Lessons in leadership: Kristy Hesse

The chief human resources officer at Community First Credit Union discusses her credit union's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kristy Hesse is the chief human resources officer of Community First Credit Union($3.6B, Appleton, WI), a position she has held since March 2019. Here, she answers Callahan’s leadership questions about her credit union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Between the beginning of 2020 and now, how have your operations changed?

Kristy Hesse: Wisconsin had a Safer at Home order, not a complete Stay at Home. We moved to remote work, and branch lobbies were open by appointment only. We leveraged DocuSign and other virtual capabilities. We’re all getting to be experts on Zoom, Teams, and WebEx.

I oversee human resources and training, and although we briefly paused some training and development, we didn’t stop recruiting at all. We held remote interviews, and when we conducted new employee orientation, we did as much of the onboarding virtually as we could. What we couldn’t do virtually we moved to an empty office where we could control the number of people in the room, adhere to social distancing rules, and take frequent breaks to sanitize hands and surfaces.

We decided it was more important to plan for the future by hiring talent than it was to control for operating expenses. It was a leap of faith, but we made the leap.


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