“Home is the center of people’s lives. It’s where you have your most intimate moments. It’s where your family grows and you connect with your community. It’s the hub of everything that we do.”
So says Linda Mamet, who feels the weight of those sentiments every day as vice president of corporate marketing for TRI Pointe Group. The organization builds neighborhoods with a passion for community, togetherness, and care built into their blueprints. As ambassadors of the company’s culture and passionate advocates of its mission, Mamet and director of total rewards Dorothy Rescia have a keen insight into the way TRI Pointe Group stands apart in its industry.
“TRI Pointe’s dedication to company culture as well as its reputation for innovation is inspiring,” says Michael Menzia, managing director at Alliant Employee Benefits, which works with TRI Pointe. “We are proud to partner with them and honored to join their mission with a longstanding history of success, team culture, and encouraging a collaborative spirit.”
Art and Science
The organization succeeds in part because its leadership understands that building is both art and science. Although it takes an adept scientific mind to design a building and ensure a community has all the necessary infrastructure, the artistic side is just as important when making that community feel like home. Plus, Mamet adds, even the art has to be held accountable to science; every creative idea needs to be measured for its success in terms of customer happiness.
But TRI Pointe is uniquely suited to that challenge because of its organizational makeup. In 2009, Doug Bauer, Tom Mitchell, and Mike Grubbs founded TRI Pointe Homes as a revolutionary home-building company; not long after, the company merged with Weyerhauser Real Estate Company—itself composed of five distinct home-building companies in seven states—to become TRI Pointe Group. “We combine the resources and technology of a large corporate company with the local entrepreneurial nature of our regional home builders,” Mamet explains. “That’s essential because we believe that community is very local and requires an understanding of the lifestyle and people who live there.”
The individual home builders then have access to resources that they wouldn’t otherwise have. TRI Pointe Group’s LivingSmart, for example, ensures that new construction considers sustainability and environmental impact, and HomeSmart ensures that new homes are built with the realities of an increasingly technological world in mind. “Today, we expect our homes to be able to operate through voice control,” Mamet says. “Having high-speed Wi-Fi in your home is as important as having your electricity and water.” To this end, TRI Pointe is looking at everything from the impact of shared-vehicle services to partnering with manufacturers and installation services for connected devices.
The organization has used its focus on technology to the benefit of its employees as well. TRI Pointe’s technology platforms allow its workers to give in-depth presentations on new communities to prospective owners, deploy strategic automated email communications, and more. “We’re always innovating so that our team members can use their time more efficiently and with fewer outside resources,” Mamet says. The benefits package is designed just as efficiently, aiming to cover 90 percent of the cost per benefit. “We are an outlier in that regard,” Rescia adds. “We reward our team members, whether in their health coverage or with incentive programs for every individual.”
Team Work Makes the Dream Work
In addition, TRI Pointe Group’s employees thrive because of the intentional, collaborative, positive environment within the organization, Rescia says. Both Mamet and Rescia were referred to the organization by people who loved their jobs at TRI Pointe—something that Rescia stresses is very common. “We’re very fortunate to source 25 percent of our new team members through referrals from our existing team, which really helps us to perpetuate our culture,” she says.
And those referrals come because the employees are passionate about the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of homeowners. “One of our brand pillars is our passionate culture,” Mamet says. “From transparent information sharing to training and development opportunities, a strong internal culture will drive a strong external brand that attracts customers.”
Rescia’s focus on open lines of communication when it comes to HR programs and total rewards goes a long way toward keeping team members happy as well. “Every day, I work directly with employees on any questions they may have about compensation, benefits, or payroll,” she says. But even before that, TRI Pointe Group’s robust onboarding and performance processes ensure that the top talent feels comfortable and confident to succeed and grow, whether through further training or additional education opportunities through a tuition-reimbursement program.
TRI Pointe Group organizes cross-functional summits to increase collaboration and share skills, whether in design, construction, marketing, or customer care. The organization also looks to first-in-class examples from outside the industry—such as REI, Tesla, and Google—for best practices to emulate. “In these think tanks, we’re developing leadership skills and encouraging innovation,” Mamet says. “We aim to hone their ability to manage change and their ability to be accountable for results.”
The importance of that program—as well as enforcing proper work-life balance and driving volunteer work in the community—came from feedback from employees. Although it operates on a large scale, TRI Pointe Group prides itself on its ability to nimbly adapt to the needs of its employees. “We really take the time to survey their thoughts and feelings about the workplace, and then we actually deliver improvements through that feedback,” Rescia says.
That feedback and open communication, in fact, goes all the way to the top of the organization. “Our founders, Doug, Tom, and Mike, are very accessible and encourage open communication at all levels of the company, whether we’re joining our company-wide quarterly results call or gathering around the kitchen for a snack,” Mamet says. “Those little things help drive us to build a community even within our offices.”
All of that art and science of building culture and sharing the brand has led to a combined voluntary and involuntary turnover rate of approximately 14 percent—a startlingly low number in the industry. “We hire slowly to ensure we have the right people, and then we build a healthy, strong organizational culture,” Mamet says. And beyond building a culture, that ensures that TRI Pointe Group continues building dream communities for homeowners across the United States.
Photos: AG Photography, Inc., Courtesy of TRI Pointe Group