ICAE Dallas Spring 1999 Exchange – The Power of “Why?”

The Power of “Why?” at CUNA Mutual Intrinsic motivation improves customer service

Knowing the answer to the question, “Why?” is a key to staff motivation and great customer service at CUNA Mutual Insurance Group.

Steve Goldberg, Consumer Affairs Officer and Vice President, Corporate Quality, described CUNA Mutual’s effort to leverage its staff’s intrinsic motivation as a source of growth and performance.

CUNA Mutual is headquartered at the Credit Union Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and provides insurance services to credit unions and their members throughout the world.

Goldberg explained the roots and founding principles of CUNA Mutual. Created by its customers (credit unions) in 1935, CUNA Mutual serves 11,000 credit unions and their 70 million members today.

CUNA Mutual has several initiatives in place to help staff understand “why” they come to work each day.

  • Marketplace internships for all managers and officers
  • “Voice of Customer” videos
  • Policyowners Council
  • Customer focus training
  • “What we’re all about” advertising series—internal and external

Goldberg said indications show that CUNA Mutual is on the right track with its motivation efforts. He cited the firm’s low employee turnover, low absenteeism, dominant market share in key product lines, and 98% renewal ratio in group product lines.

Each organization has a story to tell about “why” we come to work, said Goldberg. He encouraged the audience to evaluate and strengthen their organizations’ own climate for intrinsic motivation and offered attendees this checklist to unleash the Power of “Why?” in their own staff motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation Checklist

  1. Employees understand how and why organization started.
  2. Celebrate specific examples of how organization makes a difference in customers’ lives.
  3. Consistent positioning of new projects and services impact on customers.
  4. Staff understands how rates, services and results compare to competitors.
  5. Each employee can explain how his/her job affects customers.
  6. Goals, metrics, and results are structured and communicated to help employees see how their daily work affects overall business outcomes.
  7. Customer surveys, complaints, and other feedback are shared with employees.
  8. Employees know that CEO is passionate about customer service.
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