Best Human Resources Stories Of 2014

Seven ideas to change the way you approach your team in 2015.


It’s the holidays and instead of thinking Santa, and reindeer, and Hanukkah Harry, my warm thoughts are reserved for the people who make credit unions run: the heroes of human resources.

Human resources stories are some of my favorite to write. It’s a field where leaders can immediately implement and recognize the results of innovations and new strategies. Credit unions are creating efficient hiring and training methods and winning best workplace awards in the process. For many employees, the first person they meet is in human resources. It’s a department that truly touches every part of the institution. What follows is my list of the seven best human resources stories published in 2014.

7. Financial Institution Makes Outside Magazine’s 100 Best Places To Work

Among the mix of tech companies, advertising agencies, and outdoor clothing manufacturers on Outside Magazine’s list of 2014’s 100 best places to work is First Green Bank. It’s the one financial institution on the list. This short blog runs down the employee perks that make life great for employees at First Green. What I like about the piece is it shows you don’t have to be in a funky field to have a great work culture.

6. Playing The Long Game In Culture Cultivation

In 2007, Florida-based MacDill Federal Credit Union rebranded as Grow Financial Federal Credit Union ($2.0B, Tampa, FL). In addition to the name change, the organization was also going through a complete culture makeover. Its Grown Natural Approach (GNA) touches everything from hiring and career development to employee events and recognition programs. The Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces has recognized the effort and named Grow the city’s best large employer two of the past three years. One key change that boosted the credit union was an evolution in hiring practices. Instead of prioritizing experience, the credit union is primarily looking for enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. The credit union’s philosophy is, if it hires fun people than it will be a fun and interesting company that people will want to do business with.

5. Service With A Style

This piece was written by my favorite human resources person, Callahan’s own Leigh Ann Terry. We benefit from her wisdom and humor every now and again when she posts articles on the site about leadership, succession planning, and of course, human resources. This piece about dress codes is one of her gems. As Terry says, dress codes are a common and potentially explosive point of contention in the modern workplace. So don’t create unnecessary friction in the workplace and give this piece a read.

4. Lies And Resumes

Callahan writer and researcher Erik Payne breaks down the most common lies applicants tell on their resumes. It covers everything from embellishing responsibilities to making up accolades or awards. Although, for better or worse, financial services companies catch lies more frequently than others — on 73% of applications. The question is, when you find a lie, what’s the call? According to Payne: “Hiring is an imperfect science for a complicated field. So think about when you might give applicants the benefit of the doubt.”

3. How New Positions Are Made

Do you know the cost of making a bad hire? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it equals approximately 30% of the individual’s salary. So, a $60,000 salary could mean an $18,000 hit. In this Q&A with Affinity Federal Credit Union, vice president of human resources Catherine Ricker talks about how the credit union created a new role and found the perfect candidates to fill it. Here is one of my favorite lines from Ricker: “Credit unions are not-for-profit so any time we hire a new position we want to ensure that our members’ money is spent wisely.”

2. Purdue Federal Credit Union Adds Depth To Teller Training

Purdue Federal Credit Union’s new GOLD program provides staff development and improves member service. The program consists of five training modules aimed to develop universal employees. In the past two years, credit unions have gone back and forth on the universal employee model. Some say it’s essential, others say it’s a pipedream. I like this piece because reporter Marc Rapport uses numbers to show, that at least at Purdue, the universal employee model works. Through its GOLD program, Purdue has decreased its annual turnover rate for tellers and member service representatives to 14.38%.

1. Staff For The 21st Century

There are some strange titles out there. For example, Microsoft calls IT people IT pro evangelists and Google has a position called intergalactic federation king almighty and commander of the universe. What’s the point? For one, companies use any creative advantage to carve out a competitive edge and attract top talent. Also, roles are changing as technologies emerge and industries evolve. This piece describes three credit unions and three new positions. Security Service Federal Credit Union ($8.1B, San Antonio, TX) created a retail Internet sales manager, which combines the responsibility for online and in-person mortgage originations. We learn about the vice president of unbanking at Connex Credit Union ($418.7M, North Haven, CT); spoiler alert: it’s a college intern working with the credit union’s communications, branding, and member outreach efforts. Finally, Wright-Patt Credit Union ($2.9B, Beavercreek, OH) created a manager of service excellence to champion service and make it uniform across the institution.