Inspiration can come from surprising sources.
After hearing a podcast about happiness, Shelan Stritzke was inspired to bring one of its more innovative ideas to life.
Stritzke asked employees at $1.1 billion asset iQ Credit Union to start a gratitude journal, writing down three things for which they were grateful—and why—for 30 consecutive days. In all, 158 of iQ’s 300 employees took her up on the offer.
“The intent is to develop a gratitude practice, where throughout the day, you are scanning your life for positive things. This practice helps you realize, even when life is challenging, there are still good things happening,” says Stritzke, human resources manager and wellness leader at the credit union in Vancouver, Wash. “That can positively shift your mood and even focus in life.”
Stritzke and a nine-member wellness committee lead a wellness program that offers an array of employee activities: stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, fitness bootcamps and challenges, yoga classes, nutritional programs, massages, acupuncture, and game nights.
“We’re fortunate, we get more than financial support from our executive team, they’re involved participants in the wellness programming as well,” says Stritzke, who enjoys backpacking, paddleboarding, and volunteering at community events in her spare time.
“We truly have executive buy-in and a staff that’s interested in achieving well-being,” she says. “It’s rewarding to offer a wellness program people enjoy participating in. The program has also allowed us to realize a 26% reduction in our medical claims experience.”
Stritzke was also involved in creating an employee recognition program that allows management and peers to recognize their colleagues’ achievements on an in-house social media platform. Employees accumulate points for being recognized and redeem them for logowear, gift cards, and other rewards.
When it comes to gratitude, Stritzke, a seven-year credit union veteran who has spent the last one-and-a- half years at iQ, says she is grateful for her industry colleagues.
“My colleagues in the credit union world are genuinely kind and have chosen the credit union space because they’re motivated to help others and do good in the community.”