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BCU Achieved 65% Growth in Productivity with Workzone

BCU Achieved 65% Growth in Productivity with Workzone

By Diana Asbury

Baxter Credit Union (BCU), with 300,000 members in 60 branches across the United States and in Puerto Rico, has grown from a single credit union serving the employees of Baxter Healthcare to becoming among the top 100 credit unions in the United States. Most recently, BCU was named the credit union experiencing the fastest growth in the past 35 years. 

BCU’s swift growth is supported in part by its marketing department. Erin Macasek the Director of Integrated Marketing was charged with managing the increase in scope and size of the marketing team’s workload. She soon realized the need to move from self-management of projects to a project management software solution, choosing Workzone. 

Sarah Johnson, who had been with BCU for nearly two decades, joined the team as Marketing Project Specialist just as Workzone was being implemented. Having her as the point person was key as the team achieved success far beyond previous capacity. 

With the introduction of Workzone in the organization and the efficiencies it brings, BCU’s marketing team maximized their productivity, increasing their capacity for projects year over year.

“Having more than doubled the size of our department over nine years, and with that, the scope of the projects, the complexities of the projects, and the amount of deliverables, there’s absolutely no way we could ever manage without Workzone.

– Erin Macasek, Director of Integrated Marketing

Using Workzone, BCU’s marketing department successfully went from completing 505 projects per year to 834 projects in 2019 — a 65% increase in productivity. Not only has Workzone made this expansion of service achievable, it is the consistent use of Workzone that provides the data to measure these victories.

The Challenge

Before Workzone, BCU’s marketing team was relying on an Excel spreadsheet as a master document to track project statuses and due dates. Marketing would receive requests for project updates via email, phone calls, and drop-in visits. This method led to hampered productivity, lack of transparency on project statuses, and, as the workload of this small team of six people grew, it became increasingly ineffective and inefficient.

Adding to the drag on productivity was their reliance on a hard copy system for proofing, complete with a blue cover sheet stapled to each item where team members could handwrite comments and sign off on their review. It worked until hard copies were misplaced, leading to a delay in productivity.

“I can’t tell you how many times we would forget who we gave it to, who had it last, and we’d be running around trying to find it.” – Erin Macasek

In 2014, all creative services were brought in-house and with the steady growth of BCU the team’s workload hit a tipping point. They began the search for a project management solution.

“We had no concept of how many projects we were working on. It was just kind of going by the day. We were just moving.” – Erin Macasek

The Solution

The marketing team at BCU knew they needed project management software that would allow them to track and move their work forward while also providing a record of data to help assess their staffing decisions. Enter Workzone.

Workzone gives the BCU marketing team reporting to show senior management how they are supporting BCU’s business goals and the tools they need to manage their projects, including: 

  • Time Tracking – not just tracking time, but showing how long a project might take to complete.
  • Project Templates – decreasing time spent on creating recurring projects
  • Request Portal – allowing the team to accept new requests, organize and prioritize projects
  • Notifications – offering time-saving email reminders when a project needs attention
  • User Settings – allowing easy management of permissions and settings amongst different users
  • Search Tool – providing ease in finding archived projects

A focus on onboarding and team-wide adoption with Workzone

The initial challenge of buy-in to use Workzone stemmed from the introduction of new processes, not only for the marketing team but for all internal teams initiating the requests. Adoption was ultimately achieved thanks to these six practices:

