Improving the Workplace

Becoming One of the Best Places to Work

Written by Jo Fleischer

What can your business do to have an engaged, more motivated team?

I’m answering as a rank-and-file employee at Arch MI — selected by The MReport in November as one of its “Top 25 Companies to Work For.”

Arch MI was also named a “Best Place to Work” as part of the Triad Business Journal’s Best Places to Work awards in June based on employee satisfaction surveys.

Since I’m tooting our own horn here, I’d like to share a couple of employee comments from those surveys that I agree with:

  • “Arch MI is focused not only on company growth and success, but also individual growth and success.”
  • “Our managers care about employees and solicit our ideas, whether it’s for process improvements, using technology or creating more of a team spirit.”

For me, another great example of what makes Arch MI stand out was our employee talent show in August. It reminded me of cheering on my friends at a “Talent Night” back in college. The key difference is the Arch MI event was held at a much nicer venue and top executives applauded just as enthusiastically as everyone else there.

I was very impressed with how this celebration of team members’ skills was organized by our Employee Engagement Group — who also did a great job with proposing the event and getting the company to sponsor it.

Of course, The MReport’s judging panel didn’t choose us for our fun employee events. We were picked based partially on what the magazine calls “benefits and perks,” including:

  • Up to 10 weeks of paid leave for each parent following a birth, foster placement or adoption.
  • Tuition reimbursement for those who pursue further education.
  • Student debt repayment assistance of up to $3,000 annually toward loan principal.

Employee recognition is another factor in how the magazine makes its selections. Arch MI excels in this area, offering several award programs based on nominations by fellow employees:

  • Arch Achieve recognizes those who exemplify Arch MI’s key values. Winners are selected by previous recipients of the award and receive $10,000 in company stock.
  • Keystone Awards, which are given frequently throughout the year, are $500 prizes based on contributions to a team.
  • Any employee can recognize a co-worker’s performance by awarding Kudos for exceptional work. Kudos points can be redeemed for gift cards or exchanged for rewards that include chair massages in the office.

The company is also very serious about helping people advance in their careers. I’ve travelled to Boston, Denver and Miami for career training and industry conferences. We also have a structured Employee Mentoring program, a management development program and a Masters of Excellence program designed to deepen employees’ knowledge of the mortgage industry. We also host the MBA’s School of Mortgage Banking here in our main office to encourage participation and enable employees to develop their business acumen.

At other jobs, I knew few people outside my own department. Because Arch MI gives employees two Volunteer Time Off days a year, I’ve gotten to know many co-workers on other floors. Together, we’ve built houses for Habitat for Humanity and recently constructed a wheelchair ramp at the home of a veteran homeowner in our city as part of our support for a local nonprofit group, Community Housing Solutions.

Those friendships make it especially fun to be part of special events — like our upcoming holiday celebration — or impromptu gatherings in our new employee lounge and lunch room. At this point, I also have to mention our regular calendar of events, which includes yoga classes, lunch-and-learns and ”getting to know you” meals hosted by company leaders.

In short, I’m a happy employee who genuinely feels like part of a team with co-workers who are truly interested in one another’s success — as well as having fun. I’m also glad to see Arch MI recognized for creating such a great place to work.

About the author

Jo Fleischer

Senior Writer
Jo Fleischer, a senior writer in Marketing, has been with the company for seven years, tackling writing projects ranging from press releases to materials for new product rollouts and website updates. A graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, he began his career as a newspaper reporter and then worked for several trade magazines and public relations agencies as a writer/editor, in both New York and North Carolina.