Weaving wellness and sound human resource (HR) practice into the fabric of the San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU), Michelle Pagni strives to improve employees’ health and engagement.
Her initiatives form a key pillar of the $8.1 billion asset credit union’s award-winning “Feel the Teal” culture, helping to fuel 60% membership growth during her five years as SDCCU’s executive vice president of HR.
“By educating our team and supporting them in wellness initiatives, we hope that this enables employees and their families to enjoy a healthier lifestyle and an overall better quality of life,” says Pagni. “As the result of SDCCU’s emphasis on employee wellness, we believe we have seen a more engaged and positive workforce.”
Credit union employees can take part in free biometric screenings and prevention-focused programs, and have access to an online health assessment, stress management tools, an onsite gym and massages, nutrition education, an annual health fair, wellness reimbursement, and a tobacco cessation program.
The emphasis on health boosts business goals, as well. Pagni, who has been with SDCCU since 2011, cites benefits such as keeping health care costs affordable for employees, improving productivity, retaining and attracting employees, and boosting morale.
“As unemployment levels continue to drop throughout the country, retention is of critical importance,” Pagni says. “It’s more important than ever that our employees remain fully inspired by and committed to the organization, because if we don’t fulfill their needs, other companies are happy to recruit them away.”
The results are impressive. Employee participation in wellness initiatives topped 32%, nearly a quarter of all employees took advantage of a $200 wellness reimbursement, and the credit union’s employee-only health care cost was 20% lower than the national average for similarly sized companies.
Pagni, who likes to combine her passions of paddle boarding, kayaking, and travel in her spare time, is strategic and innovative in her approach.
“A great HR leader is comprised of many things, not the least of which is the agility to keep pace with the ever-changing regulatory environment while supporting the organization and its employees,” she adds. “Every day, I have the honor and privilege of working with 815 awesome employees committed to providing superior service to our members, and I thrive on the energy of watching them grow.”