Livonia, Mich. – Jan. 10, 2005 – Quicken Loans Inc., the nation’s largest online mortgage lender, has once again been named to FORTUNE magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America. The company was ranked #12, up a notch from #13 last year.
Quicken Loans Inc. which consists of online mortgage lender Quicken Loans, Michigan-based Rock Financial, and Title Source, a title and settlement services provider.
“We’ve created an environment in which people look forward to coming to work each day because they know they will be asked to think big, challenge assumptions and look for better ways of doing things, ” said Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert. “We have 2,250 dedicated, hard-working people in this company who come here every day and make this place great! They come here every day with a passion to succeed. They care about each other. They care about our clients. And that’s what really makes this a great place to work.”
Gilbert attributes the company’s success to a culture that emphasizes communication across the board and in which everyone shares ownership of the goals.
“No bureaucracy means no barriers to communication,” continued Gilbert. “Anyone in this company can pick up the phone and call anyone else, send them an email, or just drop by their office to share an idea. If you think of a better way to do something, you are expected to share it. When you have 2,250 people keeping an eye on the place, instead of a few senior leaders, you can’t help but succeed.”
The company’s achievements include:
- Closed nearly $12 billion in mortgage loans in 2004;
- More than doubled market share and grew to 2,250 team members;
- Quicken Loans became the nation’s largest online retail mortgage lender;
- Rock Financial became Michigan’s largest mortgage company;
- Named a “Best of the Web” mortgage Web site by Forbes, Money and PC Magazines;
Guiding principles and philosophy. Quicken Loans/Rock Financial team members build their work lives around a set of guiding principles or philosophies referred to within the company as “Isms.” Examples of the “Isms” include: “Always Challenge Assumptions,” “Obsessed with Finding a Better Way,” “It’s 1,001 Little Things,” which refers to doing 1,001 little things better than the competition, and “Every Client. Every Time. No Exceptions. No Excuses.,” which refers to the company’s client service philosophy. Other “Isms” include: “Responding with a ‘Sense of Urgency’ is the Ante to Play” and “Always Raising Our Level of Awareness.”
“We know that the best way to motivate our team members is to give them ownership of our goals,” said Bill Emerson, Chief Executive Officer. “Everyone in the company shares our values, goals and successes. We empower our team members to take action and make decisions; to do what’s right on behalf of our clients. But in order to do this, they need to understand our culture and our philosophy because once you understand that it makes your decisions easier.”
To ensure all team members understand the culture, Gilbert spends at least three hours reviewing the “Isms” with new team members at each month’s Orientation class and framed “Isms” posters hang in hallways and offices throughout the company.
The company also places great emphasis on providing many opportunities for training and development, giving ample recognition and rewards, and creating a fun, family-like atmosphere.
Training and development. Quicken Loans/Rock Financial devotes extensive resources to training and development. All new Team Members attend a world-class, intensive two-day orientation to introduce them to the company, its history and philosophy. Gilbert and Emerson speak at every orientation. Each newly-hired loan officer participates in a comprehensive mortgage banker training program; mortgage bankers and loan processors receive more than 200 hours of ongoing training each year.
“We want to empower our team members to be the best they can be, whether that is in the workplace or at home. We try to provide many opportunities for personal and professional growth because our philosophy is to promote from within,” said Emerson.
One of the country’s top personal development experts conducts personal empowerment training programs onsite. The “XO Leadership” program helps future leaders develop the skills they’ll need. Another program, “The 45-day Challenge for Outstanding Leadership,” leads team members and participating spouses through the process of building their ultimate success identity in all areas of their lives.
Rewards and recognition. In addition to providing a strong benefits package, providing frequent reward and recognition is an essential part of the company’s culture. While much has been made of team members winning trips to the Bahamas and Miami, just as important are daily opportunities for recognition. In addition to a generous performance-based bonus plan, each Team Leader has a generous monthly budget to provide immediate, on-the-spot recognition and rewards to their team. Top achievers are recognized at monthly meetings, at dinners with the company’s president and at an annual black-tie awards ceremony.
Fun, family-friendly workplace. FORTUNE also acknowledged the company for its fun, family-friendly workplace. For example, despite the company having doubled in size, CEO Emerson still sends hand-signed birthday cards to all team members, and sends their children cards and gift certificates on their own birthdays.
Some of the perks and events contributing to Quicken Loans/Rock Financial’s quality of work-life include: “Rate Lock,” the company’s in-house rock band that plays at all company meetings; free popcorn, slushees and cappuccino in the “Soft Rock Caf” employee lounge; “Bring Your Kids to Work” Day; and “Ticket Window Thursday” during which CEO Emerson awards concert tickets over the company’s public address system. In 2004, the company’s annual “Big Top” tent summer barbecue featured the company’s first “Pinewood Derby” contest. More than 60 teams designed and built cars that were then raced on a course set up in the company’s parking lot.
Fortune criteria. “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” list is based on two criteria: an evaluation of the policies and culture of each company, and the opinions of the company’s employees. Two-thirds of the total score comes from employee responses to a 57-question survey which goes to a minimum of 350 randomly selected employees from each company. It asks about things such as attitudes towards management, job satisfaction, and camaraderie within the organization. The remaining one-third of the score is based on an evaluation of each company’s demographic makeup, pay and benefits programs, and culture.
“It’s gratifying to know that two-thirds of the score was based on our team members’ responses to FORTUNE’s anonymous survey,” said Emerson. “This means the award really comes from our team members and that they really do think this is a great place to work.”
Those interested in information about careers with Quicken Loans, Rock Financial or Title Source should visit quickenloanscareers.com or call 1-800-411-JOBS.
FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list will be available today on FORTUNE’s web site at www.fortune.com. It also will appear in the magazine’s next issue, which will be available on newsstands January 17th.
# # #