Mr. Cooper Group’s Kelly Ann Doherty on the Importance of Flexibility at Work

 Kelly Ann Doherty, chief administrative officer, Mr Cooper

The chief administrative officer for the No. 44 company on the Fortune Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance™ List in 2023 shares her insights.

What are the ways companies can increase flexible work options for employees?

The COVID pandemic revealed how flexible many companies can be with workplace location and telecommuting. However, there are other ways companies can embrace flexibility — especially around scheduling.

That’s one of the big opportunities Kelly Ann Doherty, chief administrative officer at Mr. Cooper Group Inc. shared with us in the latest conversation for our “How I Got Here” series.

Here’s what she shared about the potential for AI, career advice, book recommendations, and why it feels so good to help build a great workplace:

What was the hook that first got you interested in workplace culture?

Doherty: My career journey started in communications, and as a storyteller, I am naturally drawn to the people aspect of what makes a company tick. Understanding the people side of the business evolved into a true passion for building a culture where team members are engaged and have the resources and space to be their best selves.

Companies have the opportunity to positively influence their team members’ lives both inside and outside of the workplace, and I enjoy being able to contribute in that way in my current role.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in your career when trying to build a great workplace culture?

Doherty: I think many of us can agree that the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges to workplace culture.

Our team member engagement was soaring pre-pandemic, but we relied heavily on our ability to connect in person for celebration and collaboration. As we hit the start of remote work, we had to pivot how we approached our culture, and we focused more on behaviors and building policies that inspired trust and flexibility.

This proved to be a culture enhancer for us, and I am so proud of the strong team engagement we see today in a home-centric environment.

What is the No. 1 lesson you have learned about what it means to be a great workplace in a post-pandemic environment?

Doherty: A great workplace environment is more than parties and free snacks. Building a culture that places trust in your team members at the forefront is key. This trust can show up as flexibility in where and when you work and how leaders and their team members foster relationships.

How do you think AI will change your work? Are you excited for those changes?

Doherty: I’m excited about the potential of artificial intelligence to help eliminate the more administrative tasks in the workplace. This would free up leaders and team members to focus more on creativity, imagination, and communications skills. With less time being spent on mundane tasks, people will have more time, thought, and energy available for problem solving and the interpersonal dynamics that are so important to keeping teams engaged and thriving.

What’s your favorite career advice you’ve ever received? Why?

Doherty: My dad always said the famous quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” This advice has stuck with me and rings true as I have grown in my leadership journey.

As a leader, and particularly for those in the C-suite, the decisions you make have a direct impact on your company and team members. I keep these words close in my thoughts every day, as I focus on ensuring the experience of our people continues to be front of mind for me.

What’s a recent book or podcast you loved that you recommend to our community?

Doherty: I highly recommend the book “The Heart of Business” by Hubert Joly. This book helps you understand workplace culture from a CEO perspective and how connecting culture to positive business outcomes is a real game changer.

What about your job makes you excited to come to work every day?

Doherty: I am honored to be in my role at such a great company, and just knowing that the work I do to drive our culture and the team member experience can have such a positive impact on our people is what gets me excited every day. And to be a bit cliché, I honestly enjoy working with the amazing, smart, and hard-working people on my team. They truly are the best!

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about how workplaces operate in the world today, what would it be?

Doherty: I think we need to continue to evolve when it comes to flexibility. We should focus not just on being flexible on where our teams work but also allow for greater flexibility in time. As an example, providing working parents with more flexibility on when, where, and how much they work helps to reduce child-care costs and better balance professional and parental obligations – leading to happier team members.

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