Watch and learn

Most employers wouldn’t allow — let alone encourage — employees to watch TV while they work. But Equity Consultants LLC, a Richfield-based private mortgage company, is doing just that.

However, there’s no ESPN, CNN or soap operas on these TVs. Instead, each displays what president and CEO Goran Marich considers to be a powerful motivational and teaching tool.

Last December, the company implemented ECTV — a closed-circuit television technology program that highlights company performance statistics, training information and overall corporate communication for the company’s 130 loan officers. Some 15 television monitors are hung throughout the building, continuously streaming important announcements, loan closing rates, videos, updates and compliance messages, among other things.

The program was designed to solve the problem of an office overwrought with memos and dry erase boards full of unreadable charts and graphs.

“It needed to go away,” says Marich of the way the company was keeping track of statistics and communicating. “We needed a companywide scoreboard that paints the picture and shows all the statistics that are most important to our managers, to our loan consultants.”

In the meantime, the company has found many more applications for the technology, turning the loan closing performance statistics into an interoffice competition among loan officers.

“They love it. They love to see their successes,” says Marich. “It’s showing to everybody else how they stack up, and it’s becoming that primary motivator that we’d hoped it would be.”

The company has tied in incentives and rewards, and since implementing the technology has seen three successive months of record-breaking sales increases. Using a green screen, special effects and digital images can also be inserted and projected on the televisions during announcements.

ECTV is also a great way to reinforce what employees learned in training, especially during slow afternoons.

“I feel we have enough meetings, we have enough training, we do a great job of recruiting and bringing in the right person, but once they’re here, how do we keep reinforcing that message?” says Marich. “And that’s where ECTV really becomes powerful.

“People forget 85 percent of what they hear within 30 days if it’s not reinforced or repeated. We’ll show a half-hour training segment or a half-hour compliance update that, while they’re working, they can subliminally see the text, they hear the audio, so they’re hearing the right messages throughout the day.”

The company has also progressed to recording its monthly president’s council meetings, where Marich meets with the top few loan officers in the company to talk about their successes in the previous month. These meetings, as well as other best practices tips from fellow employees, are broadcast periodically on ECTV.

Marich says the $200,000 price tag for the televisions, technology, green screen and audio system was hefty, but it’s an investment he’s glad he made.

“I think the price of a poor working environment is the ultimate price that I can’t afford to pay,” says Marich. “So for me, the price of the investment was nothing compared to the benefit that it brings.”

In fact, Marich considers ECTV such a success that he’s planning on implementing it in the company’s Detroit and Indianapolis offices.

“It’s just a much more compelling, dynamic way to say the same thing instead of in an e-mail or a constant tone of voice in meetings,” says Marich. “We have some great people and some brilliant ideas, and they’re just not communicated enough. That’s where this is really leveraged, by flattening the learning curve from new hire to advanced loan officer by hearing all this great stuff within the first 30 days.”

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