Safety National Reviews

Updated January 14, 2015
12 reviews filtered by
  • Any Location
  • Any Job Title
2.9
12 Reviews
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Mark A. Wilhelm
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Great Underwriting Atmosphere.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Underwriter in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Underwriter in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Safety National full-time

    Pros

    Safety National has been great to work for. Just so I can easily summarize my thoughts, I'll make a list:
    1) Pay is above industry average commensurate with your experience.
    2) Health insurance and retirement are pretty run of the mill, but health care is free for employees and kids, and they give you $2,000 annually to apply to your $3,000 (if you pay your $1,000 first).
    3) There is virtually no micro-management. People are never checking over your shoulder, or bugging you about stuff.
    4) Cash bonuses for designations.
    5) 4% Christmas bonus.
    6) Vacation homes for employees to use (for free!).
    7) Business casual dress with frequent jeans days.
    8) Catered lunches at least once a month.
    9) A work from home option seems to be coming soon (?).
    10) Free soda all day erry day (but it's Pepsi, so take that for what it's worth).
    11) An excellent training program.
    12) A bunch of other good stuff, I've most likely become used to and take for granted.

    Cons

    During peak times, things get a little crazy. I worked several 60-70 hour work weeks this year (during December and June).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing. The employees appreciate all the stuff you do - even the little things.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful

    Where they lack in ethics they make up for in nepotism and lies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead IT Clown in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Lead IT Clown in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Safety National full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The best thing about the company is that you can quit

    Cons

    Management have no education or experience and hired based on family and friends of higher management. Idiots hired to power struggle over each other. Anyone with more than an associates should look elsewhere for employment.

    Have very high turnover. They hire 4 people at a time hoping 1 stays. With such outdated technology and inexperienced uneducated management their IS team will never get caught up to modern day.

    For every honest negative review on here they require an employee to mock up a fake review. I was asked to, I didn't, I then got "released".

    Pride themselves on work life balance yet expect you to work 12 hr days with no comp time or pay.

    They created core values that are used against them as a joke. Honesty, not one manager has ran a department without adhering to the games and lies of higher management. Teamwork, because everyone quits you spend all your time meeting people and watching them leave than actually working. In 3 months, teams changed 6 times with no work delivered. Balance, work 15 hour days for crap pay. Integrity, a brief look into any managers actions will show unethical, very questionable harassment covered up by more lies. Stability, they are stable professional liars.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Grow up and run a respectable company based on real core values.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. Working at Safety National has been great!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Safety National as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    If you are like me you try to find out all the information about a company before you take a job. To me, a healthy work environment is important and after reading through some of these reviews I definitely had some concerns. The post titled “Every time a developer accepts a position at Safety National, God kills a kitten.” was especially concerning since I love cats (hilarious review title though). After talking with some people about the reviews on here, I decided to accept the job anyway and am glad that I did.

    I can't speak to a lot of the reviews on here about things that might have happened in the past but I will attempt to give a fair review of how things are currently. Safety has given me the opportunity to work with some cutting edge technology and they have acquired some of the best talent in Saint Louis to put that technology to use. If you need a tool to do your job better and can justify it they will get it for you. If you ever need help on an issue there is usually somebody that can help you figure it out. I have always had positive experiences with people in management positions and my coworkers.

    They are in a transition period moving from an older Java/DB2 platform to .Net/SQL Server and really seem to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It feels like they want to design and build things according to best practices and I have never felt like my opinions weren't being heard or that the company didn't care what people had to say. It's nice to work someplace where you actually have input into design decisions.

    The comment on here about the cameras installed on workstations isn't exactly accurate. While there are cameras on the monitors they are for communicating with developers who aren't local, not for spying on employees. Having worked with remote teams before I find this to be a nice feature as I prefer to have face to face conversations while working through issues.

    It is a fast paced environment, and they are constantly working on new software/improved processes so there is little time to sit back and do nothing but I don't feel micro-managed or over worked. If you hate sitting around waiting for something to work on, or get bored easily then this is the place for you because there is always something to do.

    The benefits are also top notch. The pay is very competitive and a lot of little perks like free coffee/tea/soda and there is typically food somewhere to be found.

    Cons

    This isn't really a con, but it didn't feel like it belonged in the Pros section. The company does seem to be a bit new to the agile process and since everybody does agile a bit differently I think that might be where a lot of the negative reviews are coming from. Either people that are new to the agile process or people that have just been exposed to it in a different manner. Part of the agile process here (and most places that do agile) involves clocking the time you spent working on the tasks in that sprint. This is done here through the web and is fairly easy. This also serves as the time sheet that is used to check against the time sheet that I submit to my consulting company. People that aren't use to having to account for their time during the day might find this micro-managing but it's really not. It's just so they can keep track of a project's velocity and used to calculate burn-downs. I don't really have a problem with it, but I could see how people that aren't used to agile might find this a con.

