Assiniboine Credit Union Dives Deep with Employees

Winnipeg, Manitoba — November 29, 2017

For the first few hours of the Assiniboine Credit Union “Being Assiniboine” workshop, no one talks about ACU.

In fact, ACU isn’t on the agenda until everyone explores the kind of community they want their kids, grandkids and great, great grand kids to grow up in. And then, the values an organization needs to have to create that ideal community.

Amazingly the descriptions are very similar from one workshop to the next with words like “diverse, inclusive, voice, safety, sustainable, opportunity for all, healthy, accessible, innovative and ethical” written boldly on a white board at the front of the room.

Not surprisingly when you dive this deep, it can take a long time to get around to what makes your workplace tick. For ACU that’s OK because their custom-designed “Being Assiniboine” workshop is three-days long and is intended to guide everyone through an exploration of how a financial institution can have impact on a community and how each employee owns a piece of that impact while working at ACU.

The workshop includes field trips out of the office and into the organizations that ACU partners with or has supported in some way.

Staff who have only heard about ACU’s support for places like the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCOM), actually get to hear first-hand from the professionals who directly support newcomers who arrive in Winnipeg with a few personal belongings and a large immigrant loan to repay.

They walk Selkirk Avenue and talk about the importance of supporting Merchant’s Corner community education campus and Urban Circle’s Indigenous training centre — all powerful community organizations in Winnipeg’s North End that share in ACU’s vision of an ideal community. Then there might be a stop at the Social Enterprise Centre, to hear from like-minded organizations like BUILD, a contractor and a training program for people who face significant barriers to employment.

 With 450 employees, it will take several months for each of them to cycle through “Being Assiniboine” workshops, but the investment is well worth it, says Kim Champion Taylor, ACU’s Vice President, People Solutions.

“Working at ACU is a choice we all make every day. These three days provide everyone with an opportunity to reconnect with ACU’s vision and mission — remarkably, we all want the same things in our community. The workshop provides everyone the chance to examine how they themselves play a role in creating that ideal community every day at work,” says Champion Taylor who co-leads the workshop with Brendan Reimer, ACU’s Strategic Partner, Values-Based Banking.

This kind of commitment to deep and meaningful engagement with staff comes directly from the ACU board of directors and executive leadership. Everyone from the executive team to new employees will take part in the workshop, says ACU President and CEO Kevin Sitka.

“For me it was a powerful experience. Who we are at ACU really matters to the people who work here, the members we serve and the communities we impact. I left the three-day session feeling inspired about our purpose, proud of the impact we already create and excited about the future,” says Sitka.

“It really isn’t a program as much as a journey that aligns us with a common purpose, being clear about the role that each one of us plays, and creating consistent expectations to which we hold each other accountable — this is about all of us committing to Being Assiniboine.”

MediaCorp, the organization that manages Canada's Top 100 Employers, has recognized ACU with Top Employer awards in both national and regional categories several times since 2006 including being named Canada's Greenest Employer and Best Employer for New Canadians in that time. This year's recognition was announced in a special Winnipeg Free Press supplement published November 29, 2017.

Assiniboine Credit Union is a financial co-operative in Manitoba with branches in Winnipeg, Thompson and Gillam. As a values-based organization, ACU uses its expertise and resources to foster self-reliant and sustainable communities, while taking care to consider the impact of business decisions on employees, members, the environment and the communities it serves.

For more information: 

Kim Champion Taylor
VP, People Solutions
Direct Line: 204.258.3487


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