How American Airlines Credit Union Improved Employee Engagement and Satisfaction
Every company faces the challenge of engaging their employees and providing a positive employee experience. How do you get disconnected and uninspired employees to engage while also creating overall job satisfaction? Read how American Airlines Federal Credit Union took their team from disengaged to engaged and created a more united team in the process.
American Airlines Federal Credit Union (AACU) was founded in 1936 by a small group of American Airlines employees who shared the goal of creating a member-owned, cooperative financial institution where their employees could help one another. With assets surpassing 7 billion, it became difficult to engage their entire organization. The question became, how do you engage 750 employees across 47 different locations and branches?
Disconnected and Uninspired
“Our goal is to create a fun environment where our employees can engage with each other, be recognized, and keep aligned with our mission. We focus on a holistic approach of information, connection and inspiration from pre-hire to retire,” says Veronica Martinez, Manager of Employee Communication & Engagement at American Airlines Credit Union.
A few years ago, an AACU employee survey provided feedback from one key department that they were doing a less than desirable job creating a connected and engaged environment. The survey indicated weaknesses such as poor communication, the need for more cross–training, and limited collaboration between and within teams. “Simply put, some of our employees were feeling disconnected and uninspired,” says Martinez.
From Disengaged to Engaged
In response to the survey, the Employee Engagement team at AACU jumped in with both feet to address the problems. Leveraging OnSemble (named The Hub at AACU) was crucial in allowing them to begin addressing the needs of the employees in a number of ways.
“Starting with one of our largest and most disengaged teams, we established five core principles to guide decisions and interactions, then shared those guidelines through The Hub,” expressed Martinez.
By creating workgroups and discussion boards to keep the conversation going, AACU started to see an impact. Organically, the team members began to recognize each other via email on their fulfillment of these principles. “Seeing employees start this movement on their own, we utilized OnSemble to create a secondary recognition platform so this team could recognize each other publicly, and it didn’t get buried in email,” Martinez shared. Four winners are selected each month from those recognized on the Hub and celebrated at a team luncheon. “In the 2 years since launch this employee appreciation and recognition program has become a staple of our culture.” Recognition shared within this team of 65 people became double the amount on our organization-wide recognition platform. Amazingly, the department with the highest attrition became the department with the lowest attrition.
Friends Not Foes
The next step was to change the perception of the internal auditors and their mission. The misperception that employees should be scared whenever internal audit employees came around was pervasive and left our auditors feeling undervalued and unappreciated. Articles about the team were created and placed on the Hub landing page to help employees get to know the team and have a little fun along the way with quizzes and prizes.
“By educating everyone what this team was trying to achieve, employees became more inclined to welcome the auditors and assist them in their mission. Combining online information with contests for prizes and in–person activities (we held a HDQ-Squares game that generated amazing feedback) humanized the team and created real personal connections,” says Martinez with pride.
Not Another Email!
Another goal was to improve communication and reduce the number of emails in everyone’s inbox each day. “From technical support alerts to employees communicating about all kinds of needs, it was easy to miss the emails that mattered,” expressed Martinez. The first
step was to create a News Flash section on the Hub to showcase the six main communication types that need to be shared. The new system eliminated the need to save every communication as a PDF and upload it to the Hub. Alerts are archived and can be referenced at a later time if needed. “The result: very positive feedback from employees and a lot fewer, more credible emails.”
OnSemble Made the Difference
“The Hub allows our team to make a real impact in our organization. The small team of four in Employee Communication & Engagement is able to drive change, create culture and solve business issues by having one tool that connects all employees. It’s driven our employees to talk more and share their lives with their co-workers. They come to the Hub to feel appreciated and to celebrate each other’s successes. AACU is now able to showcase our culture through meaningful employee stories that engage and inspire, keeping our employees at the forefront,” says Martinez.
The overall goal was to create a place employees can go for the news that impacts their work-life and a resource they can rely on. The Hub does just that – connects all employees, regardless of location, to the most up–to–date information, the goals and vision, and most importantly, to each other.