Human Resources

Staff Hits Wellness Milestone

CU launches award-winning wellness program.

December 27, 2011
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Employees at Security Service Federal Credit Union have lost a ton of weight—literally.

That’s due to the San Antonio-based credit union’s award-winning corporate wellness program—CU Fit. The program boasts a 94% staff participation rate, says Molly Daniels, vice president of human resources.

She says credit union employees have taken 100 million steps, as measured by their pedometers, since the program began four years ago—enough to walk around the world 1.78 times.

CU Fit equips employees with pedometers, personal tracking websites, free gym mem-berships, exercise and nutritional classes, financial management classes, and a program designed to improve work-life balance. Staff also receive prizes for staying healthy and meeting goals.

“We’ve given out more than $200,000 in cash rewards,” Daniels reports.

Security Service Federal’s wellness campaign has won awards in three states: the 2011 Utah Council for Worksite Health Promotion Platinum Designation and winner of the Innovation Award; third place among the Denver Business Journal’s 2011 Healthiest Employers; and a bronze medal for the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s San Antonio 2011 Healthy Workplace Award.

Plus, the $6.5 billion asset credit union’s employee café received the ¡Por Vida! healthy eating designation from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department.

“We are honored and humbled to have received such recognition for our employees’ hard work and commitment,” says Daniels. “We are proud to support them in their efforts to lead healthier lives."

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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