The Effect of Empowerment: A Culture of Service

When great service starts from the top, credit union members will reap the benefits! The same goes for how a service bureau, like Synergent, provides service to member credit unions. Here, Rebekah Higgins, Assistant Vice President for Synergent Card Services, explains how by empowering her staff, the result is the best possible service experience for credit unions.

How would you describe your management style?I would describe my management style as relatively hands off. I trust my employees to be able do their jobs to the best of their ability and to come to me if they have challenges or if they need guidance. Management of Card Services is a collaborative effort that is shared amongst all employees.

Synergent has recently conducted a series of enhanced service trainings. How have these trainings impacted how you interact with your employees? 
These sessions have been invaluable to my interaction and leadership roles within the department. Every session has provided an extensive amount of insight into how to approach situations and how to utilize and interact with staff in a manner that creates an environment where all employees feel as if they are contributing to our success and that they are valued. The coaching sessions I have received as an employee from my supervisor have allowed me to feel empowered in order to make additional decisions concerning the employees who report to me.

How has your staff responded to these changes?
The changes have been small, but positive. I have started to see staff be more confident with responses to credit unions and provide helpful feedback regarding some of the challenges within the department. I also think that simply spending more time listening to staff and interacting with them on a day to day basis rather than waiting for a situation that has been escalated to me has allowed staff to be more vocal and feel like their opinion is valued. While I have made it very clear that there may be reasons behind some of the processes and procedures that prevent changes from being made, it doesn’t hurt to ask and reevaluate these items in order to determine whether we are working in the most efficient manner.

Why do you think your staff have such an enthusiastic approach to serving your credit union partners? 
I think I am very lucky to have a group of employees who take pride in the service they provide and are invested in the objectives of the organization. I think that my staff empathizes with the credit unions and the challenges they face and try to put themselves in their shoes and respond as if they are directly benefited by the assistance they provide. I also think that there are several different methods that the organization and credit unions use to reward and thank employees for their hard work and dedication, which also motivate employees to want to go above and beyond to proactively assist credit unions with the challenges they may face in regards to their card programs.

As you start the work week, it’s a question worth considering: how empowered are your employees?