Looking Within

People Perspectives LLC

3 minutes

At Pima Federal Credit Union, employee advancement and career development are taken very seriously. In fact, the CU’s employees rank opportunities for advancement very high. This is why I included the $473 million/55,000-member CU in the People Perspectives Distinguished Credit Unions of the Year, an award I created to feature some of our successful clients. Of all the CUs that conducted employee surveys with my company in 2015, Pima FCU had one of the highest overall averages for both employee satisfaction and engagement. Not only that, but Pima FCU had the highest average of all of our clients on the opportunity for advancement dimension. Let’s find out what they’re doing that has led to such high marks from its staff.

Promoting from Within

Pima FCU, Tucson, Ariz., is dedicated to promoting from within whenever possible. Open positions are posted internally for five days, and priority is given to the qualified applicants who are already members of their team.

In 2016, Pima FCU has already filled 12 management positions, with more than half (58 percent) filled internally. According to CUES member Angi Griffin, VP/human resources, “It is a great morale booster for our staff to see their co-workers taking on new challenges and seeing the results of Pima’s confidence in and dedication to our employees.”

Additionally, Pima FCU is steadily growing, which provides more new positions and more opportunity for internal growth.

On the other hand, if an employee who applies for an open position does not have the required qualifications, the hiring manager contacts the employee and provides feedback about the decision. Then the manager, often in conjunction with the employee’s current manager, has a career pathing discussion with the employee. “By doing this, we hope to show employees that we are truly interested in their growth; plus, it allows us to understand their interests and preferred paths so we can help them get there through mentoring, coaching and training,” says Griffin.

Career Development

Pima FCU has what it calls an Employee Exchange Program, which enables employees in one department to shadow an employee in another department. For instance, if the CU has an open loan officer position, a teller can shadow an officer for a few hours to learn more about what is done in that role on a daily basis. This not only allows employees to better understand their own desired career path, but also establishes better rapport between employees, creates awareness of what other departments do, and opens the channels of communication between departments and employees.

 “All of this contributes to higher morale, higher levels of teamwork, better service to our members and a heightened awareness of the importance Pima holds for internal career development,” says Griffin.

Pima FCU also emphasizes empowerment. Employees are encouraged to learn different aspects of their positions and take on tasks that may not traditionally be included in their everyday duties. They are also encouraged to be involved in various committees within the CU, which allows them to be exposed to different areas and ideas.

In addition to internal development, Pima FCU supports and encourages employees to seek professional certifications and take advantage of educational opportunities through industry associations. Plus, the CU reimburses employees for a portion of their higher education tuition costs.

“Once someone joins the Pima team, our goal is to develop them and provide them with opportunity to build a career, not just fill a position,” says Griffin.

Kerry Liberman is president of People Perspectives LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in conducting employee engagement and satisfaction surveys for credit unions. She can be reached at or 206.451.4218.  You can follow People Perspectives on Facebook.

CUES Learning Portal