August 6, 2018
How To

How to: Maximize your greatest asset — your employees

Deb White-Rideout

Most executives and HR managers would say that their employees are their greatest asset, but how do you communicate that in meaningful ways, not only so they feel appreciated and understand how they are contributing to the overall success of the organization, but also recognize the full value of their compensation?

At University Credit Union, there are three areas that we believe play a central role in maximizing the value of employees: engagement, communication of benefits and core values.

Engage employees

Employers can increase engagement by offering a mentor program, encouraging employee referrals for open positions, soliciting ideas to better the organization or assist in achieving its mission, creating organization-wide incentives and variable pay and bonus programs. The key is to be different and develop unique programs that may not be found elsewhere and that resonate with your workforce.

For example, at UCU we have many unique ways that we keep our employees engaged, including a weekly "Smile" email, a "Shark Tank"-style program for employees to test out new ideas for improving efficiency, a "Good to great" recognition board of positive interactions between employees and members. Whatever the initiative, your end goal should always be to leave employees feeling energized, empowered and recognized for their achievements as well as their contributions to the organization's success.

Do not assume all employees are aware of every initiative. Be sure to communicate the availability of these programs early and often. The more involved employees are in an organization's mission and success, the more likely they are to stay with you.

Communicate benefits

Employers should regularly emphasize the availability and value of the full range of benefits available to employees.

If you continue to communicate the value of these benefits throughout the year, whether through organization-wide trainings, retreats, meetings, newsletters or personalized annual benefits statements, employees will have a better understanding of and appreciation for what it means to be an employee of your organizatiofn.

Some common items to include in an annual total compensation statement include:

  • Salary or hourly rate and total wages earned
  • Medical and dental coverages, including amount paid by employer
  • Flexible spending account information
  • Paid leave — personal, vacation, sick, holiday, birthday, bereavement, jury duty
  • Short and long-term disability insurance coverage, including amount paid by employer
  • Life insurance policies, including value and amounts paid by employer
  • Employee Assistance Program benefits
  • Retirement benefits plans, including employee and employer contributions (such as match and safe harbor)
  • Tuition reimbursement or educational assistance programs
  • Longevity bonuses
  • Organization-wide bonuses or profit sharing
  • Employee group discounts.

Reward your core values

Core values are part of what define the identity of your organization. They are the foundation upon which your culture develops and by which decisions are made to achieve the mission and vision of the organization.

Core values also serve to educate customers and business partners on what your organization is all about. Having defined core values creates a competitive advantage within your industry, as well as assists in demonstrating the culture to job seekers who are searching for the right fit.

Employers who take the time to build out, embrace and communicate differentiators like the above will successfully maximize the value of their employees.

Deb White-Rideout is senior vice president of operations and human resources at University Credit Union. She can be reached at


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