UFCU utilizes Interact technology to develop and reinforce a collaborative culture, supporting connections and communication through their new intranet, "UFCU Connect."
The Consumer Lending Meeting Forum has allowed transparency into the objectives of Consumer Lending managers and provided a space to collaborate without feeling the need to have a ‘meeting to discuss the meeting’ (saving them literally hours of their precious time!) This initiative, as well as the Memo Review Forum, has also opened the eyes of the management team as to the potential and capabilities of UFCU Connect.
University Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1936, and it has grown into a strong, healthy and growing financial cooperative, serving more than 200 universities, associations, and employers in Central Texas and Galveston County.
While their company expanded and grew to currently serve the needs of more than 251,000 member/owners in Central Texas and Galveston Counties, their intranet did not.
Their legacy intranet, initially created in 2002, grew more limited and outdated with time, eventually losing the ability to service the needs of both employee and the cooperative.
Employee focus groups and organization-wide surveys brought to light the intranet’s inadequacies in providing staff with current, relevant information through advanced search tools. This lack indicated that the existing intranet had far exceeded its lifespan in terms of information architecture and relevant technology.
UFCU’s employee expectations for tools and technologies that provide similar experiences to what they use in their outside lives cultivated a thirst for change in their organization.
Their strategic goal was formed: to nurture an environment in which well-trained and equipped employees can consistently deliver convenient solutions and a superior service experience. To help make that happen, UFCU turned to Interact to implement their new and improved intranet as its out-of-the-box platform. UFCU felt Interact would best meet the needs of users in the areas of content, search, homepage, and collaboration/communication.
A collaborative creation and review process
Listed as a significant inadequacy within UFCU’s legacy intranet was its scattered and uncooperative nature when it came to information sharing, memo communication, and administrative tasks. Since its creation in 2002, the old intranet served as an internal solution to supplant lengthy MS Word policy and procedure documents. However, this workflow was managed entirely by email and was lacking in efficiency.
The utility of email as a communication tool has been refuted as it often ends with inboxes cluttered with irrelevant and outdated information. Knowing that they needed to quickly provide answers to user questions and connect colleagues to share information, UFCU decided to transform its intranet with Team Spaces.
Incorporating team spaces satisfied four key needs:
- Make it easy for team members to submit memo content they want to communicate
- Reduce time/duplicate work for administrators to process a memo communications request
- Make review and approval quick and easy for content review stakeholders
- Make it easy for all stakeholders to find and act on communication promptly
With the new intranet, users can move information previously shared via email to a centralized and collective forum. A Team Space landing page clearly displayed user experience expectations, rules for using the Team Space, and who to contact for support.
With the rollout of the Memo review forum and form, the Mortgage Lending managers have been able to communicate important information to the team, without the back and forth emails. They can go to one spot and submit their feedback, allowing me to better serve the mortgage team by effectively communicating correct and timely updates to the team.
After completing a six-month pilot, Team Spaces were fit with a standardized design to prevent confusion when navigating between Team Spaces and set to launch organization-wide.
An innovative take on two-way communication
For UFCU, collaboration didn’t end at well-communicated memos and defined processes. Using Interact technology, they strove to build a relationship of trust between employees that includes responsiveness to member needs, as well as concern for member well-being. To put this into practice, UFCU placed their focus on internal campaigns “Take 5” and their employee engagement survey.
Take 5 is a month-long campaign created to encourage employees and their managers to “Take 5” and empower employees to speak freely with their managers in a safe environment. Participating employees are entered to win prizes each week including the grand prize at the end of the campaign.
Using the new intranet, the campaign managers wanted to increase engagement, lower time consumed validating participating employees and make it easy for users to update selfies on UFCU Connect.
UFCU used their intranet homepage design wisely, creating a winner teaser at the top of the homepage and posting a banner inviting users to participate in the forum.
A one-click survey with name recognition made it easy for users to share their participation. UFCU brought a much-needed element of fun to their campaign. Employees were able to easily submit photos and share quality stories via the automated photo gallery. Submission became mobile, allowing for participants to upload their selfie via email, so it automatically updates to the gallery.
The overall ease of use brought the desired result, cementing an increase in participation to the Take 5 forum and creating a public forum for all employees.
“The ability to see the photos being submitted more real-time, the easy access to tracking participation, and the landing page for the all-employee forum all contributed to the 8% increase in participation,” says Jaclyn C, Organizational Development Manager.
One-stop shop for support and enhanced user experience
Upon the launch of the new UFCU Connect, a learning curve for both users and content creators became apparent. Difficulties arose as more and more employees became tasked with managing and developing the content on UFCU Connect.
The intranet team was responsible for streamlining and simplifying project discovery, onboarding and education. However, multiple service requests for the same bugs drove UFCU to create a one-stop shop for content creators and users to learn how to use the new intranet.
To get and keep everyone on the same page, regular communication was necessary. The UFCU Connect Support Portal was created. It was designed as a fun, “sparkly” landing page with quick-start guides for different user profiles and needs.
This landing page hosted a plethora of resources including:
- A personal greeting and quick-start links to essential pages for new users, categorized based on experience and need
- Blogs for best practices and known problems
- A one-page talking points guide to help content managers properly cascade information to content authors
This page features bite-sized, easily digestible tips on key staff messages, communication tips, and ways to achieve maximum transparency with UFCU users.
Impact of a great member experience
UFCU prides itself on collaboration and connection not just between employees but also with members. They created the Taking Care of Business page as a resource for employees to help them personally connect and understand the impact of providing an exceptional member experience.
“In UFCU we strive to be members in our business partners financial journey because it’s not about the numbers, it’s about relationships,” says Lisa Goddard, Intranet Manager at UFCU. The Taking Care of Business Landing page, now in the pilot phase, makes it easy for employees to support business members, whether purchasing items for personal use or for workplace activities.
Custom created icons, large buttons and a streamlined user experience quickly and easily connects users to important information such as business data, open times, and instructions for online purchase. Each business directory listing includes the business logo, quick links, short description and when available, storytelling.
Design and storytelling reinforce how UFCU employees influence the member experience, giving weight to the connection between employee work and how members feel cared for and empowered by their organization.
Bizzy Kitty, a bot that originated as an inside joke about a UFCU employee who had a fondness of cats, serves as the mascot and guide to the Taking Care of Business page. Kitty encourages the exchange of feedback from participants via a survey form that addresses potential negative feedback, first reactions to the program, and potential avenues for improvement.
A shared success
When it comes to metrics and goals, UFCU Connect’s key performance indicators are available to all staff and published quarterly. All employees can watch and track the growth and success of their new intranet.
The UFCU Connect KPI Dashboard shared key insights and trends, as well as stats on engagement, employee satisfaction, collaboration, and adoption.
Results have been positive as UFCU is shown to operate over its targeted goal. Within the first quarter, they reported over 19,098 monthly sessions, 26 active team spaces, and 10,000 average monthly searches. Their results dictate a path of steady improvement for the future of UFCU.