STCU Named on Great Place to Work® 2012 Best Small & Medium Workplaces List

Fortune magazine yesterday announced that Spokane Teachers Credit Union (STCU) is one of America’s great places to work.

The not-for-profit credit union ranked 16th among medium-sized companies on the magazine’s “Great Place to Work: Best Small & Medium Workplaces” list. No other Northwest company made the list of medium-sized companies, while one based in Oregon was listed among small companies. A similar list of the 100 best big companies includes such Northwest stalwarts as REI, Nordstrom, Starbucks and Microsoft.

The small- and medium-company lists were revealed online by Fortune yesterday at cnnmoney.com and will be published in the Nov. 12 issue of the print magazine. STCU staff learned of the results in an email from STCU President and CEO Tom Johnson.

“Those of us who are privileged to work at STCU already knew it was a great place to work,” Johnson said. “It’s wonderful to have that validated by an organization known for putting companies through a rigorous proving process.”

Johnson said treating employees well has helped STCU grow into an organization that’s loved by its 110,000 members.

“Over and over again, we’ve seen that employees who know they are respected, empowered and valued will treat members with the same deference,” Johnson said. “That’s vital to an organization that has the admittedly lofty vision of being `the most loved and valued financial relationship on earth.’”

Co-founded in 1990 by a former journalist, the Great Place to Work organization evaluates hundreds of small (20-250 employees) and medium (251-999 employees) companies that undergo a rigorous audit and a comprehensive employee survey.

“The Best Small & Medium Workplace list grows more competitive every year and this list represents the best of the best,” said Susan Lucas-Conwell, global chief executive officer of Great Place to Work. “While each company is unique, what they have in common are strong cultures that support positive workplaces.”

The reviewers praised STCU’s culture of celebration and fun, including monthly staff meetings that often include skits, games and prizes. They noted that new employees are introduced to that culture during a day-long “welcome party,” which includes lunch with the management team.

“Starting a job or changing careers is a huge step. We want people to feel right from the start that they’ve made a great choice,” said Ev Hopkins, STCU vice president of human resources and organizational development.

Reviewers praised the credit union’s benefit packages, including a tuition reimbursement program that pays up to $8,225 per year for job-related studies for an unlimited number of employees. Other attributes cited by Great Place: A wellness program that rewards healthy choices; an incentive program that lets all employees share in the credit union’s success; and a strong commitment to community involvement.

“We spend a lot on development and education because we want people to have long-term careers,” Hopkins said. “The whole idea is not only to give somebody a job, but also to provide opportunities for growth.”

Ninety-two percent of STCU employees voluntarily took the Great Place to Work survey in May. The 58-question survey is designed to determine the degree to which staff are engaged in their jobs, coworkers and organization. Great Place evaluates responses based on five dimensions: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie. Respondents’ names are kept confidential.

The results showed that employees are proud to work at STCU, feel a strong sense of belonging and enjoy a fun, fair, collaborative, caring environment that provides opportunities for learning, growth and promotion. They feel the credit union has a clear vision and that the management team is competent, honest and ethical.

Hopkins said STCU participated in the Great Place to Work program partly to judge how employees are coping with rapid growth of the credit union (membership has increased 54 percent since 2008, while employment has grown 46 percent) and technological changes. In fact, the survey results show that the high pace of change is causing stress among some employees.

As a result, Hopkins said, the credit union already has made changes to meet the unique challenges faced by “branch support” employees – those who move from branch to branch and have no permanent workplace. In addition, credit union leaders will take a closer look at workplace flexibility, vacation accrual and extended-leave policies, with a goal of presenting recommendations to the STCU management team by year’s end.

Founded by educators in 1934, STCU is a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative with 110,000 members, more than $1.6 billion in total assets and more than 500 employees. STCU has 15 branches in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, with a 16th set to open in November at Moran Prairie. Find STCU online at stcu.org or at www.facebook.com/mySTCU. Or you can follow us at www.twitter.com/stcu.

Great Place to Work® is a global consulting and management training firm specializing in workplace excellence and development of high-trust organizational cultures. Its proprietary research tool, the Trust Index© Employee Survey is taken by over 10 million employees in 45 countries annually. Leading companies worldwide apply its Model® to increase the levels of trust across their organizations and drive business results. Annually, Great Place to Work® produces the annual FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list and the Great Place to Work® Best Small and Medium Workplaces list.  Follow Great Place to Work® online at www.greatplacetowork.com and on Twitter at @GPTW_US.

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

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