#1 Plan For Their Future

Earlier this year, Positive Alternative Radio (PAR) proudly announced that it had been certified as a
Best Christian Workplace by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI). It is a high honor,
which is bestowed—or denied, based on the results of BCWI’s Engagement Survey.
Survey results are compiled from anonymous feedback submitted by the registered organization’s team members.

For Part II of The Transparency Project, we are looking at PAR’s three lowest rankings and sharing how we are growing in these areas. Today, we conclude with PAR’s lowest ranking result: I am satisfied with my retirement plan(s).

Dear Christian Radio,

Have you ever wished that you could turn something that is “OK” into something great? When we received our team’s responses to the BCWI Engagement Survey, we were thrilled to see positive feedback across the board. In fact, not a single category was marked below a “3” out of a total possible score of 5.

Easily we could have looked at those results and sat back on our laurels feeling satisfied with our performance. I mean, come on…we basically received an “A” or a “B” in every category! Nonetheless, when your vision is to “be the standard,” accepting good for great doesn’t measure up.

Let me ask you this:

How would you respond if a team member came to you and made the following statement?

“Hey, John! I know that I am not doing my absolute best in this part of my job and I appreciate you letting me know about it. However, I’ve been thinking long and hard about my performance overall, and I believe you should just let this area slide since I am doing so well everywhere else.”

Now, how ready were you to let your team member slide in one aspect of their responsibilities just because they were doing great in other areas? You weren’t, right? If that’s the case, then why as leaders should we ever consider doing the same?

At PAR, we decided we were not ready to accept “good” from our team, so we should not be willing to settle for “good” for our team.  It is for that very reason that we reviewed the three areas in which we could improve the most.

Shining at the top—or should I say the bottom—of the list was team member satisfaction with PAR’s retirement benefits. Ouch!  As the Director of Accounting & HR, that hit home…and it hit home hard. Bottom line…the honest feedback was there. Our team is not excited with what we are doing to help them plan for their future. They spend days, weeks, months, and years helping PAR reach for the future, but we were not doing enough to help them reach for theirs.  We relied too long on the excuse that it was not in the budget. The answer was simple:

We had to do more and we had to start now.

So, how did we start? To begin with, understand that the need for change didn’t mean we immediately ran out and grabbed the first top-level plan we found. I assure you, no contracts were signed on day one. Instead, we adopted a three-step plan to see our retirement benefits improve for the future.  What’s great about the plan is that it can be implemented no matter what aspect of employment you are ready to improve.


For some time we have heard feedback about how our team desired improvements in our retirement benefits. So, why were we so surprised when retirement scored a lower satisfaction rate than other benefits? Here’s the answer; although we were asking the question, we weren’t really taking the time to listen and explore what our team was telling us. I was stuck in my bubble.

I knew what I didn’t like about the plan. I also knew what a few individuals—those with whom I work closest—didn’t like about the plan. So, in due diligence, I worked to improve overall satisfaction by only correcting those aspects of our benefits. Unfortunately, doing so was not truly addressing or exploring all the wants and needs of our team—i.e. we were assuming.

In radio, we provide listeners with what they want to hear. We do this by taking the time to ask them what they want to hear. Meeting listeners’ needs is so important that we perform music tests, conduct focus groups, and do whatever is necessary to truly understand them. The same approach is necessary when it comes to company benefits.

Don’t assume that understanding and delivering benefits that your team wants is impossible. Take the time to ask them…therein lies your first step. Talk to your team, do surveys, create focus groups. Listen with intent and explore what your team has to say about this aspect of their employment.


Once the needs of your team are understood, evaluate how well your current offerings meet those needs. Work with a focus group to review and rate the details of your current plan. Then, ask your broker to help you discover any current offerings not being used. If you determine that your current plan doesn’t fully meet the needs of your team, ask your broker to suggest new product options. Be willing to openly discuss your current and future budget with them. Often they can suggest incremental steps that can get you to a more permanent and affordable solution. If they can’t, begin moving forward in your search for new options.


Finally, education is everything when it comes to making sure your team is satisfied with what you can offer. I found that many members of our team were dissatisfied due to misinformation or a lack of clarity in the information that was provided to them. Because of this, some PAR team members missed out on opportunities already available to them. Had we provided a better way for team members to understand and access these options, overall satisfaction would have increased.

As with any aspect of business, education should be a never-ending point of focus for leadership. Consistently educating team members on what options are available is a must. Equally, this should be communicated in a variety of different ways including: benefits meetings, memos, and informational packets. Ensure that you are using this time as an opportunity to focus on the key areas identified during your exploration and evaluation steps. Your team will appreciate knowing that change is coming and that you have taken their concerns seriously—even if you’re only educating your team on what steps you’re taking to make their future benefits better.

You expect a lot of your team. Just remember that they have the same expectations of you. That’s why meeting all of your responsibilities as a leader is imperative.  Great leaders work to provide great leadership in all areas, not just in the ones where they feel most comfortable. Topics such as benefits, time off, retirement, and/or other employment aspect are not always fun, but they are critical to address. Start working on your plan today and your team will soon see a brighter tomorrow.

Dear Christian Radio…

  1. Explore what your team wants and needs from you or your organization.
  2. Evaluate whether your plan, or others on the market, meet the needs of your team.
  3. Educate your team on how you can meet those needs immediately or in the future.



Debra Bourne
Director of Accounting & Human Resources
Positive Alternative Radio

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