Excellence Award Winners Archive
2018 Award Recipients
Best of Show
Best of Show: Royal Credit Union, Eau Claire, WI, for their Exploring Leadership program. While Royal Credit Union has a strong leadership program for existing leaders, they recognized a need for developing future leaders internally. Since internal candidates did not have a way to acquire leadership training, many open leadership positions were filled by candidates from outside of the company, or were internal candidates who were selected because they were the best individual contributor in their department, but not necessarily based on their demonstration of leadership competencies. This resulted in an environment where many team members felt that there was no future for them within Royal if they wanted to move up in the company and contributed to a disruption of business continuity if a leader left unexpectedly due to a lack of ready replacements. This need led to the creation of their Exploring Leadership program. The objectives of the program are to build a curriculum to strengthen their bench of potential leaders within the organization, increase the leadership readiness of internal candidates for open leadership positions, and provide them with the tools necessary to make a successful early transition to a new leadership role. Royal’s Exploring Leadership program utilizes a holistic, innovative approach to leadership development. It is designed specifically for the audience, consisting of Royal team members who have the aspiration and potential to become leaders within 1-3 years, but have very little or no leadership experience. Priority is given to those who are on a succession bench, aligning Royal’s leadership development with its talent review process. This multi-faceted approach blends a variety of instructional methods: formal classroom, formal and informal mentoring, expert and peer coaching, experiential methodology, reading, presenting to and teaching others, and hands-on application. This helps to ensure the program addresses individual learning styles/preferences and engages the learners throughout the entire 2-year program. The future of Exploring Leadership looks bright. The program’s participants, their leaders, and the organization have seen positive benefits from the outcomes of this program. Due to its success, demand for the program continues to grow.
Employee Engagement (Assets Less than $499M): Heartland Credit Union, Hutchinson, KS, for their Cultivating Culture – It’s the Heartland Way! program. Defining the Heartland Culture was top priority for CEO Dan Springer when he took over in late 2016. The team focused on turnover, employee engagement and member loyalty. They began an initiative to define and celebrate culture by exploring what makes up Heartland’s “Special Sauce”. Thru several channels they worked with their entire staff to write and re-write their vision statement and values. Once created, they developed a “Culture Book” which describes the Heartland Way. In addition, they gave swag bags that included swag that can be worn to tout the Heartland Way. Many other initiatives have grown out of the culture work and it is completely embedded in all that they do. After the year long process, turnover, employee engagement and member loyalty metrics were all ahead of goal. Heartland is poised for continued success in 2018 and beyond. A strong, well-defined culture remains a top priority in Heartland’s new 5-year strategic plan. From investing in more employee development opportunities to supporting communities to just having fun, Heartland wants to shine for everyone it serves.
Employee Engagement (Assets $500M-$1B): iQ Credit Union, Vancouver, WA, for their "We" and Community! program. On the heels of some significant growth, change and a new CEO, iQ was determined to set themselves apart from all other financial institutions in their area. They realized the best way to set themselves apart was through employee involvement. Knowing that everyone has their own interest and ability to participate in community involvement they developed a multi-faceted approach. With the focus on two things, bringing employees together and taking a community first approach. The Community Time Off Program was created allowing employees a paid day off to participant in charities that are meaningful to them. The team at iQ volunteered over 575 hours in the first year. In addition, the team sponsored a major run cheering on the runners and handing out water. They raised money thru Spirit Week (Yup just like in school) and raised $50k for the children’s hospital, and they created a partnership with the local news station called Good things happen. They hop on their plaid truck and purchase coffee, ice cream, donuts, lunches, and give them out for free in the community. Their employees and members love what they are doing through these community involvement efforts. Many have said there’s a positive vibe that you just can’t describe in words, but it can be felt. While it might be difficult to articulate, the results are telling. In 2017, iQ was the highest-ranked financial institution in the mid-sized category for the Oregonian Top 100 Employers for the second year in a row! And overall turnover decreased an astounding 6% in 2017!
