Daniel J. Schrider must be doing something right.
For the second time in three years, the president and CEO of Sandy Spring Bank, won Baltimore Sun Media’s Top Workplaces leadership honor for large businesses.
Schrider has been the bank’s top executive since 2009, steering the Olney-based bank, whose branches sprawl from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., through the financial crisis, the Great Recession and the coronavirus pandemic.
“Dan is genuine. He truly cares about the company, the employees and the communities we serve,” said one employee asked about his leadership.
Another said they appreciated “his transparency, inspiring messaging, positivity and faith-filled leadership.”
Schrider took some time to answer a few questions about leadership and Sandy Spring’s work culture:
How did the pandemic change Sandy Spring Bank as a workplace?
Hybrid work was not on our radar before the pandemic. We surveyed employees and managers and learned that remote work was a top priority. In 2021, we introduced a hybrid approach [three days in the office, two days remote] that balances employee flexibility and in-person collaboration but never compromises client service. We are still learning and adjusting, but this is how we do business now, so we will always look for ways to improve.
To that end, I must acknowledge the hundreds of employees who work in our branches or have other positions that require them to come into an office. These individuals are critical to our operations and delivering exceptional client service. I am incredibly grateful for the role they play in our company. We can’t succeed without every person — regardless of whether you are fully remote, hybrid or in an office — working together in lockstep.
What makes Sandy Spring Bank a good place to work?
Our people make Sandy Spring Bank a great place to work; I was recently reminded of this by one of our new employees. Each month, we host a two-day orientation for new hires, and I get to spend time with the group and have lunch with them. In October, I sat next to a woman who had just started working at our Fulton branch in Howard County. I asked her how she liked the bank, and her response made me proud to work here. “The people here are real,” she said.
To me, this is the highest compliment we can get. Colleagues across the bank genuinely care about how you are doing and what is going on in your life. It’s not an act, but genuine interest and concern. If we can continue to put people first, this will continue to be a great place to work for generations to come.
What is a leader’s role in establishing a Top Workplace?
Leaders at every level of an organization need to listen to their employees. It is easy to become isolated, especially when your company is geographically spread out or has remote work.
Instead, leaders need to stay in front of their teams, ask questions, request feedback and keep a pulse on how people are feeling, what is important to them and what they need. Keep open lines of communication and let people know how you will respond to what they have told you.
Leadership takes time, but the payoff is worth it for your people and the company.