Michigan State University Federal Credit Union has grown over the years to a workforce of more than 640, but it remains focused on creating a culture of engaged and dedicated employees.
The credit union was recognized this year not only as one of West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For by the Michigan Business and Professional Association, but also was named the Best of the Best Overall winner for the region on May 7 during the annual symposium and awards program.
MSU Federal Credit Union was among more than 110 companies recognized by the West Michigan Best and Brightest Companies to Work For 2015 awards competition, which honors nominated companies for their best practices in human resources and commitment to employee enrichment.
After nomination, companies are evaluated by the Illinois Institute of Technology, an independent research-based university, on a series of criteria.
Categories measured include compensation, benefits and employee solutions; communications and shared vision; recruitment, selection and orientation; strategic company performance; and work-life balance.
As the Best of the Best Overall winning company for 2015, MSU Federal Credit Union was recognized for its best practices across all of the categories.
April Clobes, president and chief executive officer at MSU Federal Credit Union, said upon hearing the company had received the award, excitement rippled through the company ranks.
“We all know we have an outstanding company to work for — I just couldn’t believe we had won. You know you have a great place, but a lot of people have great places,” said Clobes. “We have so many opportunities to engage the employees and for the employees to be engaged, I think it is just phenomenal.”
The credit union has a mission to provide excellent service to its more than 197,000 members and also to assist employees “to achieve financial security, their goals, and ultimately, their dreams,” according to the company website.
Established in 1937 in the MSU Administration building, the credit union has grown to 14 branch locations and more than $2.8 billion in assets.
So what does it take to be named Best of the Best?
Clobes said much of the credit goes to the employee benefits package.
Benefits include 100 percent health care coverage for employees; a two-to-one matching 401(k) plan up to 5 percent; vision and dental plans; tuition reimbursement at the MSU undergraduate rate; a wellness committee; and employee recognition events such as an employee picnic and a dinner in January to celebrate the prior year’s success.
“What I think we do exceptionally well is, first, we do offer a very robust benefits package, which in today’s world doesn’t happen very often,” she said. “There is no out-of-pocket, monthly or weekly fee, no high-deductible: It really is 100 percent covered. You do have to pay office visit, emergency room and prescription co-pays, but there is no minimum to reach. It is really cost-effective for the employees.”
Another practice that differentiates the company involves a training and orientation program for new hires to not only prepare them for a variety of positions but also to foster engagement, according to Clobes.
New employees are hired in advance of anticipated turnover or company growth and then spend four weeks in a formal classroom to train with the learning and talent development team. The trainees have the chance to interact with executives from each division of the company, including Clobes, and are rotated to receive on-the-job training in a variety of positions and departments.
“They have an opportunity to learn about the culture,” said Clobes. “I think that creates engagement, helps people feel comfortable with what their roles and responsibilities will be when they are permanently placed in a position.”
MSU Federal Credit Union also partners with local organizations and charities, which is one of the reasons people apply to work for the credit union and enjoy working there, according to Clobes.
“We have a large group of employees serving as community volunteers,” she said. “They go to a lot of events, work together to volunteer to support the community, and I think that helps everyone connect with each other, support a cause they believe in, and of course it is good for our community.”
Organizations MSU Federal Credit Union supports include American Red Cross Mid-Michigan Chapter, Capital Area United Way, Child and Family Charities Capital Area, Ele’s Place, Greater Lansing Food Bank, Greenlight Business Model Competition, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Arbor Day Alliance, Sparrow Hospice Services, MSU Women’s Resource Center and MSU Alumni Association.
“Having engaged, happy employees is a better work environment for everyone: It creates productivity, happiness and better wellness,” said Clobes.
“For us, we have always had a philosophy of treat the employees well, create a culture of respect and performance, and ask everyone to take care of our members. When you take great care of our members, they are also very happy, they do more business with us and they refer others to us. It continues the cycle of success.”
Headquartered in a LEED Gold-certified facility in East Lansing, MSU Federal Credit Union has branches in Lansing, Haslett, Okemos, Charlotte, Mason, Auburn Hills and Rochester.
Owned and operated by members of the Michigan State and Oakland university communities, the company provides personal, business and account services to its members. Financial products and services include individual retirement and health savings accounts, loans, insurance and financial planning.