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TUKWILA, Wash. – Boeing Employees Credit Union’s HR department believes in keeping employees happy through innovative work/life programs and using education to keep the HR department operating at peak performance. “Our big focus is to try to help employees balance their personal and work life,” said BECU HR Director Debbie Terry. “We want our programs to help motivate and retain top performers and we’ve been able to do that for the most part. At many of the exit interviews we always hear `I’ll miss all this and the people’.” Some of the perks include child adoption assistance coverage up to $5,000; vacation and hotel discounts; on-site massage; on-site dry cleaning service and laundry pickup; visiting nurse service for new parents with lots of questions; day care services; and employee health fairs. “The health fair is a big hit with employees,” said Terry. “One employee even came to us to thank us because he found out that he was diabetic and had high blood pressure. He told us that the fair had probably saved his life. He’s now on medication and has changed his diet.” To ensure the team of eight HR staffers stay at the top of their game, Terry says education makes all the difference. Each HR staff member is required to attend a conference particular to his or her subdivision whether it is compensation benefits, employee relations, work/life or employment. In addition the HR team is encouraged to become a member of some human resources professional group and further their HR education through certification programs. “We really believe the more you allow and encourage education and further development in their field, the better the employee,” said Terry. “If you make time for them to do it during working hours you’ll also find you have employees giving 150% every day instead of just coming in and doing a job.” According to Terry, BECU’s HR department boasts several Professionals in Human Resources (PHR) and well over half have some additional HR certification. “When I first started working here I told my boss that if ever there is a day I could not make change happen I’d be looking for a job elsewhere,” said Terry. “Luckily for the past 25 years we’ve been here challenging the status quo and every one of us in this department is charged with being creative and innovative. I’m also faced with making sure that all of my team players are motivated to do just that.” Surprisingly the work/life program, which include such amenities as a lactation room and fully equipped on-site gyms at each branch account for less than 1% of payroll. Most of the HR budget is spent on technology and staff training. To keep staff training costs down Terry looks for certification courses in the local area and in fact the credit union has even sponsored a few. Employees often approach Terry with which conferences they want to attend and for the most part she leaves the decision up to them. “Our biggest change has been the technology,” said Terry. “Almost all our paper processes are now automated and it really helps us be viewed as more of a strategic business partner rather than `the paper pushers’.” The HR team introduces new ideas as often as they find them but in general Terry says it averages out to about two or three programs a year. In addition every two years employees’ opinions are gathered in a survey. “We try not to wait for the survey. We always tell employees that if they have any suggestions to just submit them to us,” said Terry. “We also make sure we follow through on any ideas that come from outside of our department and let them know why it did or did not work out.” Right now Terry is revamping the compensation program, and focusing on the employment process to hire “A” players. The project is still in the works and Terry says it will create a new incentive for the staff. If all goes well the new program should roll out Jan. 1, 2004. Terry says turnover here is low for the area, averaging .8% monthly with an overall year-to-date rate of 3%. In 2002 BECU’s overall turnover average was 12%. [email protected]

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