When it came to recognizing WSECU’s employees of the year amid COVID-19 and limitations on in-person gatherings, the credit union’s human resources team had to get creative.

“We wanted all of the excitement that came with our annual day of celebrating employees but knew we had to be smart about it to keep the team safe,” said Kim Duffy, vice president of People & Culture Services, in a statement. “Everything has ‘gone virtual’ now and for many of us, the thought of sitting through another big online meeting wasn’t an exciting prospect.”

The solution? The team partnered with a local videographer and editor and hired actors to make the annual award a special event. Each day for a full week, award-winning employees were surprised with a mini award ceremony tailored to their interests. It was recorded on video and sent out to staff for a socially distant celebration.

The team had a sword-wielding chicken dancing to electronic music, a magician, and an Elvis impersonator on site along with senior leaders from WSECU to present the awards to unsuspecting winners, lured to a WSECU location under false pretenses like needing to pick up a piece of computer equipment, for example.

The employees recognized for 2020 are:

  • Amber Belcher, Employee of the Year, Service to Coworkers (Contact Center)
  • Lynda Watkins, Employee of the Year, Service to Members (Lacey Credit Union Center Branch)
  • Tovia Ryan, Service Excellence, Service to Coworkers (Information Technology)
  • Levi Carlsen, Service Excellence, Service to Members (Spokane Valley Branch)
  • Beth Kober, Volunteer of the Year (Member Loan Center)