The CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council's Award Program recognizes and honors credit unions that exemplify excellence in the human resources and training disciplines and serves to promote credit union philosophies through people leadership.

The distinction is reserved exclusively for the credit union HR & Organizational Development elite. Those who in all aspects of their chosen profession, consistently excel for the benefit of their credit union, uphold the standards of the HR & Organizational Development professional ethics and contribute to the credit union movement.

2020 Excellence Award Recipients

Best of Show

Best of Show:  Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union, Albuquerque, NM for Recovering by Leading at the Speed of Trust

A series of events, starting in 2017 and carrying into 2018 and 2019, took Sandia Laboratory FCU to a place that they had never been before, regarding employee/member trust and engagement. As a strategy to recover and move forward, Leadership and Development joined forces and developed a multi-pronged approach to foster employee engagement and mindfully build trust with employees and members. Utilizing resources that they already had in their toolbox more fully, they implemented a new strategic program called Leading at The Speed of Trust. This allowed them to simultaneously develop and reinforce internal structures and processes already in place, to foster trust at all levels. They committed to leveraging their Covey All Access Pass, Quantum Workplace tool, and Cascading Communication Model to move forward. Preliminary and current measurements show them moving toward a better place than they have ever been.

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Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement (Assets Less than $499M):  Adventure Credit Union, Grand Rapids, MI, for Engagement Through Adventure Gives.

In 2018, Adventure CU established Adventure Gives, a volunteer-driven community involvement program focused on the shared credit union vision – people helping people. (And sometimes, people helping animals!) Throughout the year, employee volunteers from all different walks of life, branch locations, departments and titles came together to support and spotlight area non-profits, community organizations and local causes through the gift of giving – and not just by monetary means. In 2019 alone, Adventure employees logged over 700+ man hours by volunteering their time and energy to grassroots groups of a variety of organizations. In addition to building engagement across the CU, it has become a great recruitment tool to find future employees with similar core values and shared interests.

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Employee Engagement (Assets $500M-$1B):  University of Michigan Credit Union, Ann Arbor, MI, for UMCU Rewards and Recognition Program

At the University of Michigan CU (UMCU) the team strives to attract and retain high caliber team members. In doing so, they have created a vibrant culture includes first-in-class rewards and recognition programs. These programs help them foster an engaging workplace while driving team member loyalty and appreciation. Because competition for talent is at an all-time high, it’s critical that they create an exciting work environment where team members feel rewarded, appreciated and celebrated! Their multi-level approach includes multiple different rewards. Some of the items are Annual Success Celebrations, Thank Boxes from a manager, Birthday Day Offs, aMaizement sightings program, anniversary awards and more. This program has been meticulously planned and developed and they have seen great success. They have changed their culture to a place of recognition, small or large with upbeat celebrations that reflect their vision and brand. They have seen a 25% decrease in turnover since 2018.

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Employee Engagement (Assets More than $1B):  GTE Financial, Tampa, FL, for New Card Experience Island.

In the Summer of 2019, GTE strategically decided to bring the processing and servicing of its credit and debit cards in-house. The initiative was called New Card Experience. This meant massive innovation that included adding a whole new business unit to the credit union. This encompassed hiring new employees, new technology, new partners, new products, and new processes and procedures. It was a tall order! Using the ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) change management model as their guide, the team set about designing – a fun and innovative strategy using storytelling and gamification. The New Card Experience Island was a learning game based on a treasure map. The locations on the map corresponded to departments within GTE that had a key impact related to the initiative. GTE employees were explorers taking a journey around the map learning and absorbing information as they went. It helped them successfully launch their new program with amazing staff engagement.

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Innovative Staff Development

Innovative Staff Development (Assets $500M - $1B):  Credit Union of America, Wichita, KS, for Multi-Tiered Talent Development Program.

The Board of Directors presented a strategic initiative to create a program that would address growth and agility; tight labor markets; succession; employee satisfaction; and career and personal development. CUA’s answer to this Board initiative was to develop a Multi-Tiered Talent Development Program, targeting professional growth and development. The 4-tiered program is open to all employees and includes staff development resources, supervisory training, a leadership academy, and talent development sustainability. The program has been extremely successful and has become a foundation program integrated into their processes and culture.

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Innovative Staff Development (Assets More than $1B):  MSU Federal Credit Union, East Lansing, MI, for MSUFCU Training and Development.

MSU Federal Credit Union invests in employee development and empowers all employees to take charge of their own growth. In 2019, the credit union launched an internal personal and professional development learning campaign branded, “Take Time to Invest In Yourself.” Employees were encouraged through various communication channels to review and register for learning in their LMS. Curricula were established for employees based on the needs of their roles, their responsibilities, and NCUA compliance standards. Classes were designed with a holistic approach towards employee development utilizing multiple learning options. By developing each program with engaging experiences, employees spontaneously and enthusiastically talked about their classroom experience with their coworkers and managers, which in turn encourages other employees to “invest in themselves.”

This year, Learning and Talent Development offered 35 new online and in-person classes to increase learning engagement and positively impact to business outcomes. Enrichment classes were recently added to help employees develop within the established competencies for their roles. More than 15 three-hour modules were created for personal and professional development, with topics ranging from emotional intelligence to mindfulness. With the new classes, they experienced a 60% increase in participation in employee enrichment classes.

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Management Practices

Management Practices (Assets $500M - $1B):  University of Michigan Credit Union, Ann Arbor, MI, for UMCU Full Court Wellness Program.

Through their Full Court Wellness Program, the University of Michigan Credit Union has distinguished itself as an innovative workplace that empowers a healthy and engaged workforce. They have developed an extensive, yet inclusive and approachable, wellness program that encourages the team to make healthy life-style choices and establish goals that make a positive impact on their overall wellness. UMCU focuses on four pillars of wellness: mental, physical, financial as well as diet and nutrition. These pillars are presented during the year through various engagement activities, informative all-team communications, and wellness-themed classes.

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Management Practices (Assets More than $1B):  MSU Federal Credit Union, East Lansing, MI, for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Michigan State University FCU is dedicated to fostering and supporting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. As an organization that welcomes diversity of people and perspectives, they respect each individual and strive to provide an environment of inclusion, where everyone feels safe and has the opportunity to succeed. They have built a program that demonstrates the commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. The program includes a wide variety of programs such as internships, a Veterans Networking Group, Employee Resource Groups, as well as Training and Development. Components such as these have helped them to build a diverse and inclusive workplace where people want to work.

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Archive of Past Winners