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Building a workplace that earns recognition as one of USA Today’s Top 5 Workplaces, an accomplishment Mountain America Credit Union just achieved, is an endeavor that demands more than just meeting the basic needs of an organization and its employees. It requires a holistic approach that touches every aspect of the organization, from its physical spaces to its core values and practices. Here is an expanded perspective on what it takes to create (CREATE, acronym style)— such an esteemed workplace:

C: Culture that inspires

At the heart of any exceptional workplace lies a vibrant and supportive culture that fosters both individual growth and collective success. Culture starts with a maniacal focus on the members we serve, a mission that drives our employees to help members achieve their financial dreams. Culture is about shared beliefs, values, and behaviors. It is more than simply having a statement on the wall; it is about actively engaging team members every day in a meaningful mission with values they are accountable to live by. Values that are brought to life starting at the hiring process, goal setting, performance assessments, promotions and permeate every aspect of what our organization does. Why are values so important? They are the connective tissue that brings our mission to life for our members and each other. Our mission and values are brought to life in a way that drives inclusivity and builds pride in what we do.

R: Relationships and Connections

Strong relationships and connections within a company are crucial for fostering collaboration, enhancing communication, and building a positive work culture. These bonds encourage trust and respect among employees, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity. Effective teamwork and a sense of belonging can drive innovation and problem-solving, as individuals feel more comfortable sharing ideas and feedback. A connected and cohesive workforce contributes to the overall success and resilience of the company, enabling it to navigate challenges and seize opportunities more effectively.

E: Engaged and empowered team members

A key ingredient in the recipe for workplace excellence is a workforce that is not only engaged but also empowered to contribute meaningfully to the organization’s mission. Engaged team members are not merely clocking in and out; they are invested in the success of the company and willing to go beyond job descriptions to achieve shared goals. By fostering a culture of communication, collaboration, and empowerment, organizations can leverage the collective talents and passions of their teams, leading to greater efficiency, creativity, and overall performance.

A: Autonomy and accountability

Team members thrive when they understand what is expected of them and have the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Challenging and clear expectations along with defined responsibilities are essential components of a high-performance culture. By

establishing stretch opportunities and a culture of accountability, organizations can ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards common objectives, even in the face of challenges and uncertainties.

T: Trust and confidence

Trust is the bedrock upon which successful organizations are built. Team members who not only trust their leaders but feel trusted in return, believe in the organization’s mission and are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to achieving excellence. By fostering open communication, transparency, and integrity, leaders can build trust and confidence among their teams, creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best.

E: Education and professional development

Continuous learning and development are essential for both individual and organizational growth. By providing team members with regular opportunities for training and professional development, organizations can ensure that their workforce remains innovative, adaptable, and equipped to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving landscape. Moreover, investing in team member development not only enhances skills and competencies but also fosters a culture of lifelong learning and personal growth, driving engagement, retention, and overall satisfaction. Finally, it creates an agile organization that can flex to meet the changing needs of its members.

In conclusion, creating a workplace that ranks among the top in the nation requires a multifaceted approach that prioritizes a culture that inspires, relationships and connections, team member engagement, autonomy and accountability, trust and confidence, and educational opportunities both personal and professional. By focusing on these key areas and investing in the well-being and development of their team members, organizations can create environments where talent thrives, innovation flourishes, and success becomes not just a goal, but a reality.

Executive Leadership

Trent Savage is the chief human resources officer at Mountain America Credit Union. He develops and executes HR and talent development strategies that support the credit union’s business plan. Since joining in 2018, Savage has implemented technology to streamline HR operations and enhance engagement, enabling team members to focus on strategic consulting with leadership.

Savage has worked for Amazon, eBay, and Procter & Gamble, gaining expertise in strategy development, executive coaching, leadership effectiveness, organizational design, strategic talent management, and team effectiveness.

Beyond his role at Mountain America, Savage is active in the Utah business community. He serves as chair of the Brigham Young University HR/OD Advisory Council, a board member for Courage Reins, an executive committee member of the Credit Union National Association HR, and chair of the HR Executive Roundtable in Utah.

Savage holds an MBA in organizational development and human resources from BYU. He has been recognized as Utah’s HR Disruptor of the Year by Utah Business Magazine and received the Ascendant Leader award from BYU’s Marriott School of Management. In his spare time, he enjoys family activities, horseback riding, and hiking.

Contributed Article by Mountain America Credit Union.