Meals have always been a time for families to gather around a table, share stories and enjoy delicious food. The same is true at Citizens Union Bank.
“Most of us grew up around the family dinner table,” says CUB CEO David Bowling. “There’s just something about breaking bread together that creates a different feel.”
CUB is committed to maintaining its family-like atmosphere as the community bank manages its growth and success.
“As we continue to grow and become more decentralized, we don’t get to spend as much time together and get to know our co-workers,” Bowling says. “I think by getting people together they build stronger relationships and feel more connected.”
Whether it is a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, 10 different desserts and all the trimmings, or a company-wide picnic, CUB employees often join together around tables and eat delicious food.
The Thanksgiving meal was held at Driscoll Estates in Spencer County and served 200 employees. The setting included a barn and a lake, table linens and floral centerpieces. Each employee also received a special Christmas ornament.
“A lot of it has to do with our culture,” says Melissa Banta, vice president of human resources at CUB. “Having our employee picnic and Thanksgiving meal creates a way that we can celebrate our successes together. We’ve always wanted to maintain our culture, even as we open more branches and grow.”
The annual employee picnic in October included burgers and hot dogs, baked beans, coleslaw, cupcakes and live music at Mulberry Orchard in Shelby County. Every employee receives a gift for attending and the company gave away $2,000 — $50 to $250 to names pulled out of a hat.
“We want all employees to feel they are part of something bigger than themselves,” Bowling says. “Company-wide events give people the opportunity to mix and mingle without regard to titles and hierarchy.
Kim Davis, senior vice president of marketing at CUB, says food and fun translate into enthusiasm when it comes to recruiting new talent.
“We don’t just talk turkey, we serve it,” Davis says. “Lots of companies say they value and take care of their employees, but CUB really does. I think it makes things warm and inviting when we gather around a table. New employees feel welcome and long-term employees feel appreciated.”
Meals are often accompanied by gestures of appreciation by CUB leadership. While enjoying delicious food, great employees are often recognized with achievement awards, days off, cash bonuses and rounds of applause.
On the Thursday before Christmas this past year, Bowling created “Thank You Thursday” where each employee was asked to thank five other employees for jobs well done. It was a huge success.
“David has always been family-oriented,” Davis says. “He has four kids, five grandchildren and lots of brothers and sisters. David has always said that he wants his employees to walk away saying, ‘Wow, I never expected my employer to do this.’”
CUB leadership also has a great sense of humor.
The CEO offered to shave off his mustache if employees met their $46,000 goal in contributions to United Way charities the year before last.
“We exceeded our goal and his wife came in to shave off his mustache!” Davis says. “This year several members of senior management agreed to have eggs cracked over their heads, knowing some could be raw eggs. They put trash bags over their shoulders and many were dripping with yellow yolks and egg whites.”
During Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas, candy flow throughout the organization – Hershey bars, candy corn, chocolate kisses, and more for customers. And let’s not even get started on pizza, cookies and candy for the employees.
“We spend a lot of money on food for customers and employees!” Davis says.
Banta agrees, saying “Almost everything we do involves food!”