Drawing top talent not just about writing checks

Compensation may be a draw card for top talent, but corporate social responsibility is proving even more attractive

Drawing top talent not just about writing checks

Compensation might not be the only perk drawing in top talent to companies in the mortgage banking industry. The growing trend of corporate social responsibility means giving back can be just as attractive as receiving to some loan officers, according to leaders at Academy Mortgage.

“I came for the operations platform, but what has given me staying power and why I don’t think I would ever leave Academy is the fact that their model of giving back is not about writing checks,” said James MacPherson, a senior manager at Academy who began as a loan officer.

Aside from extensive efforts in the local community, Academy rewards its top producers with week-long service expeditions, which included Guatemala in 2012 and an upcoming trip to Kenya.  

Mike Jensen, executive vice president of marketing and corporate development, said companies that don't provide opportunities for employees to get involved in corporate philanthropy efforts may be doing themselves a disservice.

As a business, the focal point is to generate a profit, but that alone could be damaging in some ways,” Jensen said. “The bottom line should also fuel things that we think are important in the lives of those in our community.”

There’s an interesting dynamic that happens when employees and companies combine efforts around a bigger goal than the bottom line, Jensen said. Not only do competitive top producers come home from the service trip as new friends having shared a life-changing experience, but the opportunity has sparked interest in others to attend, spurring more healthy competition and upping production.

If corporate social responsibility is going to become part of your DNA, then you have to start asking questions about who are as a company and identify initiatives and partners that speak to that, recommended Emily Franson, senior manager of corporate communications at Academy.

Make sure to include representatives from the top down in any initiative so that everyone feels like they have skin in the game, and don’t feel like you have to go out and start your own nonprofit, she said. There are thousands of great nonprofits to coordinate your efforts with.

“Not only is it helping the nonprofits we work with, but we think it adds something more to our employees’ lives than just clocking in and clocking out,” Jensen said. “When you give people a reason to work beyond just pay, your ability to attract and retain people increases dramatically.”