Heard of a ‘home-centric’ workforce? Why its working for one company

Remote, hybrid, flexible–the labels being used to describe companies’ post-COVID work arrangements run the gamut. At mortgage company Mr. Cooper, leadership decided to go with a more unique descriptor: home-centric.

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It’s a title that represents just a few of the shifts ushered in by the pandemic: new employee expectations about working from home along with a heightened need for intentional collaboration, says Angela Greenfeather, executive vice president and CHRO at the organization, which employs more than 9,000 people. Greenfeather says she is tapping into her more than two decades in HR to oversee the transformation needed to make Mr. Cooper’s future of work model a success.

That experience included HR leadership roles at Sabre Corp. and Travelocity before she joined Nationstar Mortgage in 2015. The company changed its name to Mr. Cooper two years later, and Greenfeather was promoted that year to senior vice president of HR, providing her business partner oversight for the entire company, including its India operations. She took on the role of CHRO earlier this fall.

She recently shared her plans for the position, and Mr. Cooper, with HRE.

HRE: What are a few of the biggest day-to-day differences in your former position as SVP of Enterprise HR compared to where your focus is now as CHRO?

Angela Greenfeather of Mr. Cooper
Angela Greenfeather of Mr. Cooper

Greenfeather: I would say the biggest difference is in the relationship with the CEO; I’m spending a lot more time now with the executive team and cultivating a stronger advisory relationship with [the CEO]. And then I’m also working a lot more closely with the HR leadership team on our strategy–where we’re headed, our vision, how we’re thinking about the future of Mr. Cooper and how we’re building strong expertise in HR to meet the long-term needs of the business.

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HRE: I understand that Mr. Cooper recently became “home-centric.” What does that look like, and what informed that decision-making process?

Greenfeather: We really shaped what the future of work looks like based on team members’ feedback but also on having such high productivity [throughout the shift to remote during the pandemic]. We went into the pandemic largely in an office environment culture and now, like everyone else, we’re predominantly at home. We started seeing our productivity measures really increase and getting great feedback from our teams, and it became very clear that home-centric was the right approach for us. Our Great Place to Work survey showed year over year the importance of fairness, credibility and respect [to employees], and that’s how we moved through the pandemic–prioritizing the health and wellbeing of every team member. I would define home-centric that our team members will largely be working from home on a regular basis; however, we do want them in the office for intentional time together–on-site trainings, collaboration, special projects, celebrations.

HRE: What strategies are you putting in place to ensure Mr. Cooper’s culture continues to be strong through this transition to the new home-centric environment?

Greenfeather: What helped us most going into this new world is the fact that we had a strong culture going into it; we were able to really have that as our backbone as we move into this new way of working. In terms of keeping it up, we’re, first and foremost, continuing to listen to our team members and leaders about what’s working, what needs adjustments; we’ve been doing listening sessions and pulse surveys in addition to the annual Great Place to Work survey. The other thing is establishing team norms. Our teams are getting together and talking about how a home-centric environment works for them–when should we be on camera, and when not? How do we honor heads-down time or time off? What should our core working hours be? How do we get together to collaborate? And we’re having conversations with our leaders to bring best practices to life in this new environment. We also continue to invest in new technology and tools and are also looking at, when we are in the office together, making an investment in an office training center that incorporates both an in-person and virtual classroom setting, as well as more collaborative spaces–and technology considerations are part of that as well. Then we’re continuing to support our wellbeing initiatives–our wellness challenges, promoting exercise and activity, having conversations around mindfulness and burnout.

See also: Your culture has changed–here’s how to shape it for the future

HRE: Where did your own interest in HR stem from?

Greenfeather: You know, it’s interesting because I feel like I have always had a passion for people and human behavior in a lot of respects. Years and years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine in HR about [the profession] and it seemed like the perfect career choice: I could work with people and serve others but also help an organization do its best work.

HRE: What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of working in HR in today’s times?

Greenfeather: More than ever, we have the ability to change people’s lives, and I mean that from the standpoint of everything that’s been going on–focusing on wellbeing strategies, work/life integration, how training can build and shape careers. I find that really rewarding, especially if I look at it from the Mr. Cooper standpoint. We hire inexperienced talent and teach them the mortgage business. For me, that’s really rewarding that we’re creating opportunities for our team members to become leaders and build careers and create a stronger financial path for themselves and their families.

HRE: If you hadn’t gone into this field, where do you think your career would have taken you?

Greenfeather: Honestly, I think I’d still be in service to others in some capacity–but I really believe that, no matter what, I would have found myself in this field. It’s my true passion and my purpose, and hands down, the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done.

Read more Insights from a CHRO here.

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected].