Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017):
- Alterna Savings supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments to 75% of salary for up to 17 weeks and offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Along with 3 weeks of starting vacation allowance, Alterna Savings offers paid personal days and a variety of alternative working options to help employees balance work and their personal lives
- Alterna Savings invests in ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions, subsidies for professional accreditation and a number of in-house and online training options
Alterna's caring culture puts people before profits
Jason Davis left one of the big chartered banks 10 years ago to join Alterna Savings and Credit Union and he's never regretted it. He's had the opportunity to get branch-level and head office managerial experience.
But apart from personal advancement, Davis loves the Alterna culture. "There's a genuine culture of caring," he says. "This organization really wants to make a difference for its employees, its members and the communities it serves."
Ottawa-based Alterna -- which was launched in 1908 and was the first credit union outside Quebec -- operates a growing network of 35 branches, 12 of them in the National Capital Region. It is also the first Canadian credit union to operate a nationwide digital bank.
Alterna offers three weeks' vacation to start, several paid personal days per year and time off to do volunteer work. The organization invests heavily in employee development through tuition and professional accreditation subsidies, as well as secondment to corporate projects.
President and CEO Rob Paterson adds that Alterna also offers employees advice on managing their personal finances and provides some of the best rates on staff loans in the financial services sector.
"We're a big believer in putting people before profits," says Paterson. "We're not trying to make billions of dollars profit like the big banks. Our objective is to help individuals and communities grow and prosper."
That caring attitude extends to employees. "We offer advice to help them pay off their mortgages sooner and reach their retirement objectives that much quicker," Paterson says.
Alterna is very active in the communities it serves, and supports a number of worthy causes -- mental health being a top priority. The organization is the lead corporate sponsor of the annual Alterna Crackup comedy festival, which runs for two weeks each February with all proceeds going to support mental health initiatives.
"Our ingrained sense of social responsibility resonates with our employees' personal values and makes them feel that their contribution goes beyond their day to day work," says Paterson.
Case in point: Alterna provided financial support to civil servants caught up in the Phoenix payroll fiasco in which hundreds of bureaucrats weren't being paid -- some for as long as a year. "A lot of individuals were going through difficult times," says Paterson. "We stepped in to provide additional services to get them through the crunch."