Hayward Community CU Staff Receives the Gift of Giving
By Donna Adinolfe
Background: Hayward Community Credit Union, Hayward, WI, began a new campaign in 2019, called CU $mile, in an effort to allow Hayward staff members to experience the gift of giving.
“As credit unions, we speak in volumes about giving back and ‘people helping people,’” says HCCU Vice President Shelly Mell. “However, getting each staff member to personally experience this quality of the credit union is challenging.”
What they did: The credit union launched the program by sending staff members out in teams to randomly hand out cash, pay for someone’s gas or groceries, give to a local charity and more. Each team chose how they used their cash. Each event was documented and, with release forms, they were able to post the random acts of kindness to their Facebook page.
“Our entire staff was moved to tears with the results of these acts of kindness,” Mell says.
One team decided to wait at a gas station and asked the manager to assist with recognizing customers who seem to struggle with funding their purchases. Within five minutes, the manager recognized an older man who only puts $6 of gas in at a time and uses coupons for milk. The HCCU CU $mile team jumped in and filled his tank, bought him milk and paid for a gas card to fill his tank again when it’s needed. Showing his disbelief, the man began to cry and explain that he was on a fixed income and had not been able to fill his car with gas in 12 years.
To continue the program, each employee is given $200 on their work anniversary to give to any person or organization of their choosing.
“We have set up program guidelines,” Mell said, “but the employee holds the power to the gift of giving.”
This has also been implemented into their employee onboarding program with each new hire so they can immediately experience the gift of giving.
Key Lessons Learned:
- Promoted employee engagement – boosted morale, creativity, gratitude for both the credit union and fellow staff members in addition to pride in their place of employment.
- Built a good reputation within the community. They received numerous words of gratitude from the families of those they helped, many of whom are not current members, but expressed an interest in becoming one after the experience.
- Employee empowerment – Gave a voice to each staff member to help someone.
- Improved employee onboarding – Implemented into the beginning of their work experience to perform a CU $mile within the first 2 weeks of hire.