The bank whose biggest investment is in relationships.
And it’s paying off.


Case Study

Company:

West Michigan Community Bank (WMCB)


Size:

100 – 250 employees


Industry:

Financial Services


Mission Statement :

Where Relationships Matter


Using uMap™ for:

  • Employee Engagement
  • Performance Management
  • Training & Development

We saw an opportunity to enhance our communication through uMap™. To learn the brain science behind inclusion. To instill a better way to do reviews. uMap™ helped us find a vehicle by which we could promote that and drive our people-first culture.

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Culture Leader:
Monica Meinzer

Snr. VP & Director of HR at west michigan community bank

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Culture Leader:
Phil Koning

President of west michigan community bank

Breaking The Mold With uMap™

For over four decades, West Michigan Community Bank has built their sterling reputation on two things–a steadfast commitment to preserving and furthering community. And cementing themselves as the bank with a laser-like focus on meaningful relationships with their customers and employees. Here’s how by working with uMap™ they were able to give meaning to those values.

The banking industry has no shortage of dry stereotypes. WMCB wanted more. For their employees. For their customers. It’s right in their tagline: Where Relationships Matter. When you make that promise, you have to deliver on it–every day. But that connection to people isn’t something you set and forget. uMap™ integrates that effort into everyday life.

And if the last two years have shown anything, it’s that you need to find new ways to deepen and strengthen your relationships. The banking environment doesn’t allow for remote work to always be possible. WMCB knew they had to engage their people to a point where they would want to come back for more. uMap™ provided WMCB a guided and simple process that laid the ground for meaningful relationships.

Using uMap™ at West Michigan Community Bank

It’s worth it to maintain our culture. uMap™ opened people’s eyes to things they didn’t know, insights about what makes people who they are.

Engagement with uMap™

WMCB rolled out uMap™ in 2019. With personal experience of a leadership training program that uMap™ offers alongside the platform, Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources, Monica Meinzer, had already understood what introducing the platform would do to unify people and personalize the employee experience at WMCB.

The power of uMap™’s engagement piece begins when employees complete and share their own uMap™ — the living data that highlights their best selves and connects them to the organization’s mission. As the President of WMCB, Phil set the tone right away, knowing that sharing isn’t always second nature for some. “I played the guinea pig and shared my own uMap™ with all employees at each of the branch meetings to give them an example of what was to come.” Monica followed, knowing that she wasn’t deeply vulnerable by nature. “The vulnerability piece of what uMap™ offers was definitely hard for me. But, as you go through the process, you begin to understand the impact it has on driving engagement in your team.”

Learning to practice vulnerability and build the trust that naturally grows on an engaged team, Phil shared, “At our last planning meeting we brought an item of significance. There were some people that shared things about themselves that I never knew. I was really blown away by their courage, and it changed the way I communicated with them moving forward.”

Since the pandemic, WMCB has pivoted their engagement strategy using uMap™ to include incentive and morale programs.

Thrive365™ was a new way to interact and immediately we saw the value to enhance our culture on a daily basis. There was suddenly accountability for both employees and managers. It gave us such great feedback, such great interaction, we wondered why we didn’t do this before.

Performance with uMap™

With the initiative to evolve away from annual reviews, the Thrive365™ feature has helped give management a consistent opportunity to better support their people. Monica noted that managers are finding real value in a more consistent process and employees are enjoying a tool that gives them an opportunity to prioritize their growth. “Of course meeting four times a year versus one does take more time, but as people feel more connected to the bank and their managers, we view it more as an investment because of the return in productivity.” Phil added his own experience with the transition from annual reviews to continuous coaching saying, “I’ve been giving performance reviews for 40 years, and this is the first time I enjoyed it.”

The WMCB team has recently started to use the people analytics that come alongside the Thrive365™ feature. So far, it’s setting them up to track development opportunities, personalize recognition, and understand where in the organization their mission is being most authentically lived. “It certainly makes things much simpler on my end having the information centralized in the software. The data I’m starting to see is really valuable, too.”

In combination with these tools and their overall commitment to creating community at WMCB, Phil takes pride in the culture they’re building. “We have really good relationships with our people. We share a lot because we’re open to it.”

I left with valuable information and new tools to use at work. The program took me out of my comfort zone–highlighting the power of connection and vulnerability–for leaders, for teams, for communication – all which help to build our culture.

Training & Development with uMap™

WMCB is a full-use client, using some supportive training to help reenforce the culture they’re working to build with new or advancing employees. “We saw the value in it after going through the training. Why not help our employees experience it for themselves?”

Through a mentor program, Monica invites participating mentees to experience the Right Brain Justified workshop. “I’ve received many emails from them explaining how helpful it was to understand the brain science behind better communication.”

As for the Unmistakable LEADER™ program that they ask their high-level managers to participate in, Monica said, “As you go through it, you understand the importance of breaking down those barriers. I left with valuable information and new tools to use at work. The program took me out of my comfort zone–highlighting the power of connection and vulnerability–for leaders, for teams, for communication – all which help to build our culture.”

Takeaways

We don’t want other banks to have the same secret!

When asked how they might advise other banks to enrich their culture with uMap™, Phil joked, “We wouldn’t. We don’t want other banks to have the same secret!…Of course we would recommend it to all banks. Any way our industry is viewed in a better light, that’s good for all of us.”

With their commitment to relationships and using uMap™ to make it all stick, WMCB experienced two very distinct upsides:

  • Better retention: Through a time where remote work has taken the world by storm, banking remains a more in-person job for many causing turnover concerns. Thanks to their continuous effort to build a culture people are excited about, that’s not been the case for WMCB. “As an organization, we aren’t losing many people. Those at our officer level know what it’s like to work at other banks, and they know what it’s like to work here, and it’s the comparison that keeps them with us.”
  • Better culture: For WMCB, their tagline of Where Relationships Matter means more than patting employees on the back for a job well done. They’ve invested in the tools to support their people as people, making the return on productivity and overall engagement well worth their investment.