Ready to Lower Your Employee Turnover Rate?

Create a company culture like Quicken Loans

Ever hear of an ‘ism’?  An ‘ism’ is a suffix added to the end of a word to indicate that the word represents a specific practice, system, or philosophy. Often these philosophies are movements that shape a company’s culture.

I’ve always worked for big organizations where the culture seemed very corporate and formal.  I’m sure it morphed that direction due to necessity – you can’t effectively run a company without structure and systems.  While most business owners want to maintain their initial ‘small company feel’ as they expand, few can really do it. That got me thinking ….

How can a company balance innovation, flexibility, and growth without getting bureaucratic and stodgy?

Quicken Loans figured it out and they currently have over 16,000 employees (aka team members) across their Family of Companies.  While speaking at the annual Quicken Loans TechCon this past week, I saw the real effect of ‘isms’ first hand. The 19 ‘isms’ are the foundation and the philosophy that everyone in the company lives by and follows – and I mean everyone.

No matter who I met, that person found a way to include ‘isms’ in our conversation.  Each team member proudly explained why the 19 ‘isms’ were so important to the company culture. A few thoughtful people even asked if anyone gave me a copy of the ‘ism’ book or provided a tour of the corporate office.

​Noticing that this was a big deal, I started asking people what was their favorite ‘ism’ and why. No one looked stumped when I ask this question because they knew the ‘isms’ by heart. By far the most popular responses were:

  •   Yes Before No
  •   Do the Right Thing
  •   Obsessed With Finding a Better Way 

Without fail, the next thing brought up in chats after ‘isms’ was why they loved working at Quicken Loans.  Answers ranged from the freedom to work on whatever they wanted for a set number of hours every week (ex: one team member was creating a mobile app containing the ‘ism’s because he saw the need) to opportunities to volunteer in the community without losing pay.

Another person detailed how the founder rewarded an entire team for a job well done by taking them on a vacation.  One team member shared how he was personally handed an unexpected bonus check for completing a tough project that required long hours away from home. And, Quicken Loans sent his wife flowers for being so supportive during the project. 

Think these people love their jobs – and therefore are more loyal and productive?  Absolutely!  I heard that turnover in their technology department is in single digits, far less than the typical 19% in the industry.  Having a tech background myself, that is astonishing.

Quicken Loans obviously cares about its team members. The amount of effort and investment involved in producing the QL TechCon event is significant.  The occasion is educational, and a great way to show the employees that they matter.

The show kicked off with a talented violinist jamming out to rock songs on the main stage.  I also enjoyed hearing Josh Luber, the high-end sneaker collector share the story of StockX, a platform to buy and sell collector shoes, handbags, and watches with full transparency. 

Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, stopped by on the second day to inspire the group and poke some fun with his leadership team.  The convention halls were empty as team members crammed into the auditorium for this standing room only session.  Everyone was proud to be part of the amazing culture that Dan created and excited to hear from their leader.

Turnover costs a company time and money.  The existing employees must work harder to cover the duties of the person who left.  Human resources spends a large amount of time sourcing candidates to find a good fit.  Financially, it can cost up to 150% of the departed’s salary to find a replacement.  All of those are expensive.

The solution is to create a culture where people WANT to work with you.  Building and maintaining team members is simply a system. By consistently following the right steps, like Quicken Loan does, you can build a culture that persists as you grow. 

Imagine how fast you could grow your company when your team is stable and retention rates are high. Instead of spending time, energy and money interviewing people, you and your team could be doing the activities that make a real impact. 

Want more ideas on what to systemize in your company in the 5 key areas – Sales, Marketing, Operations, Financial, and Team?  Download the list of 100 Proven Systems You Need to Boost Business Results now.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 70 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.

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