    The comment about how the bugs/user stories not having good details is a valid one though. The descriptions on stories are usually lacking but I have never had an issue getting a product owner or business analyst to get me more details. You can't expect to be given all the information up front, so there is sometimes a bit of digging/researching involved to get up to speed before you can complete the task. They have a wiki in place and they are working on knowledge transfers to help solve some of these issues but again, I have never had a problem getting a meeting with the people I need to answer my questions or walk me through what an application does or how a business process works.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have always felt like I was appreciated and valued so keep up the good work. Keep working on stream-lining your agile process and beefing up your documentation and getting a work from home policy in place would also be nice to have.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. 3 people found this helpful

    It'd be sad if it wasn't so hilariously bad.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - UI/User Experience Designer in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Contractor - UI/User Experience Designer in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Safety National as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Safety National as a whole is a great company. It has an interesting business model, is raking in money hand over fist and does its best to create a fair and comfortable working environment for their employees as long as you are not in the inappropriately name IS department. They have great benefits (if you can manage it get hired full time and not as a contractor, getting hired can take more than a year) and a beautiful campus. Though you may not believe it after reading the cons, I truly do wish the best for most Safety National employees and the company as a whole.

    Cons

    If nothing else, at least read the last paragraph of this review...

    I am an 8 year veteran in the UI/UX design and development field in the St Louis area and have consulted with many large companies around the St Louis area and nationally as well. My portfolio has companies like Toyota, Mc Donalds, AT&T, Wells Fargo, etc in it and I have never had an unhappy customer. That is, until I went to Safety National.

    Summary
    Safety National's software development process is, soup to nuts, completely broken Safety National has an old Java product called IMS that they are trying to update due to the many complaints it has received over the years. Instead of taking a fresh look at the business models these users are interacting with, they are basically forcing everyone to re-create the IMS software with a new look using new technologies with old development patterns.

    So there are four main categories to what made Safety National such a horrendously bad environment for software:

    1. The CTO
    The CTO is an extreme micromanager and he is very wrapped up in the look and feel of the software. Nearly every pixel on each design has his fingerprint on it leaving no room for any designer to have a say on what should or shouldn't be done. He is self admittedly color blind and I believe his design sense to be antiquated. He gives vague feedback like, "Try again." and "How about a different look," forcing you to iterate on a pre-established design structures that are circa 2005.

    If you DO, get a chance to create something new expect a very poor attitude during the presentation. The CTO does not like it when other people in the department excel higher than what he himself came up with. When I suggested that we take some of the issues he had to the user to get their opinion on it, I was fired within 24 hours for questioning him.

    Lastly, after interacting with the staff during my time at Safety National, I discovered that all of the staff is constantly afraid, as the CTO will fire people on a whim or just publicly berate them in front of everyone for what at times seems like no real reason at all. After a few weeks of working at Safety National, I noticed a phenomenon that I started calling the Safety National eye-role. This would happen when you would speak with someone and they would ask, "I really liked... What happened to it?" to which someone would answer, "Well, upper management said..." and enter the eye-role. This eye-role was usually followed by a passive aggressive joke about upper management and the Safety National management style.

    2. The UI/UX Position
    The company has no idea what a UI/UX designer is and how they work. At Safety National, in part because every usability decision must go through the CTO, you as a UX professional are not allowed to interact with the user. The CTO asks that in all cases, everyone consider him to be the final authority on the user and will block you from interacting with the actual users.

    Only BA's, who have little to no background in UX or usability testing, are allowed to speak to the users and only during first two weeks of a project where the BA is responsible for documenting all the software requirements (did someone say waterfall?), get all the possible context they can into the users daily lives and make wireframes which you will be required to strictly follow as a designer making your job as a UI/UX Designer (production artist) an impossible tug of war between making a paint by numbers design based on the wireframes and the CTO, who at anytime in the process can and will change EVERYTHING and then say, "Hey, we are agile," which is not what that term means.

    At the end of the development cycle, software is provided to the users for review, and nearly every time they get a look, they point out how wrong and useless it is. Instead of fixing the software, the upper management of the company uses the requirements document (made in the first two weeks of a the software lifecycle) in front of the users telling them that the software is what they signed off on in the beginning...again...waterfall.

    3. The Development Process
    Most of the development staff comes from poor offshore companies that upper management uses as leverage to get faster work out of the onshore developers. Every time an offshore team delivers something, the onshore team has to re-do all of the work because the offshore team doesn't follow any coding best practices (ie changing code in JS library files) and break more than they fix. The onshore developers spend most of their time lying to the rest of the department about what can and can't be done. They get away with it due to no one in the management structure having ever written a line of code themselves, and thus not knowing any better.

