Submitted by WSECU
When it came to recognizing WSECU’s employees of the year in 2020, the credit union’s human resources team knew they had to get creative. Past events included pulling all 700-plus employees together for a full day of events in a convention center for employees to connect, have fun and, most importantly, recognize and celebrate the employees of the year.
This year, the credit union was determined to recognize those exemplary employees despite limitations to in-person gatherings.
“We wanted all of the excitement that came with our annual day of celebrating employees but knew we had to be smart about it to keep the team safe,” said Kim Duffy, Vice President of People & Culture Services. “Everything has ‘gone virtual’ now and for many of us, the thought of sitting through another big online meeting wasn’t an exciting prospect.”
The team partnered with a local videographer and editor and hired actors to make the annual award a special event. Each day for a full week, award-winning employees were surprised with an unforgettable mini award ceremony customized to their interests, which was recorded on video and sent out to staff for a socially distant celebration. We had a sword-wielding chicken dancing to techno, a magician and an Elvis impersonator, to name a few, on site along with senior leaders from WSECU to present the awards to unsuspecting winners, lured to a WSECU location under false pretenses such as to pick up a piece of computer equipment.
“The staff felt it was really special to see their colleagues surprised like that,” Duffy said. “The videos were recorded, edited and sent out to staff in the same day. Our coordinating team was on the road traveling from branch to branch, making the rounds, running on adrenaline and exhilaration!”
The annual recognition for employees of the year at the credit union is competitive. Many individuals get multiple nominations for outstanding service from credit union members or from colleagues. A committee comprised of credit union board members and staff have the difficult job of selecting from among dozens of compelling stories about above-and-beyond work. In addition to the service awards, WSECU also recognizes a Volunteer of the Year for outstanding contributions to the greater community.
The employees recognized for 2020 are:
- Amber Belcher, Employee of the Year, Service to Coworkers (Contact Center)
- Lynda Watkins, Employee of the Year, Service to Members (Lacey Credit Union Center Branch)
- Tovia Ryan, Service Excellence, Service to Coworkers (Information Technology)
- Levi Carlsen, Service Excellence, Service to Members (Spokane Valley Branch)
- Beth Kober, Volunteer of the Year (Member Loan Center)