How Oswego drove engagement by designing activities that
kept their employees returning to
Oswego Federal Credit Union’s story begins like many others: a growing credit union required a way to align their branches and people. They found a solution to accomplish that with OnSemble Employee Intranet; but that’s just the beginning of their story. Oswego’s success in engaging their employees, using OnSemble to drive a fun, enjoyable, and productive workplace, is where the magic starts.
“There was a growing disconnect between the branches,” began Aimee Glerum, Oswego Federal Credit Union’s Vice President of Lending. “Every time we opened a new branch it seemed like things were happening differently. We realized that people were using different forms. People were using different processes.”
They began to search for a solution for their employees, one to ensure that their information systems were always up to date, and make it easier to align around policies and procedures. Aimee continued, “We needed a solution to get us all on the same page. One spot where we can find all the forms. One spot where we can get all the details about our products and services. Because we were growing, a spot where we can put faces to names. And we wanted a space where we could have some fun. We are about having fun here at Oswego.”
They found that solution with Passageways OnSemble Employee Intranet. “When we look for solutions we look for partners. We look for people that have that similar feel as us, which Passageways very much did. We see Passageways as a partner.” A space to have fun, a solution that engages their employees, that was absolutely essential for Oswego.
Employee engagement can occasionally have a hazy meaning. But defining what employee engagement means and why it’s important was easy for Oswego. “When our employees are excited about things, when their energy goes up, they are more productive at work. They get excited. When they are engaged they are more focused on their tasks, the members, and everything that’s going on. I think that’s really huge, and it’s why employee engagement is important for us.”
The methods employed to drive employee engagement by Oswego are truly an example of innovation in how OnSemble is used. From games, scavenger hunts, and ice-breakers, Oswego has used their portal to bring out the best in their employees, to bring levity to the office, and to keep their users coming back to their streamlined intranet where everything they need to work is in one simple place.
Core to OnSemble is the ability for anyone to make pages for their intranet. No matter what skillset or background, building a page for your portal is just a matter of dragging and dropping. Or as Aimee put it “You don’t have to have a PhD to actually create pages and do things in the portal. I mean, I am VP of Lending, and I can do it.” The ability to create pages on the fly was an opportunity for Oswego to create intricate and engaging games and events within their portal.
“Last year we did a whole Halloween redecoration of the portal. This year we wanted to do something different, so we thought why not make it a game?”
They landed on Hasbro’s Classic Mystery Game, recreating Clue within their portal. One employee would be assigned the unfortunate role as the culprit, while others were to play the innocent characters; Miss Scarlet, Colonel Michael Mustard, et al. The goal: for the employees to find clues hidden within their portal and to use OnSemble’s Employee Instant Messenger to interrogate their colleagues and solve murder!
Oswego's Clue Portal Designs! As you clicked about, clues would be given to solve the mystery.
“We decided we would make the employees the characters. We built out all the rooms from Clue as pages within our intranet. And what we did was we went around all the portal page rooms and put in objects. When you clicked on those objects it would provide you a clue about who was Colonel Mustard. Not only did you have to figure out who the employee was based on the clue, but you are also learning about your colleagues! For example, a clue may be given that Colonel Mustard was the youngest person on staff. And then you have to think about it, and then ask them send them a message ‘are you Colonel Mustard?”
Those inquisitive enough to solve the mystery were rewarded with prizes: a medal that read “Master Detective” and some candy (it was Halloween!)
Oswego's Little Known Facts Game
Their efforts to engage employees went beyond recreating classic board games. As Oswego continued to grow, they wanted to create meaningful connections within their portal. They devised a ‘little-known facts’ game. Aimee recalled “What I did was reach out to all employees and asked for them to give me a little-known fact about themselves. I created a page in the portal and put people’s faces on one side and little-known facts on the other. So, goal was to try and figure out who, for example, had climbed out their window to go to a party or who didn’t know how to whistle. It was a great way to learn more about each other. People would call someone up and ask if they knew how to whistle! It was a great way to get to know your fellow employees.”
The fun and excitement that Oswego brought to their staff through their innovative portal uses drove employee engagement and, crucially, portal usage. That was key to Oswego’s success. With everyone in one location, collaborating, sharing, and having fun, their alignment problems were solved. Everyone had the most up to date documents, policies, and procedures; the whole Oswego staff was communicating on Employee Instant Messenger, and everyone was able to better serve their members.
“I think because we engage our employees through new things in the portal, like those games, people actually use it. Because if we create a scavenger hunt or when we do something fun, you got to be in there and be active to win a prize and be recognized. So, by having everyone logged in and actually using OnSemble, you’re getting them information that’s the most up to date. All of your forms, all of your announcements, anything you are doing and putting on the portal, once you get them engaged with something fun, they are going to start using it. And that’s the number one most important thing, you want your employees to embrace it. Do something fun every once in a while, and your employees love it.”
Crucially, too, their success was dependent on finding a partner. Passageways brought the right ethic and vision to help them create a portal that brought their personality to the forefront.
“The Passageways family is very much like our family. Passageways gets really excited! They are energetic, they are always willing to help out, you know help you with any crazy idea you may have or something as simple as how do I do this, or how do I organize this? They are 100% onboard in supporting you and what you are doing. Along with that energy is that same love for the products as we have. I think it’s a really good partnership between us and Passageways, as far as how we do business, how we engage, and that excitement and that willingness to help in any manner”