IQ Credit Union’s focus on worker well-being keeps employees around: 2021 Top Workplaces


Vancouver-based iQ Credit Union’s philosophy of “helping people” applies not only to its members, but also to its employees.

The financier The institution’s focus on staff well-being, career development and employment flexibility has earned IQ Credit Union the honor of be named winner of Top Workplaces for the sixth year in a row. The Oregonian / OregonLive Top Workplaces competition, now in its 10th year, selects winners based on anonymous employee feedback.

> Here are the 119 best places to work in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

iQ Credit Union, established in 1940 in Clark County, Washington, by a group of teachers who pooled their money, grew to 90,000 members and 16 locations in the Pacific Northwest. Its annual tax returns on Form 990 over the past decade also show steady growth in revenue, from $ 26 million in 2011 to $ 68 million in 2019, the most recent year available.

Today the organization has 325 employees, who often have their signature red and black Pacific Northwest bison throw at community events or volunteer opportunities.

At the heart of iQ Credit Union’s workplace efforts is a nine-member, employee-driven wellness committee that operates on four pillars: social connections, fitness, good -mental and emotional being and nutrition. From gratitude journals to stand-up paddleboarding, the committee plans activities that foster camaraderie among employees.

During the pandemic, wellness events moved to virtual formats, allowing staff to continue to see each other and engage in community building.

“We’ve really taken advantage of the technology that we have access to,” said Shelan Stritzke, vice president of human resources. “I feel like I see people from other places more often than I would have. From that perspective, in some ways it keeps us even more connected. “

Danette LaChapelle, senior vice president of marketing, said iQ Credit Union had already started conversations about the possibility of working remotely about a year before COVID-19 started. When it came time to bring most operations online, iQCU was ready and the transition was quick.

“No one was made redundant during the pandemic,” LaChapelle said. “We just retrained, offered opportunities in different areas and found ways that work for everyone. “

IQ Credit Union employees pose for a portrait with the credit union’s “Plaid Wagon” on the street outside the North Lombard Street branch in Portland. From left to right: Jake Krummel, Regional District Director; Kelly Lagergren, branch manager; Zoë Pezet, Member Advisor, and Edwin Ballas, Member Services Representative.Randy L. Rasmussen / For The Oregonian / OregonLive

In fact, according to Stritzke, more than 20% of employees were promoted in 2020, and this year the team is on track to comfortably exceed that number.

The financial institution’s commitment to adaptability continued well beyond the early days of the pandemic. In October 2020, the management team made offers to team members who wanted to commit to working from home for the long haul.

“We gave people a choice,” said LaChapelle. “Now we have a lot of staff who can continue to work from home, regardless of what is going on with the pandemic.”

LaChapelle added that the credit union’s flexibility, along with its focus on providing career paths to employees, likely contributes to the long tenures of many employees.

“I’ve been here for 26 years,” said LaChapelle, who joined iQ Credit Union in the marketing department to give in-class presentations. “There are people who have been here a lot longer than me. “

“We are hiring from the inside,” she added. “There are a lot of opportunities to grow. LaChapelle said a strong training service and job shadowing options help with employee retention and advancement.

Some current managers got their start at iQ Credit Union’s high school campus branch, established in 1996. Through the pioneer program, students experience branch management live as part of their degree program, working at lunchtime or on weekends.

Other efforts also demonstrate iQ Credit Union’s commitment to community engagement. Employees are given paid time to volunteer during working hours, as a department or as individuals. iQ for Kids is the non-profit credit union fund that raises money for local charities; employees have the opportunity to participate in fundraisers and contribute to the cause.

“My experience is that we really center the work we do at iQ around the member experience, the employee experience and our community development efforts. These things have a lot of synergy, ”Stritzke said. “I think our management team really believes in making IQ a great place to work.”

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