Rewarding employees serves Navigant customers best

STRATEGY SESSION: Navigant employees, from left: Ross Silva, assistant vice president for business development and loan officer; Megan Birch (hidden), mortgage loan supervisor; Lee Conte, loan officer; David DeCubellis, vice president of residential mortgages; Deb Drechnowicz, mortgage underwriter; and Alisha Tierney, mortgage-support coordinator.
 / PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
STRATEGY SESSION: Navigant employees, from left: Ross Silva, assistant vice president for business development and loan officer; Megan Birch (hidden), mortgage loan supervisor; Lee Conte, loan officer; David DeCubellis, vice president of residential mortgages; Deb Drechnowicz, mortgage underwriter; and Alisha Tierney, mortgage-support coordinator.
 / PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY

Best Places to Work 2019 | LARGE COMPANIES (150-499 employees):
1. Navigant Credit Union


Comfortable, lumbar-supporting chairs were delivered to Navigant Credit Union workers earlier this year, generating smiles all around, says Tim Draper, vice president of marketing.

It was one of the more visible, external ways the credit union shows its appreciation for employees. But this kind of appreciation goes deeper.

To make the Smithfield-based institution an exemplary place for its 315 Rhode Island employees is to make it a comfortable place for its customers. The two things go hand in hand, says Draper.

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“We cannot deliver an extraordinary customer experience if staff is not trained, engaged and all on the same page with a singular goal,” he said. “The only way you can get to that is giving teams the right tools so they can deliver.”

The state’s oldest credit union has 18 branches, providing financial products and services to more than 92,000 members, with more than $2 billion in assets.

Navigant’s Member Experience Strategic Initiative – a survey of members to reveal areas of improvement – has gathered usable information over the past few years and has now picked up steam. The result? Actionable items and change, said Nancy Wilson, assistant vice president of human resources.

Employees are instrumental in helping to plan and implement ways to better serve customers.

In fact, Sheila Felice was hired this past February for a brand-new Navigant position – vice president of learning and organizational development – to ensure that feedback is being facilitated.

“We are … assessing where employees are, where there may be broad development or specific training needs,” said Wilson.

The Navigant experience team, meanwhile, is tasked with being the “eyes and ears of Navigant,” said Wilson, identifying where the credit union can do a better job not only interacting with members but internally, serving and working with one another.

Wilson gave an example of a need that emerged concerning internal communication, which has resulted in training to make operations run smoother for everyone. Navigant’s new guidelines in this arena call for “fully owning” whatever question or concern comes their way, even if it’s not that employee’s area of expertise.

Let’s say a customer calls with a question on their account.

“I may not be equipped to answer. But before I pass along that call, I get the member’s number and name, reach out to the call center … have them confirm to me they can handle that call and that they’ve done it,” Wilson said. A follow-up member phone call to ensure the matter was handled is also now part of the original call taker’s duties.

“This is consistent across the board, from the CEO to tellers,” Draper said, making employees’ jobs easier with standard goals and a system in place.

Along with the surveys and special roles the credit union has added to gather and implement feedback, employees and members can go on to its website anytime to give input, even anonymously, if they choose. Wilson said that these emails don’t just end up in a bin somewhere, but are handled by Member Experience Officer Donna Wood, who makes notes and follows up on what comes in.

Employees are a valuable asset in instituting growth and change. The organization continues to ramp up its employee-recognition efforts, such as adding an Employee Spotlight to its quarterly newsletter.

Peer-to-peer recognition comes in the form of its LUCI trophy, which stands for Navigant core values of leadership, unity, caring and integrity, and is given from one employee to another for a job well-done. Nominations for the president’s award are another way team members can recognize one another.

“Gary [Furtado, president and CEO] always says that the only thing that separates us is our employees. Other places have similar products and services. It’s our staff; it’s why we value them so highly,” said Draper.


Employees in R.I.: 315
President and CEO Gary Furtado

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