Employee Engagement (Assets More than $1B): MSU Federal Credit Union, East Lansing, MI, for MSUFCU Connect. At MSUFCU, they wanted to create a transparent and inviting culture. They chose several different methods to share information. They created the Loop, a monthly newsletter and website. The CEO has a blog on the employee intranet where she answers questions from the employees. A lot of the questions that are brought forth from the employees have sparked changes in the environment and culture. They additionally have All Employee Meetings and CU View TVs located throughout the buildings to communicate important information to employees. In addition, they have an interactive feature via their intranet that works like Facebook and connects employees together where they are able to share their milestones and learn more about their families. At MSUFCU, they give the reason why behind decisions and keep employees informed on all decisions that are made. The knowledge and passion of the team is what makes MSUFCU such a great place to work and communication is essential in that relationship.
Innovative Staff Development
Innovative Staff Development (Assets $500M - $1B): Verity Credit Union, Seattle, WA, for their Verity University program. As Verity looks to grow as a credit union, ensuring they develop and keep top talent is paramount to their success. By developing staff internally, Verity can promote from within, create talent benches, and build out a succession plan, all necessary components to grow. A total revamp of the Verity University was at the forefront of the teams mind. The new program focuses on four specific areas of learning: Learning Foundations for Verity, Core Interpersonal Competencies, Job-Role Competencies and a final experiential piece. By focusing first on the structural changes to the program, they were able to create a blank major template. This provided guidelines and organization for various departments to create new majors or rework the current majors within the framework of the updated program, with a goal of consistency and clarity around what, precisely, is expected. This also ensures each major contains the same level and quality of work, which helped eliminate the feedback that certain majors seemed less intensive or more intensive than others. These templates also help them with future organizational changes as they are able to produce new majors more quickly as new departments and functional areas continue to emerge. In 2017, they graduated the most students in any year and have several trending towards graduation in 2018. Also, Internal promotions increased 10%.
Innovative Staff Development (Assets More than $1B): Clearview Federal Credit Union, Moon Township, PA, for their Management Development program. Clearview was experiencing tremendous growth and expansion of their branches. Although their Assistant Branch Managers and Supervisors expressed interest in advancing into branch manager opportunities when they became available, at times they fell just short in skills and experience as compared to those outside candidates interviewed who had previous or current branch manager experience. So they developed The Branch Manager Development Program, which would allow them to be more proactive in helping interested and qualified internal candidates increase their knowledge and gain more branch and management experience. This program was designed to help internal candidates stand out and compete with outside candidates already working in a branch manager role. The program included the four Training Tracks consisting of 38 courses and many learning objectives to develop necessary competencies for the branch manager role. They additionally redesigned their Manager Development Program to make it less specific to branch managers and add learning objectives appropriate for all managers. They celebrated 9 promotions among the group of 11 participants throughout the 12 month program.
Management Practices (Assets More than $1B): KeyPoint Credit Union, Santa Clara, CA, for their Tackling Employee Student Loan Debt program. Attracting and retaining talent in the Silicon Valley is a challenge. Aside from being in one of the most expensive areas to live, the battle for talent with companies like Google, Apple, Netflix, and more is a bit of a challenge. Keypoint does already offer some creative benefits in place like a Sabbatical Program, but they were finding that they needed to help offset the high cost of living. The goal – to improve the financial lives of their current staff as well as develop new programs to help attract new candidates. They expanded their tuition reimbursement program to include student loan reimbursement as well. They found that there were more employees who were already carrying the burden of student loan payments than those currently in school who were paying tuition. They didn’t want to just offer the opportunity for employees to take out smaller interest loans (though that is an option as well). They wanted to help them get rid of student loans and increase their take home pay. For each employee with student loans, the credit union will reimburse up to $5,250 per calendar year (based on tenure) and up to $25,000 per employee for a lifetime benefit. For 2017, the credit union reimbursed over $28,000 to employees. That is direct cash that the employees saved that they can use for other purposes such as month to month living expenses. The addition of student loan reimbursement has been well received and also assists when talking with potential candidates about the value of working at KeyPoint. There is a good reason they received some “top workplace” awards and one of those is because they are actively trying to find ways to enhance the financial aspect of their employees lives.
