Money is not the only motivator

In a society where money and various tangible rewards seem to be significant drivers both personally and professionally, how can credit unions and other co-operatives effectively motivate their employees without increasing year-end bonuses? It’s difficult for credit unions to compete with larger financial institutions in terms of tangible rewards, as we don’t have the resources to do so. Although extrinsic motivation such as bonuses, commission, and other tangible rewards are useful in guiding employees to meet performance targets, ultimately contributing to the success of the organization, this type of motivation is not sufficient to fully engage employees as it narrows our focus to one set of goals. This is contradicting to the values of the credit union as credit unions strive to better the community as a whole.

When I think “how can I make a difference in my community?” extrinsic motivators certainly aren’t the first thing that come to mind. When credit unions provide their employees with opportunities to appeal to their own values and personal growth this fully engages employees to be the best they can be. As Holly Herman says “personal development is as important as specific professional development. It shows you (the credit union) care about developing better people, creating better employees.” This is more consistent with credit union values as creating better people and employees will help create a better community.

Dan Pink’s Drive video stands out to me as he discusses the connection between engagement and autonomy, and how self-direction significantly increases engagement. He argues that if organizations start treating people more like people, they not only have the ability to make work lives better off, but make the world a little better. When credit unions provide employees with volunteer time or opportunities, such as participating in the SYL community, they are giving employees the chance the make their own decisions outside of their regular daily work and effectively motivate themselves. This autonomy contributes to not only developing the employees within the credit union system, but strengthening the credit union system as a whole.

Do not overlook the personal development and volunteer opportunities that are available to you. I challenge you to participate in more activities outside of your day-to-day tasks, in order to develop yourself and your community. Although there may not be a monetary benefit, at the end of the day you’re given a chance to grow yourself and help your community grow. As giving is one of the post powerful gestures, you will be surprised at how fulfilled you will feel. As Shannon said in SYL’s February blog post, “if we take time to step outside of our own lives and look for ways to help others that is truly where we find fulfillment.”

Climb photo –
Dan Pink Drive Video –

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