Nevada CU's HR Practices Are Recognized For Excellence

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A credit union that entered an awards program for human relations practices simply to give itself a "benchmarking tool" ended up with a lot more than that.

Nevada Federal Credit Union has been named the second place winner in its category for the 2002 HR Service Excellence Award. The award was presented by HR Solutions Inc. and Human Resource Executive magazine.

The HR Service Excellence Award is open to all types of companies, not limited to credit unions or financial institutions. Nevada FCU has 240 total employees, which placed it in "Category 1," which is for companies with 500 or fewer employees.

Michael Traficanti, senior vice president of human resources for Nevada FCU, told The Credit Union Journal he was introduced to HR Solutions and the contest at a conference in June 2002.

Nevada FCU entered the contest in November, he said, as a "benchmarking tool."

"Originally, we participated just to get feedback from our employees on how our department was doing. We wanted to make sure we were doing a good job of getting them information on things like health benefits and retirement," he said.

Employees were asked to rate the human resources department's performance by answering 38 questions in five categories: service, communication, employee relations, knowledge and performance.

Of Nevada FCU's 240 employees, 160 participated in the survey. No members of the HR department were allowed to give feedback. "All responses were completely confidential," said Traficanti. "The credit union does not know which employees participated."

How Competition Works

A spokeswoman for HR Solutions said the 2002 awards represented its seventh annual contest. The company solicits nominations for the HR Service Excellence Awards through advertisements in Human Resource Executive magazine and the company's newsletter.

"Employees sometimes nominate their company, or the HR department managers approach us so they can get feedback on the overall service their department provides," she said.

Traficanti said the award demonstrates "our commitment to providing outstanding service to our employees and managers hasn't gone unnoticed, which is really nice."

"And, it is a way for us to benchmark ourselves," he said. "We can see what areas we need to improve on, and where we are consistently doing well."

Traficanti said there was really no one area that was rated as unfavorable or low by its employees and managers. "Our results averaged about 26% higher than the norm group," he said.

The results did, however, identify some key areas that the HR department wants to continue to focus on, he said, including providing the best possible service to its internal customers, continuing to make employee relations a priority, ensuring employees understand the role of the human resource department, continuing to provide effective communications, and "accepting feedback and suggestions with an open mind and positive attitude and continue to increase effectiveness in our training and development efforts."

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