Recognized as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 23, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Synergy Credit Union Ltd. was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2018):
- Synergy Credit Union employees are encouraged to save for the longer term with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and receive a number of helpful financial benefits along the way, including discounted financial services and low-interest home mortgages
- Synergy Credit Union encourages a culture of learning with tuition subsidies for courses directly and indirectly related to an employee's current position, as well as offering generous financial bonuses for the completion of specific courses (from $150 to $1,350)
- Synergy Credit Union encourages employees to volunteer in the wider community with paid volunteer time and matching charitable donations -- the credit union also makes its office meeting space available for local non-profit organizations when needed
Synergy is not your typical financial institution
When Tamara Sayer first viewed the Synergy Credit Union website, she was stunned by what she saw. Here was a financial institution that values its members and employees before its profits. The site declared that Synergy is a place "where people come first."
"That resonated with me," says Sayer, now a Synergy Account Manager who was working with a for-profit financial services firm at the time. "That's not how financial institutions usually describe themselves."
She adds: "When you put people before money, it changes the game. It's also reflected in how employees are treated -- at Synergy, you are empowered to make decisions to
serve your members."
Synergy, headquartered in Lloydminster, is a co-op credit union with more than 27,000 members. Each year, the credit union returns a portion of its revenues to its members through its ProfitShares program and contributes significantly to non-profits and other organizations to help improve the lives of residents in its communities. Indeed, community engagement is the co-op's core value.
Sayer embraces that commitment full scale. She donates some 100 hours annually, some of it paid time off, to various charitable causes. "It brings me closer to my community," she says.
For his part, Synergy CEO Glenn Stang says people naturally want to help others. "Synergy is not about the money," he says, "but about rolling up your sleeves to serve the community. When people have a purpose, they are more apt to have a skip in their step."
Among his charitable activities, Stang joins his wife to prepare and serve meals every third Friday for a
local community outreach organization, "we clean up afterwards, too."
He has also spearheaded a unique financial literacy program in which aspiring Synergy leaders develop their skills while providing free workshops to children and community groups.
For its employees, Synergy offers strong support for them to achieve their professional goals. Sayer, for one, is working toward professional accreditation as a business lender, with the company picking up the tab for her coursework and offering flexible hours to accommodate her studies. "For Synergy to invest in me, to improve myself, enhances my ability to assist members and helps me increase my contribution to the organization's overall success." she says.
To further build and maintain employee engagement, Stang visits every one of Synergy's 10 service centres at least once a year. Most days, he takes lunch with staff.
Word about Synergy's positive workplace is getting around. Last year, 17 credit unions visited its offices to learn about Synergy's culture. "That was a first," says Stang. "I guess we must be doing something right."