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GAITHERSBURG, Md. -Since being awarded the Maryland Work-Life Alliance Excellent Place to Work designation, Montgomery County Teachers Federal Credit Union has joined the ranks of an elite list of “destination workplaces” for job seekers here in the state. The Excellent Place To Work designation is a seal of quality that the Alliance is working to spread as a recognized standard. This is the first year that the Alliance offered the program statewide. Employers receiving the awards meet stringent standards and are reviewed by a panel of professors from University of Maryland, Johns-Hopkins University, and George Washington University; and Masters level students in business organization and human resources. “It is such an honor to be recognized like this,” said MCTFCU Assistant Human Resources Director Laurie Hackett. “There aren’t a lot of small credit unions or even banks that made this list.” According to Hackett, the $268 million credit union has always made developing innovative programs to promote balanced living a priority. From quarterly paid volunteer days that employees can use to accompany a child on a field trip to employees designing their schedules, MCT FCU’s programs emphasize flexibility. For example, employees here have their pick of the following: * Flextime – coming in earlier or leaving later as long as the core amount of hours are satisfied, * Telecommuting – which can be on an ongoing basis or at the manager’s discretion. For example, if a child is sick, exempt employees have the option to do their work from home, rather than use a sick day. * Compressed workweeks – employees can opt to work nine hours a day and get a day off every other week or work 10 hours a day for four days and get one day off every week. “The compressed work week is our big hit,” said Hackett. “So many people have told us what a difference it makes to just have a day off for long weekends or even during the week to take care of errands.” MCTFCU has also recently launched a career development program where employees can take courses within the credit union to further their goals or career with “majors” available in such areas as human resources, sales and service, management, or loan processing. Once employees select their major, the credit union provides a mix of in-house expert instructors, online courses, books/exams provided through CUNA and supplemental courses available during work hours. Those who “graduate” receive a 2% increase in addition to any regularly scheduled raises the first year and a $200 bonus in subsequent years. According to Hackett, it is one of the most popular incentives and boasts an 85% enrollment. “To compete with the bigger players in our area, our HR team of four has to be as creative as possible,” said Hackett. “So knowing how hard it is to balance work and family, our focus has been to offer our 130 employees a variety of programs that they can customize. So whether that means spending more quality time with family, furthering their career or a mix of both there is always something for everyone.” The theme of balanced living spills over into MCT FCU’s wellness program. Through a partnership with a local hospital, the credit union offerings run the gamut from CPR classes and stress management to nutrition and exercise seminars. “We’ve managed to cut our turnover rate almost in half and increase productivity without laying out any extra money because most of our programs don’t cost anything,” said Hackett. “Even the paid volunteering -sure the employee is away from the office, but what we gain is so much more. Not only are they out there in the community with a MCT FCU T-shirt but more importantly they also appreciate the fact that we recognize that work is not the only priority.” [email protected]

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