Paid Volunteer Hours — We offer unlimited paid volunteer hours to team members. Our teams have spent more than 730,000 hours volunteering across the country and Rocket Mortgage has sponsored 91,000 volunteer opportunities nationwide.

The pandemic pause brought us to a moment of collective reckoning about what it means to live well and to work well. As a result, employees are sending employers an urgent signal that they are no longer willing to choose one — life or work — at the cost of the other. Working from home brought life literally into our work. And as the world now goes hybrid, employees are drawing firmer boundaries about how much of their work comes into their life. Where does this leave employers? And which perspectives and programs contribute most to progress? In our newest interview series, Working Well: How Companies Are Creating Cultures That Support & Sustain Mental, Emotional, Social, Physical & Financial Wellness, we are talking to successful executives, entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, and thought leaders across all industries to share ideas about how to shift company cultures in light of this new expectation. We’re discovering strategies and steps employers and employees can take together to live well and to work well.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Livingston, Chief People Officer at Rocket Central — a professional services company which serves Rocket Companies as well as various Rock Family of Companies. In this role, Jim leads “The Pulse,” or what other companies call Human Relations. This includes Talent Acquisition, Compensation, People Operations, Talent Strategy & Solutions, People Experience & Support, and People Systems & Platforms teams.

Thank you for sitting down with us to discuss the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you better. Tell us about a formative experience that prompted you to change your relationship with work and how work shows up in your life.

Thank you for chatting with me! I have been with Rocket Companies more than 20 years and have worn many hats within the organization, ultimately leading to my current role as Chief People Officer. I’m proud to say I started as an entry-level mortgage banker at Rocket Mortgage before taking many leadership roles within the company. Having that experience gives me great perspective now as I lead what many companies would call human resources.

Through my own experience over the years, I’ve discovered that employees — or team members as we say at Rocket — produce quality work when they are in a positive and enriching environment. The majority of your day is spent at work — it’s important to like what you do and where you work. A lot of that comes down to company culture.

At Rocket, our culture is made from a concrete, constant and consistent set of 20 ISMs that connect all team members. The ISMs are the core principles that drive all our decision-making and unite us around a culture of excellence and client service.

As Chief People Officer, I strive to create an environment where team members’ wellbeing is a priority. I have the privilege of leading team of passionate, unified individuals with a common goal: drive our business forward and support our team members. Together, we ensure that every team member in our family of companies can build a meaningful career, enhance their well-being, build a stable financial future, and have an outstanding team member experience. We call our HR team, “The Pulse” because our people really are the heartbeat of our company.

Harvard Business Review predicts that wellness will become the newest metric employers will use to analyze and to assess their employees’ mental, physical and financial health. How does your organization define wellness, and how does your organization measure wellness?

At Rocket, we have a team member first operating philosophy, our team members are the lifeblood of our company and the key to our success. We support our team members by creating a culture that allows them to grow and develop throughout their careers, encouraging them to bring their authentic selves to work every day.

Dan Gilbert, the founder of Rocket Companies, understands how important culture is to the company’s success and continues to be our biggest advocate today. At Rocket, fundamentally believe it’s necessary for team member-first cultures to maximize their potential and continually improve the company.

Based on your experience or research, how do you correlate and quantify the impact of a well workforce on your organization’s productivity and profitability?

We often say, “not everything that counts can be counted.” We see the effects, even if it’s not always reflected on a spreadsheet.

Culture is just as important as the bottom line, and if leadership neglects one area, both will eventually crumble. It’s not a coincidence that we have been in the top third of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 18 years and have been ranked highest for client satisfaction in mortgage origination for 11 years. Happy team members make happy clients.

It’s the team members who win those awards. It is the team members who drive the business, and it is the team members who determine the success or failure of any organization.

