The Downside of Great Culture

We all know of that restaurant or store where people rave, “you’ve just got to go there!” Or have read the book that leads us to ask everyone, “have you read this yet?

The power of building a place, a brand, or a product that people just must have or experience is fulfilling, rewarding.

At Shamrock Home Loans, Inc., we’ve built that kind of place. Earlier this year, National Mortgage News essentially said, “you have to work there!” in naming Shamrock the #2 Best Mortgage Company to Work for in the United States.

If we were the newest restaurant, doughnut shop, or pizza joint we’d have lines down and around the corner. We’ve worked intentionally to get to this point.

But there is a downside. An occasionally dark and painful one. The downside actually hurts more than the upside feels good, if such a calculus can be expressed. We’ve seen it in recent weeks and months. And, frankly, its sucks.

With the rapid rise in interest rates and inflation, the mortgage industry has contracted substantially. One of the largest lenders in our space just laid off 5,500 of its 11,300 workers. Yikes.

And that’s where the pain comes in.

When you are a go-to, must-have, ‘best places to work for’ company and you have layoffs, people hurt, they really hurt. They aren’t being asked to leave a paycheck, they’re leaving a culture, a place defined by what is expected of one another. A rare and valuable place; the great restaurant, the trendy store, the compelling book. That hurts far more than leaving a career that’s just a job, leaving a business that’s just a corporation.

And “hurt people hurt”. They sometimes howl. They sometimes say and write nasty stuff.

When you are the founder and leader of such a place, those hurtful remarks and hateful posts can motivate a reply, a respond, an urge to fight back. I mean, most of us have built our companies on replying, responding, and fighting back. It’s who we are. So what, now we just put that away when attacked?

Yes. Yes, we do.

If you’ve built a company worthy of praise for how it does its work and how it treats its employees, then what do you expect when you fire or layoff some of those people? They see themselves as being evicted, cast to the curb from the VIP section of the hip night club, one they were thrilled to get into. They’re going to be sad, disappointed, hurt.

So if you’ve built a community that people love to belong to, just know that part of that is understanding the reality that when people leave, you need to treat them with love and you need to have grace for them when their outbursts and anger are directed at you. Give them a pass!

Or you can build a place no one misses; a restaurant no one talks about, a book no one reads. Plenty of companies do that well. Don’t be one of them.

An image of a desk phone

"I was going to come to the office and play on the internet today but then I remembered that I wasn’t. If this leaves your email message lonely or anxious in any way, please let it know it’s not alone. Remember, all good things to those that wait (just as long as they escape the delete button.) Rock it out today.

Originally posted July 19, 2022





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