From the front lines

September 29, 2016
in Leadership

On September 7, our senior leaders stepped out from behind their desks to spend one full day with our frontline employees, to get a first-hand look at the day-to-day operations in our branches. We call this Closer to the Member Day, an annual event that supports our Member Experience Strategy. It’s just one of the many ways we strive to better understand the needs of our members. It’s also a chance for employees to get to know our senior leaders, ask questions and share feedback on what we’re doing right and areas we can improve.

Our regional presidents share their experiences on this year’s Closer to the Member Day below.

Susan Ewanick | President, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial

I spent this year’s Closer to the Member Day—my first in my role as president―at our Valley First branch in Guisachan Village, Kelowna. From the moment I arrived, our employees were busy with walk-ins for ICBC renewals and property insurance and the phones were active with members needing our assistance. One of the day’s most memorable interactions was with a couple who had recently consolidated all of their dealings with Valley First from another major bank. It was our personal service and knowledgeable advice, combined with our strong community involvement that brought them in our doors.

As any of our senior leaders will tell you, Closer to the Member Day is an opportunity to directly see and understand the needs of our members and member-facing employees. But beyond just observing, our goal is to listen to their feedback so we can empower them to make the positive changes that will really enable us to live out our brand promise of “Keeping it Simple.”

Randy Bertsch | President, Island Savings

I’m always so impressed when I see the tremendous work of our employees on Closer to the Member Day―from their constant support of one another, to the many ways they go above and beyond to provide our members exceptional service. In my visit to our Woodgrove branch in Nanaimo, it was so rewarding to see the talent pipeline developing, particularly within our millennial generation, whose inspired ideas and impassioned interactions with members are making a difference.

I spent my lunch hour engaged in stimulating conversation with our brilliant employees. I noticed several people were initially hesitant to address my probing questions on the challenges and frustrations they face in their job. Having said that, once the conversation got rolling I was inspired as to their willingness to open up to me with invaluable insights about their day-to-day opportunities and challenges.

I think employees often underestimate the value of their feedback, both the good and the bad. Or, perhaps they might assume their ideas aren’t strong enough to be voiced. But the success of any organization rides on the willingness of senior leaders to be open and receptive to comments from all employees, finding ways to interpret these ideas to create effective solutions.

Dave Lanphear | President, Envision Financial

I’ve participated many times before, though this year’s Closer to the Member Day marked my first as President of Envision Financial. Every year is different from the last, determined by the type of day my host is having; it could be a day of compliance, or member meetings on personal loans, investments, RESPs, or any number of other topics.

I feel fortunate in my role to be able to influence swift change in a meaningful way. While spending the day at the branch I noticed our employees were required to walk across the branch and behind the teller wicket to access the fax machine. Why? Because there was no fax-enabled machines close to their workstations. Luckily, we were able to adjust their set-up on the spot to make faxing much more convenient. At a casual glance, this may not have felt like an issue that needed addressing, though from the perspective of these employees, eliminating this constant up and down made a huge impact.

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