Dave Roughton October 25, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Why SAFE is the No. 1 Best Place to Work


I felt tremendous pride when the Sacramento Business Journal named SAFE Credit Union the No. 1 Best Place to Work in the very large employer category at its 2018 Best Places to Work awards earlier this month. Hearing the applause and seeing members of our leadership and Community Banking teams beaming at the awards luncheon affirmed what I and they already knew: SAFE is indeed the best place to work.

What makes SAFE so special? It’s in our culture, in our mission, it’s our employees and leadership. Above all, it’s everyone pulling together to accomplish our “why” – improving our members’ financial well-being. It’s easy to understand what we do. There’s some secret sauce in how we do what we do, but I think “why” we do what we do is more important. We do what we do because we want to help members make financial decisions in their best interests, not SAFE’s best interests. That makes you feel good all the time. You know you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons, every single day.

That mission is summed up in our brand promise: We promise exceptional experiences, the best solutions, and professional experts to help members enjoy life. It’s not a slogan, it’s not a tagline, but it is the foundation of our culture. It’s the baseline of how we want everyone in the company to feel, it’s how we want our members to feel when they engage with SAFE, and it’s how we want the community to feel when we engage and volunteer to improve the vitality of our region. It’s that encompassing message that guides our decision making each day.

The beauty of the brand promise is that employees can embrace it from Day 1. You can be exceptional. That’s a choice every one of us makes each day. And if you commit to being exceptional on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, it becomes a habit. 

When SAFE employees responded to the Best Places to Work survey, they cited our supportive, family-oriented culture that walks the talk on encouraging work-life balance. We spend a lot of time on the job and we’re doing important work, serious work. We’re handling our members’ money, a big part of their lives. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it in an enthusiastic, engaging, at times fun way to feel good about what you’re doing. If you do your job well and you focus on doing things the right way the first time, we have opportunities to be an employer where you can have a great work-life balance. At SAFE, I believe that, truly, your personal life, your family life, is just as or more important than work life.

Bottom line, in order to have happy and loyal members, we have to have happy and loyal employees. You can’t have one without the other. You’re not going to get happy and loyal members and be as successful as you want to be if your workforce who serves them every day isn’t happy. I believe in investing in our staff, because without you we couldn’t do all the rest of the great things we want to do.

Focusing on our mission of service to our members, investing in and respecting our employees, a companywide dedication to excellence – these are the main ingredients in SAFE’s “secret sauce” of success. As CEO, I’m honored to work among such incredible people every day.


Dave Roughton

Dave Roughton is President and CEO of SAFE Credit Union.