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TOP WORKPLACES No. 1 Midsize Company: Nusenda employees build esprit de corps

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Michelle Dearholt is thankful for the workplace mentors who have guided, shaped and encouraged her career during her 17 years at Nusenda Credit Union.

That mentoring helped propel her from a teller job while she was attending UNM though various roles with the organization up to her current position as chief performance officer.

Now she’s helping to foster the same kind of career opportunities for others motivated to grow and succeed at the credit union.

“It’s ingrained in the (work) culture,” says Dearholt of the Nusenda employees who are drawn to “the people-helping-people culture of credit unions.”

A lot of new hires are referred to the credit union by people who already work at Nusenda, she says, after hearing how positive their work experiences have been.

Ambitious people always are welcome to apply, says Dearholt, referring to 20 percent to 25 percent of Nusenda’s employees who are promoted (typically with a higher rate of pay) each year, thanks to their own hard work and willingness to gain skills and knowledge offered by the employer via on-the-job experience, classes and training programs.

Job shadowing is also popular at the credit union for those looking to move into new roles. “It’s our version of take your co-worker to work day,” she says.

“A lot of us have paved our own paths at Nusenda,” says Dearholt of the credit union founded in 1936.

Nusenda hired 112 people in the past year, bringing its total workforce to 481 employees, the majority of them in Albuquerque. It’s the 2018 Top Workplaces midsize winner, with personal and professional development high on the list of the positives cited by workers who participated in an employee survey.

“All my co-workers and the management team are on the same page,” writes one employee. “The administrative team is amazing; they are actually people who smile, laugh with you and understand what you do for Nusenda.”

Another writes: “I can proudly tell people I work for Nusenda Credit Union when I’m asked about my career. I have the opportunities to participate in health/fitness, volunteer work and job development activities that apply to all areas of my life.”

And this comment: “Nusenda rewards hard work with promotions.”

Teamwork is on display outside the office, with credit union employees helping in the community on their days off.

Activities such as a Columbus Day trail clean-up day, teaching financial literacy classes in local schools, and sorting and prepping food for distribution for Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico help build esprit de corps among different departments.

“Being recognized as a Top Workplace nominee is genuinely an honor, as it demonstrates how our team members feel about the efforts we put in every day to make Nusenda a place they are proud to work and encouraged to grow,” says Dearholt.

Indeed, “We equally weigh employee satisfaction with member satisfaction,” says Dearholt.

Nusenda is New Mexico’s largest credit union, with 180,000 member-owners, 19 branches and assets of $2 billion.