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Credit Union HR Series: How to Become an Employer of Choice

Luke Kreitner
8/15/23 7:00 AM

Credit unions have a competitive advantage as employers of choice. Heather DeNamur, from Royal Credit Union, highlights their mission of "people helping people" as a major differentiator that attracts people to work for them. So how can credit unions make themselves appealing in their respective markets? 

Being recognized as an 'employer of choice' empowers you to attract, hire, and retain top talent. In a competitive job market, where the best and brightest seek opportunities, achieving a position where potential employees actively pursue your organization is truly fortunate. Nonetheless, becoming and staying an 'employer of choice' requires a deliberate and strategic approach that starts with comprehending the factors that individuals value most when considering their workplace preferences.

Establishing a strong employer brand and fostering a positive workplace culture have numerous advantages. They attract top talent, reduce recruitment costs, and promote employee retention. According to a study by LinkedIn, a strong employer brand can lead to a 28% reduction in employee turnover and a 50% reduction in cost-per-hire. Additionally, research by Gallup and Korn Ferry reveals that companies scoring in the top quartile for employee engagement witness a 17% increase in productivity, a 21% increase in profitability, and an 89% increase in customer satisfaction.

Defining an employer of choice encompasses various factors. Here are some of the top traits your company should be following.


Growth opportunities

Companies that offer abundant growth opportunities tend to attract ambitious candidates more easily. The knowledge that an organization has the potential for growth can serve as motivation and inspiration for employees. Candidates are more inclined to choose a company where they can have longer tenures, grow within the organization, acquire new skills, and further their personal and professional development.


Meaningful work

Providing meaningful work opportunities for everyone is another characteristic of an employer of choice. While routines are fine, people desire continuous learning and the opportunity to try new things. In addition to job growth, companies should offer opportunities for job rotation, cross-functional tasks, and job shadowing to facilitate ongoing learning.


Work-life balance

Numerous studies have demonstrated that employees who feel refreshed are the most productive. Companies that prioritize work-life balance have a better chance of attracting candidates. People seek more flexibility and autonomy in their work. By offering a healthy work-life balance, companies can boost productivity and foster employee longevity.


Positive relationships

Company culture significantly impacts employees and potential candidates. Strong connections and positive relationships among coworkers enhance job performance and create a positive work environment. This includes having strong leaders who set a good example.



It is crucial to ensure that there are no reports of unfair treatment within the company. Clear and robust guidelines should be in place to ensure equal treatment of all employees. This safeguards the company, its teams, and prospective employees.


Access to information and empowerment

Access to information and empowerment are key aspects shared by employers of choice. It is crucial to ensure that your employees feel empowered in their roles, providing them with the necessary information to make informed decisions. By promoting open communication and facilitating access to information, your teams will experience increased engagement and recognize the company's commitment to their well-being.


Community involvement

Furthermore, active involvement in the community can significantly enhance a company's reputation. Consider organizing volunteer opportunities, engaging in community outreach initiatives, or collaborating with community leaders to identify ways to contribute and make a positive impact. Involving your employees in decision-making processes and establishing a dedicated committee to coordinate these activities can further drive effectiveness and alignment.


Appreciation and Recognition

In order to foster a positive work environment and maximize employee engagement, it is crucial to recognize and appreciate the hard work of your employees. This not only boosts morale but also ensures that their contributions are acknowledged and valued. To effectively implement appreciation and recognition strategies, consider the following:

  • Establish a robust performance management system that includes both individual and team performance goals and targets. This allows for recognition of various types of contributions.
  • Differentiate between perks and rewards. While perks, such as free lunches or time off before a long weekend can be enjoyable, rewards should be utilized to specifically acknowledge desired behaviors and achievements.
  • Embrace creativity when celebrating special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, and team wins. This helps to create a lively and enjoyable work atmosphere.

By implementing a comprehensive appreciation and recognition system, you can foster a positive workplace culture where employees feel valued, motivated, and appreciated.

By following these steps, credit unions can position themselves as desirable employers, attracting and retaining top talent in today's competitive marketplace.


Check out our recognition and rewards platform which provides organizations of all sizes with simple, customizable solutions to engage and inspire employees to perform their best.

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