Creating a healthy workplace environment doesn’t happen overnight. Heritage Bank has been around since 1927 and has since accumulated almost 800 employees. Mike Nelson, the director of talent and development at Heritage Bank, knows a thing or two about creating a happy and healthy workplace. Here are his five ways to create a healthy workplace environment.

Heritage Bank
Mike Nelson, director of talent and development, has worked at Heritage Bank for over four years. Photo courtesy: Heritage Bank

Recognition and Appreciation

It’s no secret that affirmations, recognition and appreciation go hand in hand with a healthy business and workplace environment. At Heritage Bank, they’ve implemented a few unique things to help their staff feel the love.

An online recognition portal allows employees to get acknowledged on their anniversary milestones or even for help on a project or assignment. In addition, employees can easily send eCards to one another to add some brightness to their busy work days.

On Heritage Bank’s quarterly All Banker Calls, they take the time to give their employees thanks for their hard work. They also make time for staff members to share their experiences and success stories.

During Banker Appreciation, employees hop on a 10- to 15-minute call to engage in team-building exercises. They even play games, such as bingo, where staff can win exciting prizes, like a $500 gift card, Mariners tickets, days off and more.

More recently, the bank has also implemented quarterly No Meetings Week. No Meetings Week is, you guessed it, a week of absolutely no meetings. Throughout the week, employees are encouraged to get themselves organized and focus on their work tasks, free of distraction.

Heritage Bank
The staff at Heritage Bank work together both in and out of the office, supporting their community through volunteer days, like Day of Caring. Photo courtesy: Heritage Bank

Teamwork and Connection

At Heritage Bank, employees are treated like family. They are encouraged to build thoughtful relationships and work as a team.

For up to one full eight-hour work day, the bank will pay for their employees to get involved with their communities and participate in community service. They’ll even help their employees find an organization that feels like a good fit.

Soon, the bank will invite employees to attend a Heritage Bank Volunteer Day so they can spend time helping various organizations and nonprofit throughout our communities clean up parks, collect and pack food, paint houses and more.

Once a month, the bank’s online publication, Banker Bulletin, is sent out to all employees. These monthly newsletters allow staff to stay updated about what’s happening around the office and within the company. It informs staff about new hires, milestone anniversaries, promotions, bank operations and upcoming trainings.

Career Development and Upward Mobility

Flexibility to move onward and upward keeps employee retention and engagement high in the workplace.

Nelson stressed that Heritage Bank always wants its employees to know that where they start isn’t where they need to be in the future. “There are other areas of banking that are outside of the regular traditional branch banking and customer service,” explains Nelson. “You have areas like human resources, marketing, IT. We want them to be engaged in their career. To move into different areas of the bank and to allow us to help them get there.”

Heritage Bank
Mike Nelson and his coworkers get silly with photo props during Employee Appreciation Week. Photo courtesy: Heritage Bank

Communication and Feedback

Part of Heritage Bank’s mission is to continuously improve, which couldn’t be more in line with how they cultivate a healthy workplace environment. “We may be doing something one way today, and it might be great, but we always have in mind how can we continually improve,” Nelson notes.

This type of constant growth and adaptation is what makes the environment at Heritage Bank so unique. They continually ask themselves: What could we do better? How can we adjust to make our business a better place for our customers and employees?

In addition to living out their mission statement daily, they also send employees a survey each year asking about the culture. The survey asks employees a range of questions, from how Heritage Bank is doing as a company to what areas of the business could they feel could be adjusted.

Leadership and Support

Heritage Bank emphasizes the importance of welcoming nurturing and non-threatening conversations between colleagues and higher-ups to provide the necessary leadership support.

To achieve this, employees use a rating system to evaluate how they feel they are doing on a task or project. That way, if they are struggling, they can get more support, and if they feel confident, they can avoid being micromanaged.

In addition, one-on-one interviews and meetings with higher-ups help employees at Heritage Bank feel supported on a personal level. These consistent check ins allow employees to stay on track of their one-, three- or five-year plans and goals.

Heritage Bank is doing its due diligence to help create a professional and healthy workplace for their employees. To learn more, visit the Heritage Bank website, follow them on Facebook or call 800.455.6126.

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