March/April 2014 – Issue 2

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“Mistakes will happen. That comes with the territory,” D’Amico said. “However, if you identify the right employee and train them properly, often times they are your most loyal and productive employees. Nurturing that will pay dividends to the company over and over again.”

D’Amico said that in the past few years, GRP has doubled in size, and most of the open positions were filled by existing employees who had a chance to move up and go through the company’s training programs.

“This philosophy has created a very loyal and stable employee base for GRP,” D’Amico said.

In fact, many of the top businesses within the alternative business lending industry say that investing in and training their best employees is creating the most stable and reliable source of underwriters.

“Having run a number of businesses, I say you have to create careers for people, and not just jobs,” Reiser said.

That emphasis on careers has led Strategic Funding to build a culture that Reiser said is behind much of the company’s success.

“Culture promotes advancement. It promotes opportunity. Nine years into the business we have only had three underwriters leave — two for a better degree, and one to start a new company,” he said. “You have to have the right culture. You have to pay them right. And you have to get them the right benefits.”

Reiser said a perfect example of that culture in action was his receptionist. He said he hired this receptionist during the height of the recession. After being on the job for five years, that receptionist approached Reiser and asked if she could do something within the company that was a bit more challenging.

“Today, she is an underwriter and doing a fabulous job,” Reiser said. “You have to have that room for professional advancement if you want to keep your people and keep them happy.”

Continually nurturing employees and building internal capacities helps keep the company prepared to meet whatever the next challenge within the industry might be.

“A lot of smaller companies try to solve the problem of the moment rather than the problem for years down the road,” Reiser said.

DeMeo agrees that looking at the big picture is essential when dealing with human resources issues.

“You want to build a company that attracts smart people. You want to provide them a career track. You want to train them on the way and pay them at market,” he said.

And when you do nurture that culture and that training, then it becomes easier to keep that strong team, even if another company starts to jealously yearn for your best and brightest.

“Anybody can pay more in the short term, but it is all about knowing you have a career in the long run,” Reiser said.

Reiser said his employees often tell him that a competitor has called and tried to recruit them.

“And we say ‘if you think it is the right opportunity, you should look at that’ knowing there are very few equals to what we are doing,” Reiser said. “If they are going to leave, then they are going to leave. But if you have the culture of advancement, and they know they are on the right track, then they know today’s dollars aren’t as important as tomorrow’s opportunity.” DF 

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