Credit union is No. 1 large company in Top Workplaces for 2022 - Albuquerque Journal

Credit union is No. 1 large company in Top Workplaces for 2022

Employees at Nusenda Credit Union say they feel they are making a difference in the lives of members.

The company, founded in 1936 as a cooperative, employs about 700 people including at 23 locations across the state. This is the 10th consecutive year Nusenda has made the list for Top Workplaces and second year in a row the company placed first in the large workplace category.

“I enjoy working hard and contributing to the betterment of our members’ lives,” one employee wrote.
Said another employee: “I am valued for what I bring to Nusenda and am compensated fairly for my education and experience. I have the flexibility to have an excellent work/life balance.”

Nusenda CEO Joe Christian, who has led the organization since 2019 and been with the company for more than 35 years, said it has been Nusenda’s mission — especially in the last three years — to create a work environment for its employees that is caring and that provides the tools for success. He calls it a “foundational element” to everything Nusenda does and that the care for employees of the company translates to caring for members of the credit union.

“It’s kind of like this ecosystem of focusing on improving opportunities for all of New Mexico,” he said, “but also our members and our employees.”

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Christian, whose comments have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

The economy has been challenging lately. Prices have been rising on a bunch of different ends. How has the economy changed how Nusenda operates?

“It was obvious to us that we needed to raise our starting wage, which is now $18 per hour. And, you know, most employees are compensated much better than that. But what we had to do was sit back and look at the, I would say that baseline salary and benefits that our employees were receiving.

“The other thing we did is we instituted an employee hardship grant program, which is a program that we have internally that we use to help families have access to resources in the event of an emergency or some kind of a crisis. New Mexico isn’t just experiencing the pandemic. Think of the wildfires and think of the impact on people in the state, and some of our employees. It could be a health event for an employee or a spouse.

“So, we’ve tried to find ways that we could kind of have a meaningful impact on our employees’ lives. And if you’re going to say you want to be treated like family — and you want to treat each other like family — you try to help each other in various ways to ensure that everyone’s thriving to the best of their ability.”

What things have changed about Nusenda in the last year?

“Well, what I would say is that it’s almost as though the future — what we saw happening five years in the future, happened a little shorter term. …

“We’ve kind of escalated the idea of leveraging technology, so employees can work remotely. We were experimenting with telepresence technology — what people use in terms of Zoom; we use WebEx or Teams. We had some of that framework in place.

“And we were, you know, thinking well, three to five years down the road employees can work from anywhere, so on and so forth. Well, we escalated all that. The world is still trying to figure this out. But what we realized is that our employees prefer a hybrid work experience. And our employees have demonstrated that they can perform at a very high level, no matter where they’re actually physically sitting.”

What sets you apart from other credit unions in the state?

“I think what sets us apart is a focus on our employees and a focus on the communities where we serve.”

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