Olympia Federal Savings was named one of the top five companies in Seattle Business Magazine’s annual Top 100 Places to Work alongside companies such as Hulu, GoDaddy and Zillow. Oly Fed was honored at an event on June 22 in Seattle. This marks the third year they have made the list, each time placing higher than before. Last year they were a top 10 company and now they’ve landed in the top five.
“We are being recognized with some of these major national and international companies and that’s a really big deal for us. We are proud to be a part of the list,” says Aaron Myers, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Olympia Federal Savings. “We have a lot of pride in working here and this just validates that we are doing things right.”
Seattle Business Magazine rates companies based on employee responses to an in-depth survey that includes ten categories. The ten categories are benefits, communication, corporate culture, hiring/retention, executive leadership, performance standards, responsibilities/decision making, awards/recognition, training/education, and workplace environment. They weigh this with how many of the employees participated in the survey. Companies with high scores but low employee participation rank lower than those with high employee participation and similar scores.
“What’s interesting when you hear about great places to work in the media, you usually hear a lot about large high-tech companies that provide all kinds of amenities like gyms and gourmet cafeterias,” says Myers. “We don’t have all those things and yet, here we are, at the top of the list. It really does speak volumes for what we do and how we have created a positive environment that focuses on the long-term happiness, well-being and development of our teammates.”
Oly Fed may not have a gym for their employees, but they have plenty of perks that are part of the reason for their high employee retention – they have dozens of employees who have been with the company for two or three decades or more. Some of the employee benefits include paid wellness and community volunteer days in addition to paid holidays and a generous sick leave and vacation package. Oly Fed also offers comprehensive health insurance, 401(k) matching, annual incentive pay, profit sharing and a special mortgage loan program just to name a few of the perks.
“People First” Since the Beginning
Myers says the “innovative” part of the Oly Fed legacy is that from the very beginning they “put people first.” That has not changed in the 110 years they been in business. This includes employees and customers.
“It’s always been the belief that if you treat people right and do the right thing you will be successful in business and so that’s how we operate,” Myers adds. “This includes an amazing culture where people genuinely care about each other and want their colleagues to succeed in their work and personal lives.”
A great example of this is their current CEO, Lori Drummond. She started out as a receptionist at Oly Fed over 30 years ago and worked her way up. This is a rare story at any company, but not at Oly Fed. Drummond is just one of many who have worked their way up. In fact, the receptionist that took Drummond’s place, Sandy DiBernardo, is now the vice president of marketing. Oly Fed encourages their employees to learn and grow because they know that when their employees succeed, the company does, too.
In alignment with their core values, Oly Fed also gives employees paid days off for volunteer work – just one of the multiple ways the company gives back to our community. They believe community volunteerism is part of the employee satisfaction equation.
“We’ve created a culture where people support one another and where we have continued to grow as a business, year in and year out,” explains Lisa Lindsey, vice president and retail banking manager. “We are able to support the community more and more every year as a result of our growth. That all starts with the people first mentality. And while those other benefits are helpful [big gyms or large cafeterias], I think it comes back to fostering an environment where your employees feel cared for and listened to.”
Transparency within the company and employee recognition is huge at Oly Fed as well. Every Monday they have a “radio address” from their executive leaders that tells employees what’s going on that week including accomplishments, community involved activities, events hosted, awards or milestone employees achieved. And every month they have department meetings where the company’s financial results are shared. From daily “Hoopla” team building activities to quarterly celebration meals, Oly Fed works hard to make sure their employees know what’s going on within the organization, have an opportunity to ask questions or give feedback and have their own successes celebrated.
“This award speaks a lot about not just our company, but Thurston County as a whole,” Ryan Betz, marketing and public relations manager says. “There is a great deal of positive growth happening in our community. From a business and economic stand point, many new businesses are moving here and there’s significant growth and development happening with new neighborhoods and local shops, restaurants and professional services. There is definitely a high quality of life here – we have excellent schools, an involved and caring community, a social services network that is incredibly supportive and a wonderful arts community. So, when a company like ours is recognized, it’s a reflection of what’s happening on a bigger level in the community, and we are honored to be a part of that.”
For more information about Oly Fed, visit the Olympia Federal Savings website or call 800-865-3470.