Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on March 26, 2018

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Taking Employee Engagement to the Next Level with Shawn Premer

shawn premer on brand

“How we treat employees relates to how they become brand ambassadors.” Your employees — your people — are one of your biggest brand assets. However, they can only do this if they’re engaged. As the Chief Human Resources Officer at an award-winning financial institution, Shawn Premer knows how organizations can harness their people power. We discussed employee engagement and culture on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast presented by Twenty20.

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About Shawn Premer

Consumers Credit Union has 300 employees, over $900 million in assets and is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Shawn Premer is responsible for providing leadership in establishing and implementing strategic human resource strategies. Shawn’s primary focus is on employee and member engagement. Consumers is proud of its 98% member satisfaction rate, it’s over 11 years of recognition as one of West Michigan’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies and 4 years of being recognized Nationally as a 101 Best & Brightest Company! In addition, Consumers has been honored as a 101 Best & Brightest in Wellness Employer in Michigan and a Healthiest 100 Employer Nationally.

Shawn holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Northwood University and an MBA with a focus in Global Business Studies from Cornerstone University. Shawn also holds SPHR, SHRM-SCP, and Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist (CCWS) certifications.

A wife of 24 years and a mother of three, Shawn is also an avid runner and yogi. In 2016 she was honored as Michigan’s Top HR Professional by the Michigan Council of SHRM. She also serves on the executive council for Michigan Chapter of Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the board of Southwest Michigan First, the board of Senior Services of Southwest Michigan where she chairs the Human Resource Executive Committee.

In addition to the organizations listed above Shawn also founded and chairs the Kalamazoo Area Wellness Networking group, which includes 20 area organizations who come together to share wellness best practices.

Episode Highlights

Employee engagement is great but … aren’t people scary? Won’t they say or do something on behalf of our brand that we won’t like? Sure, “you’re going to have some bad employee interactions but you have to make sure that you have more good than bad.” That’s why consumers is focused on wellness and creating a family environment at work. What does that mean?

No negative water cooler talk. One policy Shawn has put into place at Consumers is banning negative conversations about other people. Instead, employees are encouraged to talk through challenging issues. “This same philosophy applies to interacting with members.”

How can an organization currently doing nothing get started with employee engagement? “Listen,” Shawn reminds us is the first step. From there, she encourages organizations to ask three questions: (1) What makes you excited to get out of bed every morning and come here to work? (2) Conversely, what makes you want to hit the snooze button in the morning? (3) What would keep you here forever?

The worst thing you can do? “The worst thing you can do is to ask these questions (above) and do nothing. Be ready to act.” Form a small, cross-functional team to analyze and take action.

What brand has made Shawn smile recently? Proctor and Gamble’s recent “moms ad” at the Winter Olympics made Shawn smile by connecting with her emotionally.

To learn more, connect with Shawn on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also visit the Consumers Credit Union website.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community …
On Brand “Super Fan” Sean Carpenter gave us a shout on Twitter for our recent episode with branding legend Laura Ries. Thanks for listening!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

Thanks again to our sponsor Twenty20. Your source for on brand photography for your brand. You can get five photos with Twenty20’s one-week free trial at Twenty20.com/OnBrand.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!



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Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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