Happy debts of gratitude

Happy debts of gratitude
All aboard: East Coast Credit Union celebrates its employees in style on the Harbour Queen. Photo submitted.

EAST COAST CREDIT UNION (ECCU) respects its employees with such zeal that it will actually throw a party on a boat in Halifax Harbour as a live band plays deep into the glittering evening.

Or it did on one recent occasion—a gesture that the President and CEO, Ken Shea, of the largest credit union in Nova Scotia says perfectly illustrates the company’s conviction that its people are the secret to its success.

“Every year, we hand out staff appreciation awards,” smiles the head of one of Atlantic Canada’s duly designated Top Employers for 2019. “Last year, we held it on the Harbour Queen.” He adds: “We are very committed to maintaining engaged and motivated staff, because they are the ones who make the real difference to our members.”

Indeed, as a member-owned organization (in which more than 41,000 account holders are also shareholders), ECCU relies on its staff to stay healthy and fully dedicated to member service. Consider the wellness program, which offers a $200 annual credit towards such worthy endeavours as: gym memberships, health assessments, nutritional counselling, stress or weight management programs, and sporting activities. The Best Doctors’ Program involves diagnostic and treatment support services and provides access to resources and clinical guidance through a global database of up to 50,000 peer-ranked specialists.

Meanwhile, there’s educational assistance for professional development; career progression; variable incentive pay; and, of course, numerous chances for community involvement. For example, the #EastCoastCUCares Randoms Acts of Kindness annual initiative encourages staff to support their communities. Why not bring tea and treats to nurses or teachers in local communities? ECCU also promotes sustainability through its partnership with Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading green energy provider.

Beyond this, the benefits are generous: A defined contribution plan of up to nine per cent of employment earnings; paid health and dental; life insurance; an employee assistance program; and long-term and short-term disability coverage.

Indeed, with a staff turnover rate of only 2.6 per cent, compared with the Canadian median of 16 per cent, and an average length of service of 13 years, who wouldn’t throw the occasional party?

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