    The developers do use Git, but they do not have any kind of branching strategy and literally just commit EVERYTHING onto master. Enough said right? But there is more. As you might imagine, without the use of any branching or at the very least some sort of automated testing, this leads to a HUGE number of bugs that make it out of the dev servers and into the live environment. Its actually kind of hilarious to watch the indignation of the BA's (who are mostly used as project managers) and users when they see all the bugs that were pushed live. But again, no one is smart enough to call the developers out, so they just make up some technical sounding stuff about why all the bugs aren't their fault, and the world moves on.

    4. Agile
    Anybody who has worked in an actual Agile environment will immediately notice, that the process is also NOT Agile, though they do use a few terms to describe parts of the waterfall process as Agile. For instance, they have daily stand ups, but instead of using the stand up to collect information from each other and see what everyone is working on or having issues with, they use the stand up as a place to harass everyone about deadlines (especially in the second week of the so called "Sprint"). No one really says anything important in these meetings due to the highly politically charged atmosphere and because most of the impediments they are facing are coming from the poor management style prevalent in the department. So we all just said stuff like, "I'm working on this today!" and moved on.

    They do use a kanban board, but very poorly. It is basically just used as a project management tool for their waterfall system. Where cards (not user stories) are created and consist of vague things like, "make the app good." They do try and make them like user stories though, so they are sometimes written, "As a user, I want the app to be good." Obviously that is a bit of hyperbole, but you get the point.

    Conclusion
    This review is already longer than some books, and as I try and close it out, I keep thinking of more things you as a potential hire should know. Like all direct design managers have never designed anything in their life. Which I believe is very telling. But I guess this will have to do. Hopefully I have scared you off from working at Safety National. If not, good luck to you. I truly hope your experience there will be better than mine. So last two things, I promise.

    As you can probably tell, I am not a fan of the CTO. My experience at Safety National was incredibly disappointing because, as a whole, it is a great place. I was enticed away from a job I was happy at based on empty promises of having a chance to be in a leadership role for the UI/UX department. There is no room for leadership at Safety National so long as the CTO continues to manage the department like he does today. As mentioned before, when I tried to take a leadership stance with the designers and advocate for what I truly believed to be best for the user, I was fired for it. I was dumped on my rear without a conversation or even a phone call to explain why the decision was made.

    DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR EMPTY PROMISES - BAIT AND SWITCH
    The CTO and his subordinate managers will tell you all sorts of things. In fact, if you bring up this review, they will likely denigrate me and tell you all sorts of lies. That is what they did when I asked about other negative reviews on this site. They openly insulted the people who they thought had made the reviews. In fact, I found out later after accepting the position, that the only positive reviews on here by the so called "Lead Developers" were very likely spoon fed to them by the company.

    Best wishes to you the reader and all the Safety National family.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Safety National is gaining a seriously bad reputation in the area for its technical management style. Now that I am back on the market, I have had all kinds of people like recruiters, people on LinkedIn etc contacting me with their horror stories about the CTO and his micromanagement style. It is not too late to change and I truly believe that Safety National can become a regional and national leader in digital if you can get the right person to lead it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    If you want a challenging and rewarding career, look at Safety National

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Lead Developer in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Contractor - Lead Developer in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Safety National as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    I have worked in many development shops in the St. Louis area, and Safety thus far has proven to not only have the best IT environment I have been involved with, but is turning out to be one of the best companies I have worked for.

    Never have I seen a stronger concentration of IT talent in one place. Safety National has assembled some of the best developers, designers, BAs, QAs and infrastructure / help desk talent from around the world. Not a day goes by where I do not learn something new from someone in this extremely talented group.

    The work is challenging and we are always close to if not on the bleeding edge of web and .NET technologies. Employees are empowered to provide creative solutions to problems, and to research and introduce new technologies.

    The compensation package at Safety is incomparable. Bonus, vacation, retirement, insurance, etc.. The company also does a very good job with the intangibles, providing free coffee, tea, and soda, an exercise room, holding company events, etc. Coworkers are blast to work with and everyone I have met has been very kind.

    The company is growing and it looks to me like there will be a great many opportunities for people to move up.

    All in all this is the best company that I have worked for (and I have been a lot of places). It is no wonder Safety has been called one of the best companies to work for.

    Cons

    The development process has been changed several times since I started, making it sometimes difficult to work. HOWEVER - we have settled on a process and I foresee stability in this area forthcoming.

    This is not a con for me, but the environment at Safety is extremely fast paced, and the expectations are very high. People who cannot keep up can get eaten alive.

