STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – Union Home Mortgage calls its employees “partners”.
“It’s a partnership,” said Chrisshawna Cunningham, the company’s head of diversity and inclusion. “We really appreciate the contribution of everyone at all levels of the company. And it really feels like you’re my partner. You are not someone who brings me back. We work in partnership together.
This emphasis on collaboration, combined with communication that helps maintain transparency, is a key facet of Union Home Mortgage’s culture. The company is the No.1 large company for Top Workplaces 2021, earning a spot on the list for the seventh consecutive year.
For the List of the best places to work 2021, cleveland.com and the Plain Dealer compiled 175 Notable Northeast Ohio Employers, based on employee surveys. We focused on their responses and adaptations during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bill Cosgrove, president and CEO of Union Home, wants good loan officers who can make the business money, but it’s just as important that they’re good people, said Don Griffiths, vice-president. -President of national operations.
“This is the only thing I have ever heard Bill say where he said, ‘I wouldn’t be getting rid of this business, but if the culture of this business ever changes, I’m going,’ said Griffiths “It’s so important to him that he wants a great culture.”
Every morning, Union Home’s senior management takes part in a conference call to discuss what the company did well the day before and what it needs to improve, Cosgrove said. Senior leaders talk about business decisions, creating a cohesion that breeds success. Before the pandemic, meetings were face-to-face for partners at headquarters and on a conference call for those in other states.
“So when you have that level of collaboration I think you’re capable of scoring touchdowns,” Cosgrove said. “A lot of times in business companies end up – I use the term – in hitting field goals because when you have a complex problem or even a complex opportunity, the first 80 yards of the field is easy to get. But once you’re in that red zone, it’s hard to score a touchdown. So when you don’t have continuity you end up scoring a lot of field goals. But I think our meetings and our level of communication, once we get into that red zone, we can score a lot of hits. “
Before the closures last March, Union Home wondered if the business could operate virtually. The company ultimately decided that its partners would work remotely, Cosgrove said. The company switched to its current hybrid model in early May.
Although the pandemic has changed the way work is done, Union Home Mortgage has succeeded in part because of its communication.
However, communication does not start and end with senior management. The company’s hierarchical superiors ensure that they are transparent with their partners.
“We communicate with our partners, we coach our employee partners, we train our employee partners,” said Cosgrove. “And technology really matters, advertising matters. Everything counts. But at the end of the day, I think we invest more in people than anyone else in our industry, and if you invest more in people and have the right people, you will win every day.
To increase communication, Cosgrove creates opportunities for partners to provide feedback, including virtually. Ahead of the pandemic, Cosgrove made in-person visits to branch offices in other parts of the country to provide updates and discuss with partners what they think the company can do better. Those visits are now being made on Zoom, Cunningham said.
Despite the company’s continued success during the pandemic, Union Home had to make some adjustments. Customers who wish to take out mortgages to buy a home, refinance, or sell must sign the final documents in ink. To help keep people safe when signing documents, Union Home has asked customers to stay in their cars and sign papers in the company’s parking lot, Cosgrove said.
Training has also gone virtual, with new hires learning about Union Home’s code of conduct, company departments and the basics of the mortgage industry.
New hires are exposed to the importance of the code of conduct, learning the key principle of company communication. New partners should also be engaged and passionate, said Latasha Branch, training instructor for the new recruiting class.
“I haven’t met a single person that I can honestly say who isn’t passionate and committed to their role,” Branch said. “And then passionate and committed that you are learning your role and having the resources you need to be successful so that you can continue to be engaged and passionate about what you do every day. “
Branch has worked in training throughout his career, but mostly in the hospitality and banking industries before.
She was nervous about having limited knowledge of the mortgage industry and thought she would be overwhelmed. It was the opposite, however. She has been with the company since February and has had an enriching and enriching experience.
“For a new field and career path for me, in an entirely new industry, it was like something that had been written for me,” Branch said. “And I honestly believe it. I feel like talking about everyone from the top managers to my partners that I meet every day, this is the first business that I can honestly say in a long time that it was meant to be for me. . It was supposed for the pandemic to happen so that I could find my place here. “