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Leading with CARE: Elevating Employee Engagement in Your Credit Union

November 20, 2023

By: Keather Snyder

This article was written for readers of our partner publication CUInsight. It received such a positive reaction, we decided to share it with our weekly blog audience. We hope you find it helpful as well.

Have you heard about mouse jigglers? I discovered them during a recent lunch with a colleague dedicated to enhancing employee engagement for businesses. While discussing my upcoming speech on supporting hybrid teams, she urged me to mention "the jiggler." Curious, I inquired further. She enthusiastically explained how mouse jigglers simulate mouse movement to prevent screensavers and sleep mode, a device in high demand due to employers monitoring online statuses. This traffic light system tracks employee availability, signaling green for available, yellow for away, white for offline, and red for busy. It's intended to indirectly gauge productivity, but it's causing a trust divide between employers and employees.

The rise of mouse jigglers reflects employees' attempts to evade monitoring. These devices keep screens active, maintaining an "available" status even when the user is occupied with other tasks. This conversation with my colleague led us to a more significant concern: the implications of such monitoring on employee engagement.

In the dynamic landscape of credit unions, where community impact and member trust are paramount, your team members represent the true wealth of your business. They drive member service excellence and embody your credit union's mission. To unlock their full potential and cultivate an engaged workforce, leaders must embrace strategies focused on building trust and caring about each individual. It's not about monitoring availability; it's about prioritizing employee engagement.

Why is employee engagement more critical than ever? According to Haiilo,

  • Highly engaged organizations are up to 23% more profitable.
  • Companies with high employee engagement see a 41% decrease in mistakes.
  • Engaged workforces experience 41% less absenteeism.
  • Organizations with high employee engagement witness a 59% reduction in employee turnover.

However, the reality is concerning. Gallup's latest study reveals that only 23% of workers are actively engaged, with 18% actively disengaged. Over 50% fall into the "conditionally engaged" category, indicating that merely 23% of your staff are thriving and genuinely committed to your credit union's mission. The remaining 18% are not just disengaged but potentially disruptive to their peers' productivity, especially those in the 59% who are on the fence.

So, what can you do to ensure your team doesn't fall into this disengagement trap? It all boils down to one essential ingredient: CARE. Leaders must show they care by engaging with each team member individually, tailoring their approach, and maintaining consistency in communication, team norms, and continuous touch points.

CARE for Every Team Member

In the hustle and bustle of the financial world, it's easy to overlook the human element. However, your credit union's mission and values come to life through your team members. Each individual brings a unique blend of skills, experiences, and motivations. As a leader, it's crucial to genuinely CARE about their well-being, growth, and job satisfaction.

  • Show appreciation for their contributions, big and small.
  • Invest in their professional development.
  • Take an interest in their personal lives and achievements outside of work.

When employees see that you CARE about their personal and professional growth, they are more likely to stay committed to your credit union's mission.

ENGAGE Individually and TAILOR Your Approach

Recognize that each employee is a unique individual with distinct motivators, communication styles, and work preferences.

  • Understand what motivates each team member.
  • Adapt your coaching and recognition strategies to align with their specific motivators.
  • Pay attention to their communication style and adapt your coaching conversations accordingly.
  • Consider each individual's preferred pace of work.
  • Balance the need for structure and autonomy.

Begin by understanding what motivates each team member. Some may be driven by recognition and rewards, while others may find purpose in personal growth and the credit union's mission. Tailor your coaching and recognition strategies to align with their specific motivators. For those motivated by recognition, provide regular feedback and acknowledge their contributions publicly. For those seeking personal growth, offer opportunities for skill development and advancement within the credit union.

Next, pay attention to their communication style. Some employees prefer relational communication, emphasizing relationships and feelings, while others lean toward fact-based communication, focusing on data and logic. Adapt your coaching conversations accordingly. Use emotional intelligence and active listening when coaching relationally-oriented employees. For those who prefer a fact-based approach, provide clear, data-driven information and logical reasoning.

TAILOR your approach

Effective leadership is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It's about adapting and TAILORing your strategies to meet the unique needs of your team members. Consider each individual’s preferred pace of work. Some thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic environment, while others excel with a slower, more methodical pace. Offer new challenges and variety to those who thrive in a fast-paced setting. For employees who prefer a slower pace, provide stability, and assign routine or long-range tasks that benefit from patience and tenacity.

Balance the need for structure and autonomy. While some employees thrive with clear guidelines and structured processes, others are at their best when given autonomy and creative freedom. Customize your coaching and management style to provide the right level of guidance. Set clear expectations for those who need structure, and allow flexibility and opportunities for innovation for those who prefer autonomy.


Consistency is key to maintaining open lines of communication with your team and building trust and stability within the organization.

  • Conduct regular anonymous surveys to gather feedback and act on it.
  • Hold recurring open forums to share updates and celebrate accomplishments.
  • Make time for one-on-one conversations to understand employees' personal and professional goals.
  • Consistency in leadership and communication fosters a positive workplace culture where employees feel valued and heard.

In the dynamic world of credit unions, leadership isn't just about managing finances; it's about inspiring and nurturing a team passionate about serving members and communities. Leading with CARE—Caring for every person on your team, Engaging individually, Tailoring your approach, and striving for Consistency—is the foundation of effective leadership and employee engagement.

By incorporating these principles into your leadership philosophy, you'll create a dynamic, engaged workforce that drives your credit union's success. As you nurture engagement within your team, your credit union will continue to thrive, serving members and communities with excellence for generations to come, and perhaps, we'll see a decline in mouse jiggler sales


Originally published on

Keather Snyder

President and COO, is a leader in helping organizations improve and optimize their talent selection, development, and company culture. For over 25 years she’s sold and built global sales teams, created innovative marketing strategies and led exceptional client delivery and professional services organizations.

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