The industry today places more emphasis on the traditional three Cs of lending than we have seen in quite a long time. In the current environment of homogeneous loan products, however, the most successful mortgage operators value more than just character, capacity and cashflow; they value and nurture a great culture. A company’s culture defines how it delivers its products and services and has a profound effect on customer satisfaction. How does a company create a successful culture? Is one culture better than the other? Is there a “best” culture?
When we think of companies with great cultures we often think of ping pong tables, gaming rooms, free cafeterias and other notions marketed to the public by successful Silicon Valley tech firms. But a strong company culture goes deeper than games and a free lunch. At its root, a good culture stems from leadership deliberately creating an environment and experience based on what they want a company to stand for and mean in the lives of the people. To that end, there is no “best” culture, since different people value different things. It ultimately comes down to deciding what you believe in and becoming that as a company, through and through.
How does a company go about creating a positive culture? It starts off by defining itself and its core values. Core values, mission statements and comments about culture must be more than mere references in the company’s employee handbook. They must be the very heart and soul of a company’s being. A company must define what is important, what is vital to its success and then live those values in everything it does. For example, if a company values integrity, it must ensure that from the top down it makes the right decisions even when it is difficult and when no one is looking. If it values fun, the company needs to have fun employee events. If it values community service, it should hold routine community outreach with its employees. But most of all, its values must transcend every aspect of the company’s operations on a daily basis.
Think of a successful company culture like an inviting patchwork quilt. Even if patchwork quilts are not really your thing, you have likely seen a quilt that struck you as surprisingly nice. It never seems manufactured, and it always feels authentic with its own distinctive style. Every core value truly carried out, every employee’s contribution, every satisfied and repeat customer and their referrals, the company’s competitive triumphs and challenges are all represented – each with its own patch – on the quilt. Each patch makes up part of the story of who a company is and the overall result has its own look and feel. That’s a company’s culture. And that is how employees and customers judge a company.
Take a moment to evaluate and strengthen your company’s unique and authentic culture quilt. You should find a unified, prideful and loyal workforce that delivers a higher quality of service to its customers with greater employee and customer retention and referral rates. These are the fundamental pieces of a culture quilt that translates into a great place to work.