Skip to main content

Fannie Mae is at the Heart of Housing Career Blog - April 7, 2017

with Brian McQuaid

Brian McQuaidWonder what it’s like to work for a large financial services company? Brian McQuaid, Fannie Mae’s Chief Human Resources Officer, paints a picture of the dynamic, diverse, and multigenerational workforce powering today’s housing finance industry. Find out how his team supports employees and Fannie Mae’s vision to be America’s most valued housing partner.

Why is Fannie Mae’s role in financial services so important? What does it mean to you?

Brian: Fannie Mae is uniquely positioned at the center of the housing finance industry. We call this being “at the heart of housing.” Our people come to work every day to put and keep people in homes. That’s important, exciting work. We do this by providing our customers – lenders, mortgage servicers, and investors – with innovative solutions that help them, among other things, make homeownership and rental housing more accessible, affordable, and sustainable.

There are approximately 7,000 employees at Fannie Mae. How do you keep employees engaged and excited to be there?

Brian: When we talk with our employees about why they work at Fannie Mae and what’s important to them, we find that our employees, no matter their generation, gender, or background, are attracted to Fannie Mae for four reasons:

  1. We play an important role in putting and keeping families in homes – both through rental housing and homeownership. Employees note that they find this mission-oriented work both challenging and extremely satisfying.
  2. They believe in our vision to be America’s most valued housing partner and the values we are embracing to achieve it.
  3. Our diverse and inclusive culture.
  4. Highly competitive compensation and benefits in return for their efforts.

You mentioned diversity and inclusion being an important element to recruiting and retaining top talent. When you look across the many levels of management, what efforts do we make to promote inclusion at the leadership level?

Brian: When you take a look at our organization through a diversity and inclusion lens, our employee base is roughly 50 percent women and 50 percent people of color. Fannie Mae is one of the most diverse financial services organizations.  We are ahead of the market, at virtually double the industry rate, when it comes to women and people of color at the more senior levels of the firm. Black Enterprise Magazine ranked Fannie Mae fifth among its top 20 ranked companies for best practices in diversity and inclusion. Diversity MBA Magazine recognized Fannie Mae for being among the top 50 companies for women of color in mid-level management. But diversity doesn’t stand alone – we attract and retain employees by providing multiple opportunities for them to enhance their skills, so they can perform to their highest potential and advance according to their abilities. By doing this, we are building a diverse pipeline of talent across the organization.

Additionally, Fannie Mae is proud to have started its Office of Diversity and Inclusion more than 20 years ago. The office does a great job connecting and engaging with our people. They support 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that offer employees opportunities for professional development, cultural awareness, and community service. Our diversity and inclusion efforts are deeply ingrained in our culture and are a very important part of who we are and what we do.

Fannie Mae is planning to consolidate and move several of its offices. Can you tell us more about that?

Brian: Fannie Mae currently occupies five properties in Washington, DC and three in Dallas, Texas. Based on the expiration of certain leases, we examined whether it should stay in our current facilities and renovate them to address key deficiencies, or move to new facilities. Two compelling factors made us decide to consolidate into leases office space: first, the imperative to reduce taxpayer expense relative to the status quo; and second, the need to occupy space that can be quickly re-let to new tenants in the event that Fannie Mae is significantly restructured in the future.

But this move is much more than different office space. We are designing our buildings to facilitate and support our efforts around working differently and more collaboratively. We are moving away from our current high walls to an open environment with “neighborhoods.” This will bring more of our employees together under the same roof to enhance collaboration, and will help drive innovation, flexibility, teamwork, and customer focus. Ultimately, our work space will be a strategic tool for doing the important work of Fannie Mae, not just a roof over our heads.

Can you tell us more about how Fannie Mae will achieve its vision of becoming America’s most valued housing partner?

Brian: Fannie Mae is taking multiple steps to achieve its vision – from helping our employees understand and embrace the values and behaviors that will drive our success to implementing management techniques that will help us work smarter and faster. To us, it’s all about putting the customer at the center of everything we do.

There are many factors that will determine our success, starting with the kinds of people that we attract to Fannie Mae. For example, we are beginning to focus more on leaders who are great coaches, rather than those who lead by making all the decisions themselves. Training and development is also pivotal, and we are actively developing training curriculums to help teams with challenges such as process improvement and problem solving. 

It sounds like a significant transformation at Fannie Mae – what can you tell us about your human capital strategy to ensure the organization is helping drive the transformation effectively?

Brian: Our human capital strategy focuses on three key pillars:

  1. Organization – how we want to structure our organization to create an environment that promotes being more innovative, collaborative, nimble, transparent, customer focused, and efficient
  2. Talent – finding and developing leaders and staff that demonstrate the qualities that will make them and Fannie Mae successful – that means people who live our behaviors, are collaborative, customer focused, and are able to lead by coaching
  3. Culture – becoming more inclusive, empowering, transparent, and less hierarchical – this shapes how we engage employees, and how we work together

Each is critical to our continued success.

It may seem like we have a lot going on – but it all ties together to help us create the environment and culture that will enable us to achieve our vision.

It’s a great journey we are on.

Would you like to work with us at the heart of housing? Click here to explore opportunities at Fannie Mae.