CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council awards

Award-winning HR

Excellence Awards honor programs that build strong relationships, tackle DEI, and foster community involvement.

February 26, 2021

Representatives from three credit unions that received Excellence in HR & Organizational Development awards from the CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council shared information about their programs during a virtual chat.

Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union in Albuquerque, N.M., earned an Excellence Award for its “Recovering by Leading at the Speed of Trust” program.

The $3 billion asset credit union needed to rebuild strong relationships with members and employees following a core conversion, says BJ Jones, senior vice president of organizational effectiveness. Using existing resources, the credit union implemented a strategic program that developed and reinforced internal structures and processes used to foster trust.

Four tools they used:

  1. FranklinCovey All Access Pass. Vice presidents, managers, and supervisors went through the four-month FranklinCovey training program, “Leading at the Speed of Trust.” The credit union has now expanded the access to the program to additional employees.
  2. Cascading communication model. Sandia Laboratory Federal created an annual playbook that details why the credit union exists, what it does, how it will be successful, what’s important, and shared goals, objectives, and projects. It also held weekly staff “huddle” updates to share important and timely information and  monthly meetings to encourage communication throughout the organization.
  3. Jedi Alliance. A supergroup of the credit union’s special events committee, the Jedi Alliance is an employee engagement tool used to foster participation and buy-in from employees.
  4. Quantum Workplace. The credit union uses this tool for its annual employee engagement survey,  pulse surveys, and a one-on-one tool that provides comparative data.

“These were all tools we had,” Jones says. “But we had to put them all together and use them in a focused way to rebuild trust and confidence in our organization, which has led us to where we are now.”

‘We include DEI in every decision we make.’
Silvia Dimma

Promoting DEI

Michigan State University Federal Credit Union in East Lansing received an Excellence Award for its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program.

The $5.5 billion asset credit union has identified DEI as one of its core values and has incorporated these efforts into all areas of the credit union, including attracting and retaining a diverse workforce.

The credit union also has started employee resource groups, allowing staff to connect with peers with similar backgrounds, experiences, and interests while fostering inclusion and authenticity, says Silvia Dimma, chief human resources officer.

The credit union also established a diversity council. The 13 members of the council share their perspectives on how to move DEI efforts forward and encourage innovative actions that enrich the credit union’s environment and employees, Dimma says.

“We include DEI in every decision we make, and that contributes to a lot of things as we grow,” Dimma says.

‘Adventure Gives’

Adventure Credit Union in Grand Rapids, Mich., received an Excellence Award for its “Adventure Gives” program, which provides structure and more intention to the $397 million asset credit union’s involvement in the local community.

The program allows employees to get involved in identifying community groups to support. Each quarter the credit union holds a “wish list drive” to collect items organizations need on an ongoing basis. Employees are also encouraged to volunteer for selected events that take place during the workday.

Since it was established in 2018, Adventure Credit Union has raised and donated $15,000 for organizations, employees have logged 1,000 volunteer hours, and the credit union has donated $25,000 for event sponsorships, says Megan Anthony, director of human resources.

The biggest benefits from these efforts have been “stronger relationships with our members because they want to know more and ask how they can be involved, and increased employee morale because employees from different departments are working together and forming a stronger team,” Anthony says.