DEC 6, 2011 11:46am ET

Making the Sale: The Best and the Brightest

DEC 6, 2011 11:46am ET
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This is yet another column discussing running your mortgage originations business (be it broker or banker) like it was any other business. Successful business owners don't necessarily reinvent the wheel especially when it comes to what might be termed "human resources" stuff. They adopt and adapt the same practices that those who went before them did.

The National Association for Business Resources conducts a "101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" competition in a number of cities as well as nationally.

"After more than 10 years of conducting Best and Brightest Company competitions, we consistently find that successful companies understand that their business results, including the quality and strength of their customer relationships, are directly tied to how well they focus on their employees," said Jennifer Kluge, president and CEO of NABR. "This year's results continue to raise the bar and prove once again that employees who are valued and connected to their work are more likely to give higher levels of discretionary effort and be more loyal to their organizations resulting in a win-win for all involved."

Nearly eight in 10 of these best and brightest companies offer such perks as employee discounts with negotiated vendors.

In the area of work-life balance, three-quarters of them give workers the opportunity to telecommute, while 90% offer flexible scheduling; family leave policies that exceed what the law mandates are offered by nearly 60%.

Other common practices among these companies, said Kluge, include:

• 80% of them rely on some type of survey to annually gauge their employees' level of commitment.

        • 91% use tools like an intranet to communicate with employees. These tools include webcasts (1 out of 2) and leader blogs (1 in 4).

        • 55% offer recruitment and retention programs that include internal job postings (69%) and referral bonuses (60%).

        • Almost all of them offer education programs includes podcasts, webinars and learning management systems which encourage employees to participate in skills training.

        • More than 80% sponsor local charitable activities with more than 87% conducting on-site activities such as blood banks and food drives.

        • Half of the Best and Brightest winners host or sponsor activities that celebrate multi-culturalism and diversity while 67% have written diversity statements.

In an industry known for burning and churning both employees and customers, taking some or all these practices and putting them into your business plan could be the difference between success and failure.