What Can Your CU Learn From Kidnapping Caper At Call FCU?

There are few moments of truth in our business, but when they come it makes everything we do worthwhile. They come when you get a letter of thanks from a grateful member or when you’re recognized for your work by your peers.

Mine came when I came to work and found a ransom note on my desk. The note stated that the cardboard cutout of “Hero,” our mascot dog, had been kidnapped from our lobby. The carefully cut out magazine letters promised the safe return of Hero in exchange for candy bars.

As I’ve learned from years of robbery training, it is important to take all threats seriously. I quickly did as the perpetrator instructed and left fun sized candy bars. Later another note was left, “Big Candy Bars”. Of course we took this seriously and did a thorough search of the building. Hero, the cardboard mascot, was found tied up and blindfolded in the janitor’s closet. We issued an e-mail to all staff asking if they had information. What came after that was sheer magic.

There were numerous outraged e-mails that full of conspiracy theories about who would do such a thing to our beloved mascot. I learned a few very important lessons that day:

* As managers we spend a lot of time on salaries and benefits for our employees thinking that will produce happy employees. But the truth is that no one wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to do a good job today because my employer offers a great HMO.” People want to work in places where they can connect with something greater than themselves.

* As silly as the kidnapping of cardboard is, it’s impossible not to smile. Why not have a little fun at work? Most of us spend nearly as much time in our offices as our homes.

* You just can’t comprehend how deep a connection your staff have to your credit union until it’s put to the test.

So, what’s the reward to the credit union when staff are engaged? A hero’s ransom!

Kelley Parks is VP of Marketing & Business Development at Call FCU, Richmond, Va., and can be reached at kparks@callfcu.org. (c) 2008 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com