STCU Opens Late to Check in with Staff and Celebrate Their Achievements

STCU Chief Marketing Officer, Marty Dickinson, did a wonderful job emceeing the event.


Last Wednesday, for the first time in its 86-year history, STCU paused for the sole purpose of checking in with its staff.

The Spokane, Washington-based credit union opened its facilities at 10 a.m. on Oct. 21, a bit later than usual, so that most of its 734 employees could come together, in person and virtually, to connect for the first time since the pandemic hit in March.

“We’re taking this time to make sure our team is doing OK in this difficult year, and to let them know we’re proud of their flexibility and resilience,” said Ezra Eckhardt, STCU President and CEO, in a press release last week. “We’ll celebrate their successes and remind them of all the ways STCU has helped our members and the community in 2020. Mostly, we just want to connect.”

“Good Morning STCU,” the all-staff meeting, focused on celebrating the various ways STCU has helped its community and members throughout the pandemic. The credit union highlighted as much quantifiable data as possible — volunteer hours, home loans funded, the number of calls its contact center received on the day COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments were issued, and so much more. STCU also injected some fun by giving away gift cards to local businesses based on randomly selected answers to trivia questions and prompts, such as, “What’s the worst movie sequel ever made?”

In advance of the meeting, a team of seven STCU staff members, led by Social Media Specialist, Chelsie Hadden, contacted a variety of business members and community leaders, asking them to create 30-second selfie-style videos in which they discussed how STCU has helped them during this difficult year.

Check out this video of Rep. Marcus Riccelli thanking STCU for supporting Spokane Food Fighters.

Hadden then worked with a designer to consolidate those clips into five videos, each centered on a specific theme: stories told by staff of how their colleagues helped members; STCU’s community impact and employee support; the credit union’s digital acceleration efforts to meet members’ needs during COVID-19; testimonials from business owners who received PPP loans, and stories about the credit union’s growth.

Below, Jer Mcgregor from Inlander newspaper, talks about STCU’s involvement in a major effort to support local businesses.

STCU also asked employees who aren’t normally in front of the credit union to be guest speakers for the event. They included a branch manager, a commercial banking manager, and STCU’s director of consumer lending. Throughout the meeting, the speakers took the time to highlight their colleagues’ hard work over the last several months, sharing specific examples of how different departments leaned in to ensure success across the organization.

The all-staff event required a lot of advance planning, admitted STCU’s Strategic Communications Manager, Dan Hansen, particularly for the IT, Human Resources, Administration, and Brand Marketing departments. “Even prior to COVID-19, it was growing increasingly hard to connect with a team that’s spread across 26 locations in two states.”

But it was well worth the effort, Hansen said, as 92% of staff, including those working remotely, were able to participate.

“What a great event this morning,” said Tammy Fleiger, Sr. Vice President of Improvement and Risk. “Good Morning STCU was fabulous, and I appreciate the time and effort spent to create a celebration of the great work STCU is doing internally as well as in our communities!”

The credit union went to great lengths to communicate its late opening to members well in advance, sharing the information on drive-through signage, digital screens, through a press release, its e-newsletter, on-hold messaging, and more.

“Our members constantly tell us that they love the STCU team, and we know they’ll understand the importance of taking this time to check in with them,” said Eckhardt.

He was right.

When Spokane’s daily paper, The Spokesman-Review, picked up STCU’s press release and shared it on social media, a number of members expressed their support and admiration for the effort.

“Great idea! The employees are the heart of STCU and we consumers appreciate their upbeat attitudes during this stressful time,” one person wrote.

“I’ve always loved banking there,” commented another. “This just makes me love it more.”

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