A Customer Success Story

First Tech: Connecting Employees with Human Applications

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Today employees across industries, including financial services, are looking for more real-time development and feedback, which is why First Tech has invested in a complete transformation of its recognition and performance program. This case study explores how First Tech partnered with Workhuman to implement a human application solution that enhances communication and engagement, while creating deeper connections to company values and business goals.

At Workhuman Live I found exactly what I was looking for – technology to connect our employees and managers in a more meaningful way.

Chary Krout
Former Senior Vice President, Human Resources, First Tech Federal Credit Union

A not-for-profit, member-owned credit union, First Tech employs more than 1,500 people in eight states and Puerto Rico, and serves more than 550,000 members. Deeply rooted in the tech community and with a dedication to the credit union philosophy, People Helping People, First Tech believes in the power of leveraging technology to build deeper relationships.

Today employees across industries, including financial services, are looking for more real-time development and feedback, which is why First Tech has invested in a complete transformation of its recognition and performance program. This case study explores how First Tech partnered with Workhuman® to implement a human application solution that enhances communication and engagement, while creating deeper connections to company values and business goals.

100% of employees received a Recognize award within the first year

The challenge

When it came to employee recognition and performance management, First Tech sought a solution that could connect employees to the business and co- workers, and drive measurable business results.

“Recognition is important to our people and culture. Traditional annual bonus programs are a one-time shot in the arm and key contributions are often forgotten by the time we get to the annual performance review,” says Chary Krout, former senior vice president, human resources, at First Tech Federal Credit Union.

The company’s goal-setting process was not delivering true business impact. Employees were looking for more clarity and communication on performance.
And the leadership team wanted a solution that would help transition away from annual reviews, empowering employees to adapt and update priorities as the goals of the business changed, while reinforcing a culture of shared accountability.

3,400+ check-ins in one year through the Conversations pilot group

The solution

First Tech partnered with Workhuman to design and implement a human application solution composed of two programs – Recognize and Conversations – to give more visibility to meaningful work and inspire more frequent conversations across the organization.

Recognize is First Tech’s social recognition and reward program, which allows employees to recognize each other for demonstrating First Tech’s core values, such as “Engaged by working collaboratively” and “Dynamic by challenging the status quo.”

Having successfully demonstrated how recognition increases engagement and productivity, the project team secured executive buy-in for Recognize, leading to an investment of one percent of payroll into the program – with future plans to add even more investment.

“When you give meaningful recognition on the spot, it reinforces that employees’ work is meaningful,” says Chary.

A natural complement to Recognize is Conversations, a real-time performance development solution that enables more frequent check-ins, feedback, and priority-setting. Together, Conversations and Recognize tell the complete story of an employee’s impact and journey at First Tech.

“I am really excited that there is something connecting our leaders and our people. Our employees are really driving that interaction,” says Chary.

Employees who receive recognition are 2.5x less likely to leave First Tech

The result

In the first year alone, First Tech saw an immediate impact across the organization. For example, managers in contact centers use Recognize to motivate their teams, lift engagement, and remind employees who are often in challenging and stressful situations of everything they are doing right.

Not only have these programs improved communication, but they have also resulted in new data and insights. “Now our HR team knows where to focus our time to make the biggest impact,” says Chary. “We know which leaders are really interacting with employees. I’m most excited about the data we can leverage to make improvements for leaders and employees, ultimately supporting measurable business results.”

One significant data application is predicting turnover. Initial data analysis shows employees who give recognition are 2x less likely to leave than those who just receive recognition. And those who receive recognition are more than 2.5x less likely to leave than employees who have never been recognized.

Award Advisor, a key feature of Recognize that ensures givers of recognition are assigning appropriate award levels, has also helped to create equity and consistency across the organization. “Prior programs didn’t give as much clarity,” explains Chary. “This is a built-in tool to help our employees make award decisions based on output and impact.”

Launching Recognize and Conversations together has not only improved communication, but it has also given First Tech the most comprehensive look it’s ever had into the contributions of its people.

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