Gaining Awareness

We all know it, it’s been said many different ways, and so many times – so let me make this short: Our lives, business, and normalcies have entirely changed. So, when our Human Resource and Talent Development Officer, Melissa Deutsch, suggested checking our team status by executing a word cloud, my immediate answer was “run with it.”

According to Microsoft AppSource, “word cloud is a visual representation of word frequency and value.” We used this medium to “poll” our staff to gain insight into how they are feeling and what motivates them.

As a small company, we have frequent touchpoints with our employees to check-in. However, it can be hard to get authentic and vulnerable feedback through these interactions. Amid record-breaking weeks, honest and unfiltered feedback was a must.

Importance of Team Awareness

Awareness of team status is critical, especially during hectic times or in the course of change. A leadership team cannot lead effectively without empathy for team status.

Yes, culture is essential, but current status, morale, health, and vitality have immediate impacts on an organization’s culture. Without ongoing awareness of how your team is doing, you can have the best culture in the world and still not know whether the culture is cultivating or dying.

Just like communication, consciousness is a redundant constant in good culture.

The Power of Simplicity

Truth: we are all busy, especially these days – trying to stay ahead of the next wave of information and changes. Gaining insight into team awareness doesn’t need to be a long, drawn-out survey, where staff questions what value their feedback will have.

Instead, simple active tools are useful in gauging team awareness because they require participation.

Activating participation among staff is essential in allowing them to share their voice, whether positive or negative. Participation is meaningful because it is independent, unfiltered, and empowering. Empowered team members are happy team members, even when under stress.

Drake Bank’s Participation

We sent the team two questions to respond to with one word: “Describe the team at Drake Bank” and “What keeps you motivated.” The prompt was sent during a hectic, record-breaking week. As part of the critical financial service sector, we have been safely working throughout the pandemic.

I expected to see words like, busy, overwhelmed, and tired, of course – we all are, we’ve been working long hours to support our clients. The Paycheck Protection Program directly hit over two-thirds of our team with an overwhelming volume and strict timelines, not to mention the interest rates being low and driving business to our mortgage team.

I was comforted, however, to see that a majority of the answers were uplifting and captured the shared core values of the bank: Dedicated, Reliable, Authentic, Knowledgeable, Ethical. Our team sees itself as ‘resilient,’ ‘phenomenal,’ ‘strong,’ and ‘dedicated’ during a stressful time.

And look at what motivates us! ‘Dedication,’ ‘clients,’ ‘results,’ and ‘teamwork.’

Validation of Authenticity

So what does this word cloud feedback tell us? It confirmed the obvious, that yes, we are tired, busy, and working on all gears; but, we have a great team who are ready to tackle it all. We are resilient, and we will come out of this together and strong

As Drake Bank’s leader, I’d say we are blessed. Drake Bank is blessed with a hardworking and client-centric team. But the most significant part is the abundance and amplification of our core values: Dedication, Reliability, Authenticity, Knowledge, and Ethics. I see our core values and mission interweaved with many of the words in the word cloud. It confirms we are the right team on the right path toward excellence by focusing on working together with our clients and our community to build a better future.

Try using Word Cloud to check up on your team! Highly recommended *****

By: Greg Larson, President & CEO, Drake Bank