Credit union adds ‘Me Days’ to help employees create work/life balance

It’s a phrase everyone knows and immediately understands: Life happens. But what do you do when you have a personal issue and also need to be at work that day?

If you work for Auburn Hills-based Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union, you can use what the financial-services company calls a “Me Day,’ one of four days available annually where you can take care of your everyday activities in addition to paid time off.

When Andrea Cornell of Cornerstone highlighted how “Me Day” came to be established, she also referenced the credit union’s new volunteer policy: For every hour a CCFCU employee volunteers, they receive an hour of paid time off up to 16 hours annually.

Q: What is the purpose of “Me Days?”
A: All employees get regular paid time off. They have a bank. But in addition to that we wanted to offer some additional flexibility for whatever. So we tossed around the idea of calling it a “Whatever Day.” When it came to it, it came down to that it is about “me.” And you might need a day for whatever life’s throwing at you. For example, I have a manager whose taking it off to be their child’s event at school. They’re took the day to be with their children. They wanted to be a part of it and experience the joy with their children. Or if someone needed to get all of their doctor’s appointments done in one day, they could do that and just be done with it. It truly is about the employee.

Q: How does a “Me Day” work?
A: They can take one per quarter or up to four a year. They can do focus on whatever life is throwing. We do need a little bit of notice – not like you need to tell us a year ahead of time. But they do need to let us know. You cannot call in that day and say you need to take a “me” day. That’s what their paid time off is for. You just may need the day to get a massage and a facial. You may need the day to do some fun event somewhere. Or may you just want to sit at home and read a good book. You just need a day for you and that’s ok.

Q: How did you develop “Me Days?”
A: We are a smaller credit union. In the credit union world, we’re medium sized. But all in all, we only have on average about 74 or 75 employees. We all know one another – it’s very personal. The thing that’s interesting about that is when all is said and done, we need to get the work done and make sure we’re fulfilling our company mission of truly serving our membership in the communities where we live and work. That’s what fuels us as a credit union. When we listened to our employees, we heard loud and clear in surveys that we do on a yearly basis that they would like some more opportunity for flexibility. We were thinking about what are some options that we can provide our employees to give them additional flexibility in their life/work balance. So both of these programs came from that. Feedback is so valuable from our employees and we’re constantly looking at new ways to enhance the work environment.

Q: How does your new volunteer program work in conjunction with “Me Days?”
A: Coming from what our mission is as a credit union – making sure that we are providing the best service to our membership – but then also serving the communities where we live and work, we knew that part of that serving is volunteerism. We sponsor events in the community all the time – pretty much every community where we have a presence, we are giving back in various ways. Each employee is expected to do at least eight hours of volunteering per year. So that we have can that presence in those communities. We wanted to give back something for the employees to reward them for them giving up their time to do that volunteering. So we give them an hour for hour basis – we give them eight additional paid hours off for the future. They can earn … we have a lot of employees who love to volunteer and never miss an opportunity to be out in the community giving back. So they can earn up to 16 hours per calendar year. If they’re going out of their way to assist us in achieving that company mission and vision we find it very important to really give back to our employees in a way that can truly help them with that flexibility for life.