2017 Award Recipients
Best of Show
Best of Show: Rivermark Community Credit Union, Beaverton, Ore., for their Aspiring Leaders Program. With a focus on their employee engagement survey and an overall turnover rate approaching 20%, the team at Rivermark created their Aspiring Leaders Program. Employees were craving growth opportunities in their organization. They set out to help employees develop and utilize leadership skills within their current roles. Participants in the program gained hands on experience in communication, strategic planning, team collaboration, presentation skills and project management. The program provided the building blocks needed to expand leadership presence in current roles and gain readiness for future positions. The program helped increase the confidence and visibility of the participants. They collaborated with teams they would have otherwise rarely engaged with and networked with managers and executives. They have seen a 10% reduction in turnover and was named one of Oregon’s top 100 workplaces. Half of the participants were ultimately promoted to management positions. At Rivermark, they recognize and cultivate leadership at every level. Every Rivermark employees is called to Lead.
View the entry
Employee Engagement (Assets Less than $499M): Universal 1 Credit Union, Dayton, Ohio, for their U1 Value Integration & Change Management. The leadership team at Universal 1 made the decision to integrate U1 values through the entire employee life cycle. These changes were managed through organizational partnerships and transparent communication. With the focus on incorporating the U1 Values the team made the following key changes; structured behavioral interview packets, hiring manager training, competency descriptions for U1 Values, U1 values were added to the onboarding process and engagement survey, career workbooks and one on ones replacing performance reviews. The value integration was implemented in four stages and the reception was received as a positive change for all U1 employees. U1 has seen great successes from the change they incorporated including a 31% decrease in turnover. The value integration was successful based on the cross-functional leadership team’s important role of change agents in the organization. View the entry
Employee Engagement (Assets $500M-$1B): University of Michigan Credit Union, Ann Arbor, Mich., for their UMCU Orientation and Onboarding Program. Over the last several years, UMCU has undergone a very positive culture shift. With newly developed purpose and core values defined, the team jumped in and developed a creative orientation and onboarding experience that focuses on their enhanced culture and creates excitement to join the team at UMCU. The newly designed orientation and onboarding program includes a mailed welcome kit, rookie training camp guide, an engaging and informative atmosphere for learning, logo wear, a tablet and job specific learning developed by the talent team and their manager. The results can be felt throughout the organization. New team members have a better understanding of UMCU’s culture and approach toward service. They leave orientation excited and ready to begin their new position. View the entry
Employee Engagement (Assets More than $1B): MSU Federal Credit Union, East Lansing, Mich., for MSUFCU Involved. The employees of MSU FCU are dedicated to the community that they live and work in. They embrace the core value of giving back to the community and strive to make their community a better place. MSU FCU offers various committees and programs to help their employees be engaged in their community. Hiring individuals whose core values and goals align with those of the credit union has become an integral key to having an highly engaged team. Employee engagement and their loyalty to do right by their members and community have attributed to the increase in employee engagement and decrease in turnover. A few of the programs that the credit union has focused on is a charity committee, the CU Involved Committee which was formed to develop and lead a consistent process for volunteering, a Volunteer Time Off program, Volunteer of the Year award and a pay it forward campaign. They will continue to better the communities where they live and work and can’t wait to see how their employees will contribute and how many more lives they will touch. View the entry
Innovative Staff Development
Innovative Staff Development (Assets $500M - $1B): Ardent Credit Union, Philadelphia, Pa., for their Ardent MBA Cohort. With the increasing challenge of finding ways to engage employees and keep them on a path of continual learning and professional growth, Ardent introduced a MBA Cohort program at their credit union. The team partnered with Holy Family University to provide an onsite accelerated MBA program that would challenge their employees and meet the credit unions financial objectives. The course work was based on the following disciplines: Accounting, Finance, HR, leadership, Ethics, Case Study Management and a Capstone inclusive of all six core disciplines. Additionally, there were electives to choose from including operations, sales, policies and media. The program required each student to commit to 20 hours per week of class time, outside reading and writing, and case study analyses. After 21 months, Ardent had a total of 8 MBA graduates who have been promoted with varying levels through the organization. There was an investment in this program, but well worth it to continue to build bench strength within the credit union. This program is one of the many unique programs and incentives that Ardent offers. View the entry
