Sarah Westgate has two very important jobs.
She's an operations assistant for American Bank in South Whitehall Township.
And she's mom to 10-year-old Ashley.
Because of the flexibility she's afforded at American Bank, she can balance both.
"I can rearrange my day if I need to," the Macungie resident said. "They are very encouraging here and family is always first."
The emphasis on family and employees is part of the reason why the bank was ranked first among small employers in the Top Workplaces survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics. And it's not the first time the bank has appeared on the list. Last year it was rated second in its category.
The locally owned, FDIC-insured community bank offers a variety of banking products and services to suit the needs of consumers and businesses. Founded in 1997, American Bank has one location at 4029 W. Tilghman St. and held $372,958,000 in total deposits as of Oct. 31.
The Top Workplaces award is just the latest in a long list for American Bank. Some others include:
• Rated a 5-Star Superior Bank by BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation's bank rating firm, identifying American Bank as one of the strongest financial institutions in the nation.
• Rated one of the safest banks in America by MSN Money.
• Rated among the top 10 community banks (banks with less than $2 billion in assets) in the U.S. by American Banker magazine.
These accolades create a successful bank that maintains employee longevity.
"Our turnover is almost zero," said Mark W. Jaindl, the bank's chairman and CEO.
Of top concern to bank officials is the family lives of their employees. Work schedules can be modified to accommodate important family appointments and occasions.
"Family is as an important issue in people's lives as any," Jaindl said. "We want our team members to go to their family functions. Family is always first."
The bank's benefits package for employees is generous and offers several perks. For example, employees can "trade in" unused sick days for vacation days. For every three sick days traded they receive one vacation day. The bank also pays employees even if they cannot get to work due to a natural disaster. During Hurricane Sandy, for example, employees who could not get to work were still paid and those who did make it in received bonuses.
Communication also is emphasized. Each month Jaindl holds a meeting with employees, called "team members," to discuss successes and offer a forum for questions or concerns. It's also an opportunity for Jaindl and others to recognize hard work and celebrate birthdays.
"It's an opportunity for us to gauge the pulse of team members and see what things they would like to see changed," said Robert W. Turner, chief information officer for the bank.
Turner said the bank always is looking at adding new benefits for its employees. This year, after taking employees' input, the bank expanded its bereavement policy to include more family members. The bank, which contributes to employees' gym memberships, expanded that perk to include other health and wellness programs, such as Weight Watchers.
Community involvement also is important.
Employees are encouraged to participate in community service, including Habitat for Humanity home building projects and Meals on Wheels. The bank has made donations to more than 60 nonprofit organizations since it opened in 1997.
Employees are given the opportunity to advance. Jaindl estimated that one-fourth of long-term employees have advanced to higher positions.
Take Westgate, for example. She started nearly 12 years ago as a teller. Now she helps with the bank's operations, providing training to employees.
She said she wouldn't consider moving on to another bank. She's happy. And that happiness helps the bank offer a better customer service experience, she said.
"It shows when customers come in," Westgate said. "Happiness translates. If you feel welcome in your job, the customers feel welcome."