization.   Once results are received, they are broken down by division and individual leader.  Each individual leader is responsible for the results of their team.  They are ranked in comparison to fellow leaders in overall engagement scores and the major subcategories.  Lower scoring leaders are encouraged to reach out to their peers who scored well to learn about strategies and tactics that they might employ to help their team improve.   These initial results and activities serve as a catalyst in reaffirming engagement throughout the organization.  It has directly improved the culture of our organization and quality of leadership.

In 2010, 97% of our employees completed the engagement survey and each year we see continuous improvement regardless of our already high scores.  The participation rate is a clear indicator of how actively engaged our employees are.  Our overall engagement score of 4.18 out of 5 is exceptional.  We credit this to the employees of this organization and their commitment to making UW Credit Union one of the best places to work. In 2010 we received the “Madison Best Place to Work” award.

In 2011, we were named a recipient of the CUNA Human Resource Training and Development Council (CUNA HR/TD) Excellence Award for Employee Engagement. This award recognizes and honors credit unions that exemplify excellence in the human resources and training disciplines, and we were selected for our initiatives that create a culture of high engagement with our employees.

Business Impact & Results:

Since 2006, employee engagement scores have increased 25 basis points resulting in 86% of the employees being engaged or highly engaged.  This is a credit to the leaders of the organization because the employees see the efforts and commitment our leadership team makes to ensure that we have a highly engaged organization.  Besides improvement in our own engagement scores, UW Credit Union was recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” by Madison Magazine.  Results were based on independent surveys of our employees. During the same period of time, we have seen significant improvement in member growth and member satisfaction.  We certainly realize that increased employee engagement levels are not the only reason for this growth.  We do believe that cultivating a culture of high employee engagement does contribute to our success.  We have seen member satisfaction improve by 22.7%.  In addition, we have seen membership grow by 34,550 or 31.4%.  It is important to note that these growth numbers have been achieved without the benefit of a major merger or acquisition.    

UWCU Next Steps:

Our continued pursuit of excellence continues.  We have been introduced to the next level of engagement, “Exponential Engagement.”   The three measures of “Exponential Engagement” include: engagement, enablement and energy. 

Through our data collection efforts and subsequent actions, UWCU has developed a good understanding and focus on employee engagement.  We need to begin to invest in enablement and energy to increase engagement and to create an environment of high performance in one that employees are adaptive to change.  So just what is “enablement” and “energy”? 

Enablement is the action we need to take to create the environment and energy to create the culture.  They have more to do with the employee’s day-to-day work environment.    Enablement refers to the equipment, supplies, processes and training in place to enable employees to actually get the job done without barriers.  

Energy is allowing an employee to work in an environment that promotes and supports their well-being, believing that there will be more energy over time if this is in place vs. if it isn’t, then it can’t be sustained over time. 

Considering these factors, UWCU’s efforts towards “Exponential Engagement” will be centered on:

  • Improving employee recognition
  • Encouraging employees to take more accountability and increase their learning and development
  • Providing employees with the tools they need to do their best each and every day

Pam Peterson, SPHR, Director of Human Resources & Organizational Development, UW Credit Union

We’ve also had the privilege to work with the following leading-edge organizations.

  • American Family Insurance
  • Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
  • CUNA Mutual Group
  • Douglas Stewart Company
  • Froedtert Hospital
  • Gardner Denver
  • HospiceCare
  • Johnson Keland Management
  • Journal Broadcast
  • Kohler Company
  • Lands' End
  • Madison Area Technical College (MATC)
  • Madison Gas & Electric
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Montage Talent
  • Oregon School District
  • QBE
  • St. Mary's Hospital - Madison
  • Stoughton School District
  • Summit Credit Union
  • TDS Corporate Services
  • Time Warner Cable
  • University of Wisconsin School of Business - Fluno Center
  • WARF
  • Waukesha County Technical College
  • WEA Trust
  • WisPACT
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