Innovative Staff Development (Assets More than $1B): OnPoint Community Credit Union, Portland, Ore., for their SOAR Leadership Program. A core value at OnPoint Community is being Passionate about their employees and ensuring they are equipped for success. They have a strong commitment to continually invest in employee development. In 2016, with a large focus on their existing talent pool of assistant managers, supervisors and team leads, the team created the SOAR Program. Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results are the core elements for the new program. The quarterly conference includes building and enhancing relationship, developing and honing critical leadership skills and expanding the level of general business acumen. Each quarterly conference is centered on a different theme and was designed to be as interactive as possible. They have incorporated teaching, leadership panels, videos, subject matter experts, experiential learning and games, and robust group problem solving discussions into each day’s agenda. There have been 9 leaders promoted to roles with higher levels of responsibility, overall employee turnover has significantly decreased and they have seen an increase in their employee engagement survey. View the entry
Management Practices (Assets $500M-$1B): Ardent Credit Union, Philadelphia, Pa., for their Ardent Wellness Program. Ardent decided to kick off and start a proactive approach to promoting wellness throughout their entire organization. They wanted to encourage employees to take responsibility for their wellbeing and embrace lifestyle changes that could help them achieve better health. The outcome was to create a well-defined and cohesive Wellness program that rewarded those behaviors. From the beginning, there were fun and exciting challenges, team challenges, sponsored events, humorous communication and Prizes. The focus was on whole wellbeing and included a financial wellness program. The program was very well received by Ardent’s employees where 75% earned the necessary points to achieve the wellness credit for 2017. Additionally, 535 lbs. have been lost and they have seen a 25% decrease in smoking. Ardent was named a Philadelphia Healthiest Company by SmartCEO Magazine. 2016 was the 1st year and they are expanding and continuing their success in 2017! View the entry
2016 Award Recipients
Best of Show
Best of Show: Pacific Marine Credit Union for their Amazing Race to Creating Member Loyalty program. As the credit union began a transition towards a service‐focused culture, the training team committed to creating a theme that would engage, energize and involve all staff for the credit union wide initiative and the Amazing Race to Creating Member Loyalty was created. The elaborately themed training program included Creating Member Loyalty service strategies, streamlining operations, a focus on action planning on the front line and increased coaching on the front line. After completion of their Amazing Race, the credit union has increased their net promoter score by 25.3% and also increased many scores on their employee satisfaction survey. View the entry.
- Employee Engagement (Assets Less than $499M): Verity Credit Union for their Employees Truly Matter campaign. In mid-2014, the board of directors charged the credit union with some guidance statements. Verity’s HR & Training team focused on two of the statements which were to attract, develop and retain exceptional staff at every level of the credit union and enhance member’s lives by becoming trusted advisors. The team took on a new knowledge management system, a new performance management system, increased leadership development, enhanced professional development and they expanded training and on boarding. With a focus in each of these areas, they have been able to prepare their new staff for an engaging experience from day 1, ripe with opportunities for all staff to grow and develop and ignite a passion around delivering their mission of enhancing member’s lives. View the entry.
- Employee Engagement (Assets $500M-$1B): Rivermark Community Credit Union for their Journey to Becoming an Employer Choice program. In early 2015 with a 20% turnover in member facing positions, Rivermark decided to put more focus on employee engagement and morale. After reviewing results from previous employee engagement surveys, they focused on a new total rewards strategy of the organization. They launched a new competitive pay structure that included an extensive communications plan including total rewards statements. They also developed a world class “Aspiring Leaders” program to provide current employees without any managerial responsibility with tools and skills to lead in their current role and help prepare them for future opportunities. As a result of their efforts, employee engagement is up and the credit union was also awarded the “Top Workplace” award in the Portland Metropolitan Area. View the entry.