    The work/life balance suffers a little as there is not a telecommute policy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep an open mind to a telecommuting policy and more flexibility in schedule, especially for IT and development.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Lead Software Developer in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Contractor - Lead Software Developer in Saint Louis, MO

    I have been working at Safety National as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Safety National is a great place to work! The company appreciates their employees and takes good care of them. The IT environment is fast paced and is focused on delivering software and keeping customers happy. If you like leaving at the end of the day feeling that you accomplished something , then this is the place for you.

    Cons

    Not recommended for people who want to kick back and wait for retirement to roll around.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful

    Not for the IT professional

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Safety National as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    1. Great introduction to politics
    2. Exposure to over engineered and extremely complex solutions to simple problems
    3. Great opportunity to learn how not to develop a web application, and to witness many anti-patterns in a real world application and see how they adversely affect performance, scalability, and portability.
    4. Free soda

    Cons

    There's been several recent reviews on here that paint good light on the IT department, if you're considering interviewing here, take these few questions with you.

    1. Over the last few years, what is the turnover rate of your developers? BA? QA?
    2. Do you require your developers to use a physical time clock? Do I need to clock in and clock out?
    3. Do you have cameras installed on every developer's workstations that monitor them while they're at their desks?
    4. Do you have software that tracks time while they're actually at their desks?
    5. Have you ever called a department meeting and in the context of that meeting explained to everyone why someone was let go? -- This one's for the CTO.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your business is good, but your IT department is a cost center. Good engineers in your market laugh about the things that go on at your company. Self reflection will not solve these problems, and eventually the hemorrhaging of money and talent will adversely effect your bottom line. Bring in someone from the outside who is willing to stake their reputation on their opinions, and have a thorough analysis of your IT department commissioned. This is not a one or two week job, you will need someone there for at least six months. Ensure that they avoid conflicts of interest, such as fraternizing with the whole, as to avert bias.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful

    Every time a developer accepts a position at Safety National, God kills a kitten.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Software Engineer in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Contractor - Software Engineer in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Safety National as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    They are using some good technologies on the client-side like backbone, underscore, requireJS, .Net MVC, etc. They also have free coffee and tea, along with soda fountains for free. Good pay.

    Cons

    You'll be expected to clock in and out on each bug or task you work on. If you forget to punch the digital time clock you'll get flagged and have to justify why to management. If you don't log at least 8 hours each day to bugs or tasks you'll be confronted and asked why you aren't working all day.. ignore the fact you have an hour of two of meetings each day. yes, you need to log at least 40 hours towards development in your first week. You will be asked to fix applications that are broke, but you have never seen in a working state or even given an overview of what the app does. Good luck finding a user story or bug with details, you'll have to get the information from someone else. Co-Workers are RUDE and condescending. You are creating business specific tools with no idea what the business needs are. My first day I was told about a guy who started and then went to lunch his second day and rather than coming back, called the team lead CRYING about how he was treated by the team and quit. The team told me this story while laughing and making fun of the guy. If your lucky you'll be the only English speaking person on your team. I don't mean naively, I mean the ONLY one that can speak English and expected to have the team lead translate for you with the rest of the team who, by the way, works in Russia. But by the end of the first week with now training or introduction they will "expect you to be the expert on this app". Just a terrible place, worst decision I ever made. Don't get me started on the new CEO who approves a vacation you have planned before you start, and then says you need to get your vacation approved after accepting the positon.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to the new hires. Follow-up and see how they're doing. Don't throw a ft when they quit a three weeks in and cite reasons that you were aware of. Take responsibility when you make mistakes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. Promising Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical Writer -- Contract in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Technical Writer -- Contract in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Safety National full-time

    Pros

    Great management styles, relaxed work environment, lots of events to make the employees feel appreciated. I was glad to have learned some technical writing skills along the way.

    Cons

    I don't think there was enough for me to do. They may have hired me without needing me full-time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None. Management was always great.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful

    GLAD I AM OUT THIS PLACE!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Safety National full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I had a great boss that was pretty understanding. Her understanding made no difference because because upper management did not allow her to promote or move people around. The executives are nicer then the minions although they are still stuck in the old days.

    Cons

    There is no room for growth. Instead of promoing within they will hire outside or consulttants. Role changes are based on politics and who you know. Hard hard is not rewarded. Benefits are terrible. The ENTIRE HR department sucks and are very unapproachable. This company uses IT or the IS department as their personal punching bag. The IS department ESPECIALLY NETWORKING is unappreciated. The new CTO only cares about the Development/software side. This company does not trust their employees and monitors clock in/out times. There is no work/life balance. This company molds new and existing employees to be helpless and selfish brats.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to appreciate and trust your employees. Allow groth WITHIN the company so that you wwill jot continue to lose valuable knowledgeable employees. Wipe out the complete HR department or have them all go through some type of training. Their attitudes suck and the turn around time for some of their processes they do is unacceptable.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

Work at Safety National? Share Your Experiences

Safety National

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.