Founded in 1940, Generations has a rich history of serving the City of San Antonio, the municipal Fire Department, Police Department, and their families. Generations Federal Credit Union is now one of the largest credit unions in the greater San Antonio area with 14 branches, 250 employees, and more than 50,000 members.
When Generations began using OnSemble Employee Intranet, the initial creation was a static one-page website with a list of navigation links to frequently used documents. As a result, the site functioned primarily as a repository for information. Finding the correct resource was difficult and the search function was ineffective. It was obvious that the current system needed improvement, but ownership of the project went unsettled.
But in 2018 an initiative began within Generations to enhance the employee experience through facilities upgrades. This initiative, along with a routine update from the IT team, sparked a discussion among management about the intranet and how it could be better utilized. Several managers were curious about the potential of the intranet and if it had additional capabilities to improve employee communication and access to resources.
“We knew that if we were looking to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, we had to find a better way to communicate and connect everyone to all of the work happening around the credit union,” said Ken Raymie, Generations Chief Operating Officer.
“Our main way of communicating was through email, but no one checks their email and if they do, things are often missed. We needed a more effective way to communicate,” says Ryan Pierce, Generations Project Resource Coordinator. “We knew an intranet could be the answer but we needed a complete overhaul.”
It didn’t take long to realize that the major goals for an intranet could all be addressed with the latest version of OnSemble Employee Intranet. After reviewing product features, reading success stories, and requesting a demo, the team was thrilled to learn that Passageways would help guide the project and provide the support needed to launch a refresh of the site at no cost to the credit union.
Passageways began reaching out with concepts and ideas to help the credit union accomplish even more within the system, including collecting employee feedback, providing employee resources, and celebrating and recognizing employee achievements. It became clear to the credit union that OnSemble had all of the capabilities they needed, and that they could forgo the arduous processes of selecting a new vendor – saving them an immense amount of time, work, and expense. “Passageways was emphatic, ‘we can help you,’ and that took the burden off our shoulders of trying to figure it all out on our own. The Passageways team provided so much support, it has been amazing to work with the team.” says Ryan Pierce, Project Resource Officer.
Pierce was asked to the lead the charge, starting with attending the Passageways annual user conference, PowWow, and came away with three goals for a new Generations intranet:
- Grow employee engagement and camaraderie across locations and departments through an improved social experience
- Orient staff to business results through improved collaboration & communication
- Enable fast and accurate delivery of service and problem resolution by making resources easier to access by staff
As a first step, Ryan surveyed credit union managers to ask how they were using the current intranet, what they would like to see in the future, and how they would like to see it. “We could have surveyed our entire credit union, but I figured it was easier to get manager feedback and build from there. Our initial goal was to get to GOOD, and then we could work towards GREAT,” says Pierce.
The redesign began in October, 2018 with a go-live goal of January, 2019. In those 90 days, a cross-functional team was formed, a timeline was set, and a project plan was created. The team created a new home page, team pages with quick-access links to the most used procedures and web sites, and a dynamic document library. “Users previously had to go 3-4 clicks deep to find materials. Now it’s one click and the search just works, making it faster and easier than ever to find information,” Pierce recounted.
A naming contest created excitement and curiosity around the new intranet. The team implanted further branding, complete with a new logo, and this new look and feel was trickled down to employees in the four weeks leading up to the relaunch. Pierce and the team created an employee engagement strategy for the week of the GEN launch (Generations Employee Network), the name they would all soon start calling their brand new portal. The first part of that strategy was a hand-delivered paperweight coaster for each employee.
On launch day, employees were given instructions to update their profile information in order to access the site and start exploring. During the first week, two scavenger hunts were designed within the portal to familiarize employees with page navigation, and 20 winners each won $10 gift cards. The scavenger hunts were embraced with over 50% participation.
After launching GEN, employees were surveyed again, and the results were overwhelmingly positive. The new design and navigation were praised. “The survey comments overwhelmingly indicated that staff appreciated the simple design, the new look, and the additional features. 46% of the respondents stated that they see themselves using the intranet more,” says Pierce.
GEN now allows the credit union to streamline communication to their employees – significantly reducing email while increasing engagement with the information. Pages for branch employees, directories, and employee recognition allow for easier access to information.
Sharing fun announcements, photos, and company activities are all helping to grow employee satisfaction, increase employee engagement, and drive connectivity between staff, from every location they serve.
“People feel more connected and in the know. The message is more consistent because we don’t have to rely on our managers to inform employees on our progress or goals and major initiatives. We can now get the right information to our employees at the right time. It’s helped connect people across the organization, highlight business results, improve recognition, and it put resources at people’s fingertips,” said Pierce. “It also reaches down, improving our member services. If we can reduce the amount of time it takes us to find the answer, our members’ experience is improved.”
Generations plans to continue expanding and evolving GEN to better serve their employees by building out new areas of the portal for topics such as new hire information and in-depth product pages. The intranet team continues to meet monthly to discuss usage and set out goals for future development. There’s a great, new energy around the site and the credit union’s ability to impact the experience of its employees.