- Employee Engagement (Assets More than $1B): San Diego County Credit Union® (SDCCU®) for their Cultivating a Highly Productive & Engaged Workforce initiative. San Diego County Credit Union continues to lead the way in providing breakthrough products and services to their members. They are able to do that by keeping their employees happy, healthy and engaged. To ensure great service is achieved, SDCCU employed a comprehensive plan to enhance employee engagement and productivity. SDCCU has a large focus on their multiyear wellness strategy to highlight their commitment to their employees. Additionally, they celebrate the credit union’s accomplishments with the employees frequently throughout the year with prizes and events. The CEO hosts towne hall meetings and roundtable discussions, always leaving the door open for honest communications. The credit union has a strong belief in promoting from within and an in‐house training team provides development classes and programs for employees. The credit union has seen great success and believes it ties directly back to happy, engaged employees.
- Management Practices (Assets Less than $499M): Universal 1 Credit Union for their HR Metrics model. In January 2015, Universal 1 implemented an HR model and HR metrics to add value and drive organizational effectiveness. Establishing metrics tracking in several key areas has allowed them to measure key areas in HR and apply analytics before, during and after implementation of key initiatives and changes. They were able to support their current hiring process with data to back it up. Additionally, after their analysis, they determined the need to focus on their member service representatives (MSRs). Having the data to support their recommendation allowed them to structure compensation for three different levels of MSRs. This allowed the credit union to reduce their turnover by 8% for that position. Implementing HR metrics has made their HR function more effective and continue to provide value to the organization. View the entry.
- Management Practices (Assets $500M-$1B): Educational Systems Federal Credit Union for their Internal Branding: Living Our Commitment to Service the Education Community program. Educational Systems FCU put the management practice of internal branding into action over the last 18 months. The credit union focused on enhancing their employee practices, trainings and means of communication with the objective of providing methods for their employees to demonstrate their core purpose of serving the education community. The CEO meets with each employee every year to ensure that they understand the mission, vision and values. The team earns stars to display on their badge that they earn from the CEO. They additionally have revamped a staff day into an Employee Conference that offers personal interaction, professional development and experiences to remind employees of the importance of serving the education community. Through these initiatives, the employees live their internal brand and the credit union has reduced their turnover by 6% and increase their member satisfaction in the process. View the entry.
- Management Practices (Assets More than $1B): Advantis Credit Union for their Live Well…. A Healthier Happier You program. It’s a reality that healthcare cost continue to rise year after year, and Advantis needed to implement a wellness program that could keep costs manageable while still providing excellent health care coverage for their employees. The credit union implemented an organization-wide wellness program built on four principles: Education & Inform, Engage & Involve, Encourage & Support and Evaluate & Evolve. Focusing on the four principles has brought success to their program, the employees’ health and the credit union’s bottom line. View the entry.
Innovative Staff Development
- Innovative Staff Development (Assets Less than $499M): University of Illinois Community Credit Union’s Emerging Leaders Program. With a new focus on developing future leaders of their organization, the credit union launched a program geared towards the development of non‐management staff members. The one year Emerging Leaders Program involves challenging curriculum, one-on-one coaching and development with members of the leadership team. Through the application and selection process the credit union have had 12 staff members graduate from the program and four of those have transitioned into management positions. View the entry.
- Innovative Staff Development (Assets $500M - $1B): Alabama Credit Union for their All‐In Approach to Internships. The credit union had been looking for opportunities to define Alabama CU as an Employer of Choice, raise awareness of credit unions as a career opportunity, as well as find ways to provide training on critical workplace skills. The credit union launched an internship program that included three key components: classroom learning, a community service project and traditional work experience. The internship program is offered first to staff family members, then to members of the community. The program has seen 33 interns, with 7 individuals who have been hired after completion of the program. The program has sharpened skills, raised money, food and awareness of credit unions in the community. View the entry.
- Innovative Staff Development (Assets More than $1B): Travis Credit Union for their Core Conversion Training Plan. Faced with a core conversion, the training team at Travis developed a comprehensive conversation plan for each department to help managers understand their role in the training process and set expectations. The training team worked with 17 subject matter expert trainers and provided them with specific tools including the SME trainer Playbook, SME Trainer Toolkit and Self-led Training for SME Trainers. The credit union made training decisions based on the results of a needs assessment and analysis, which helped breakdown operational silos and foster a partnership approach to solving business issues that also improved interdepartmental communications and efficiencies. As a result, 100% of the organization was trained and ready for the conversion. View the entry.