Liberty Bank for SavingsBancWorks Improves Efficiency for Liberty Bank for Savings
With 113 years of service, Liberty Bank for Savings is committed to providing a safe place for people to invest their hard-earned savings. The Chicago-based community bank is also dedicated to leveraging technology to enhance its operations. That’s why it opted to install BancWorks, a turn-key employee intranet solution from Banc Intranets.
The need for BancWorks was obvious. Like many businesses, Liberty Bank for Savings didn’t have an intranet in place and had been relying on the telephone and email to transmit employee-related information and communications. However, it was challenging to keep up with the most current version of the different documents being maintained on everyone’s computer. Employees would often tweak their copy of the files, creating new adaptations—and causing confusion. As another point of frustration, there was no centralized location for storing “master” copies of the documents. It wasn’t a major problem, but it was an efficiency issue, said James Smigiel, who served as project manager during the implementation of BancWorks. “It wasn’t like our organization didn’t run because of it,” Smigiel said. “But the intranet has made things much easier.”
With BancWorks, Liberty Bank for Savings has access to a full suite of features that are specifically created to help financial institutions effectively manage information internally. BancWorks is also a useful communication tool for notifying employees about new products, policy updates and other relevant information. And because it’s a user-friendly, browser-based system, no special knowledge or equipment is needed to access BancWorks. Using the product is as easy as operating a word processor, so management and employees can enjoy the intranet’s features without the help of the IT department.
The documents repository is one of the key features Liberty Bank for Savings is using from BancWorks. The repository makes it easier to integrate, organize, track and store files, plus it provides instant and secure access to information. The built-in document search tool allows employees to quickly and easily locate information on the intranet. BancWorks is simpler to manage than the previous “system” Liberty Bank for Savings was using, according to Smigiel. “The main objective is making sure things are being done correctly and accurately,” he said. “The document repository has increased efficiency.”
Having the intranet has also enabled Liberty Bank for Savings to expand its project management capabilities by adding task force sections. Now when different departments work on projects, task force members can use their specific section to access templates and other features to facilitate work flow.
Enhancing Communications BancWorks is also proving to be the ideal communication tool for Liberty Bank for Savings. It’s enhancing the accuracy and timeliness of the information being shared with employees. Prior to implementing the product, Liberty Bank for Savings used a third-party vendor to deploy a weekly email called Bank Notes. A newsletter of sorts, Bank Notes featured success stories, alerts and other tidbits of useful information for the bank’s five branches. However, coding issues and the bank’s spam filters prevented some employees from receiving the email newsletter. BancWorks not only solved the problem, but it also has improved the frequency of internal communications. “Now we send things out daily and even hourly,” Smigiel said.
The intranet is also making employees more self sufficient by facilitating their access to information. In addition, the different departments of the bank are more accountable for disseminating information related to their specific area. For example, the Human Resources Department maintains an active page on the intranet with a variety of helpful information. The Marketing Department also uses the intranet to publish informative articles and other information. Smigiel says employees seem to review and appreciate each department’s information more now that everything is just a mouse click away.
Saving Valuable Time BancWorks also places an employee directory at people’s fingertips, which saves everyone time. The handy employee search tool provides instant access to telephone numbers. Previously, a coordinator had to contact HR for updates about new hires, employees who had moved and other personnel changes, and then email out a huge phone list about four times a year. “Now, thankfully, we don’t have to send that out anymore,” Smigiel said.
BancWorks is saving the bank’s employees time in several other ways. For instance, on the day after the intranet went live, one of the bank's assistant branch managers was able to use the system to quickly notify everyone how to change their phone settings. “It took just minutes; before, it was an hour long process,” Smigiel said. As another example, when Liberty Bank for Savings released new products recently, all of the relevant details were featured on BancWorks. This gives the bank’s retail departments immediate access to critical information to help them better serve their customers.
Promoting Employee Buy-In Although BancWorks has obvious benefits, it took some effort to get employees to embrace the product initially. So Banc Intranets suggested an intriguing way to get employees oriented and excited about the intranet—a scavenger hunt. The game used comical questions, pizza parties at the branches and cash prizes to highlight different aspects of BancWorks. Employees were challenged to search for information on a specific page, to use the search tool to find fellow employees, and to search for their own name. The response to the scavenger hunt had overwhelming employee participation. Smigiel said: “Even with offering incentives, we don’t usually get that type of response. I think it was a huge help for adopting the intranet.”
Working with Banc Intranets during the entire implementation process has been a very positive experience for Liberty Bank for Savings. “They’ve been great,” Smigiel said. “I’m very appreciative of their responsive interaction and the usefulness of the product.”