BURBANK, Calif. -- Small thoughtful gestures matter most to Lockheed Federal Credit Union staffers.
"We have offered great benefits for a long time and our wage structure has been competitive in the credit union industry so we realized it is certainly more than just throwing money at people," said LFCU President/CEO Dave Styler. "It's about having the type of work environment where people feel good about being here. So there is no one thing that makes or breaks the culture but all the little acts of recognition that make a difference."
The efforts have certainly paid off. The credit union has recently been recognized as one of "California's Best Places to Work" for 2007. Only three credit unions made the list overall. In the medium-sized category honorable mention went out to Altura Credit Union and Bay Federal Credit Union but LFCU ranked No. 1.
Employers Group, a human resources expert/advocate serving California employers, sponsored the first annual "California's Best Places to Work" program.
"Lockheed Federal Credit Union has distinguished itself as a champion for leading edge employee benefits and best HR practices, and in doing so, has raised the bar for employers everywhere," said Employers Group President/CEO Mark Wilbur.
LFCU's ranking was based on the blind scoring of more than 400 companies' responses to a survey of employers and employees in nine categories, including work-life balance, pay, benefits, training and advancement opportunities, diversity programs, turnover, perks, employee voice and workplace culture, and community involvement.
"I am extremely proud of the work environment created by our staff and management," said Styler. "We know that happy employees provide better service to members; and so our goal is to delight our employees, just as we want them to delight members."
Some of the new "small gestures" recognized include monthly treats for staffers ranging from a chocolate fountain in February to placing a green frosted cupcake at each employees' desk in March and quarterly lunches. In addition, Styler, as part of "Pizza with the President" makes a point of having lunch with different departments on a rotating basis to just chat with staffers about what's going on in the credit union and field questions. He also hosts dinner question and answer sessions at each of the LFCU's 10 branch locations. Styler says the lunches and dinner provide a great opportunity in a casual setting to learn more about employee needs and ensures better communication overall.
"We have a semi-annual employee survey but oftentimes in these meetings they tell me themselves what they think about the culture and what ideas they have for positive improvements here," said Styler. "Some of the new initiatives and rewards are a direct result of employees sharing their ideas with me or HR."
A few LFCU perks include weekly 15-minute massages at corporate headquarters and paid time off to volunteer at the employees' charity of choice. Styler says the Volunteer-Time-Off program is a win for everyone, staffers have the chance to break up their normal routine and it helps the credit union build deeper relationships within the community.
"The fact is employees want to feel good about the place they work. The better they feel about their employer the more productive they'll be. It's for us to show our respect for what they do by finding out what means most to them and what they are interested in so together we create a great place to work," said Styler. "To be considered among the best of the many companies here in California is truly a testimony to the culture developed essentially by the staff themselves."