  1. Make Workzone’s customization work for them
    Workzone’s success and support team worked with the marketing team to set up and customize the tool to the needs of the business. “Super fast response times.” – Sarah Johnson, marketing team member
  1. Take the initiative with onboarding
    The marketing team ran training sessions for users, creating relevant guides to help them along the way. “I created a pdf user guide with screenshots and step by step directions to make it easy.” – Sarah Johnson 
  1. Workzone is step one of the creative process
    The marketing team held firm on using Workzone to request new projects.”People were motivated because they knew we would only review the final details of a request with them in Workzone.” – Erin Macasek
  1. Practice, practice, practice.
    They promoted regular use of Workzone. “It does become second nature once you’re working in Workzone a lot, so we would share that and how less stressful the process is after you take the leap.”  – Erin Macasek
  1. Ingrain Workzone in the company’s culture
    The leaders became strong advocates of using Workzone. “We even talk about it in the interview process.” – Erin Macasek
  1. Assign the role of Workzone expert in each team
    They trained power users. “One thing that other organizations should consider is having a “Workzone expert” on each team so that requests could filter through them. We’ve found it’s more efficient and effective that way.” – Erin Macasek

Workzone has become an invaluable tool. The team can’t imagine working without it. When asked how she would respond if the executive team decided to switch to another tool, Sarah Johnson, who manages Workzone for the marketing team replied, “I would probably start crying.”


“I think our turning point came at the one year mark when the data from using Workzone allowed us to show year over year improvements and shifts in our priorities to support the business goals. Because of Workzone and the visibility it provides, we really took off. Our team is able to complete so many more projects and demonstrate value far more than we could have before having Workzone in place.”

– Erin Macasek, Director of Integrated Marketing


Outcomes

The successful adoption of Workzone supports BCU’s continued growth.

Reduced redundancies

Requestors have the ability to duplicate requests. So, if they are routinely requesting similar projects or deliverables, they don’t have to rebuild an entire request.

Streamlining Partner Projects

The marketing team often produces campaigns and products co-branded with BCU and their partner organizations. Workzone enables the marketing team to handle the complexity of these projects without sacrificing oversight of their work as a whole.

Improved project estimates and time management

Once they captured enough data to better predict project hours, the team introduced capacity modeling. When requests come in, they can easily see who has the capacity to fulfill the request, based on current project allocations and estimated hours for the request. 

“We were finding that projects weren’t created equal, and we wanted to find a way to be able to differentiate between them and better understand why, and is our time being used wisely. So that’s where the time tracking really came into play.” 

– Erin Macasek

Departmental growth and increased productivity

Thanks to Workzone’s tracking and reporting, the marketing team had the data they needed to justify hiring additional staff. Workzone’s versioning control allows the marketing team to keep track of project changes and ensure compliance standards are met.

“Using Workzone has helped us triple our resources on the creative side. And I love the versioning tool, going back two or three revisions to see the progress of a piece.” 

– Erin Macasek

Greater transparency and communication

Thanks to Workzone, the marketing team can share with the BCU Branches, for example, that 30% of the team’s time is being spent on projects. 

“Some people have misconceptions about marketing, that everyone’s doing the same thing. It’s nice to show that within a design role they’re not sitting heads down designing all day. They’re part of strategizing and brainstorming and even some administrative time in meetings to understand the strategy and the direction. I think it serves a purpose even beyond productivity. It helps provide transparency around the complexity of our roles.”

– Erin Macasek

Takeaways

Since the successful adoption of Workzone, BCU was able to triple their creative team resources, take on more complex projects, and increase overall productivity by 65%. 

With the streamlined request process, the wealth of data captured, and increased transparency, they became more efficient and effective, while also strengthening the working relationships with their stakeholders. 


“We had no real means of demonstrating our value. With Workzone, we have hard data to show that we’re not a cost center, we are part of the strategic mission. Workzone has changed the game for marketing here at BCU.” 

– Erin Macasek, Director of Integrated Marketing


Is your team looking for a way to increase productivity and efficiency? Do you need a means of justifying growing your team to meet your goals? Workzone is here to help you collect the data, implement the processes, and create the efficiencies necessary for growing your business.  

Diana Asbury is the Head of Marketing at Workzone. In this blog, Diana writes about project management, leadership, and marketing. She believes life is more fun when you have a lot to look forward to – at Workzone she’s able to live out her planning dreams every day.