Even though most leaders have good intentions when it comes to employee wellness, programs that require funding are beholden to business cases like any other initiative. The World Health Organization estimates for every $1 invested into treatment for common mental health disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. That sounds like a great ROI. And, yet many employers struggle to fund wellness programs that seem to come “at the cost of the business.” What advice do you have to offer to other organizations and leaders who feel stuck between intention and impact?

My biggest piece of advice is to invest in your team members’ wellbeing and have an open dialogue.

At Rocket, we hold frequent senior leadership roundtables where team members can bring up literally anything. We want to ensure there is an open dialogue in that room (or in the virtual meeting). Sometimes that means having candid conversations, but it also means processing what they are saying and using that feedback to generate positive change that will impact team members throughout the family of companies.

We also launched AMAZE, a recognition platform, to thank team members for always going above and beyond. Anyone can visit AMAZE to recognize teammates or nominate others for a company award. When team members are recognized, they can earn points that can be redeemed for a wide variety of merchandise, gift cards, travel experiences and charitable contributions.

We’ve all heard of the four-day work week, unlimited PTO, mental health days, and on-demand mental health services. What innovative new programs and pilots are you launching to address employee wellness? And, what are you discovering? We would benefit from an example in each of these areas.

At Rocket, we believe it’s incredibly important to invest in team members’ mental, physical and financial wellbeing. That’s why we offer many benefits and programs to our team members so they can bring their best selves to work every day. Some of our team member-first programs include:

  • TMRNs — To engage and retain a diverse team, we created Team Member Resource Networks (TMRNs), volunteer groups that are formed, joined and led by team members who seek community around a common experience or identity. Examples of TMRN focus areas include veteran and women’s networking, multicultural advancement and LGBTQ+.
  • Premium Health Benefits — We want the best for our team members and we know that they are happier when they are physically and mentally healthy. We offer excellent medical, dental and vision insurance plans to team members and their families, as well as the Rock Health Collective — an onsite health clinic for team members offering primary and holistic care, a full-service pharmacy, and chiropractic care, physical therapy and urgent care. We also provide fertility benefits, adoption and foster assistance, paid maternity and paternity leave, a nationwide childcare subsidy, on-site meditation and wellness rooms and more.
  • Rock Academy — Team members who are interested in finishing their degree, pursuing a certification or going back to school to earn their masters can use Rock Academy to engage in a wide range of programs completely free. More than 200 programs are available, including certificates, undergraduate programs and graduate degrees. Tuition is covered 100% for select programs, and up to $5,250 for others.
  • Rocket Home Grant — The Rocket Home Grant provides up to $10,000 to eligible team members working at one of our U.S.-based companies for down payment assistance. Although this is commonly referred to as down payment assistance, the funds can also be used to cover closing costs.The grant is available for first-time home buyers with at least one year of full-time tenure as a direct hire in good standing at an eligible company at the time of closing.
  • Paid Volunteer Hours — We offer unlimited paid volunteer hours to team members. Our teams have spent more than 730,000 hours volunteering across the country and Rocket Mortgage has sponsored 91,000 volunteer opportunities nationwide.

Can you please tell us more about a couple of specific ways workplaces would benefit from investing in your ideas above to improve employee wellness?

Rocket is proud to offer individualized benefits specifically tailored to everyone’s specific needs and ensure all team members feel supported in their wellness journeys. Our goal is to have a positive impact on team member’s lives.

One of the benefits I’m most proud of is our fertility assistance. Team members who are covered under the company insurance receive coverage on infertility services like IVF, with the team members only paying a percentage of treatment costs after their deductible is met. Unlike other organizations, Rocket’s benefits are not capped, having no limits on medication, cycles or retrievals.

Providing access to comprehensive fertility assistance is game-changing for team members who are hoping to start a family. One of our team members, Heidi, was able to expand her family with the help of Rocket’s fertility assistance. She’s the best person to share her story!

Thanks for speaking with us, Heidi! Can you share how Rocket Companies’ fertility assistance benefits helped you reach your personal goals?

I can truly say that I would not have a family without Rocket Companies. When I started my career at Rocket three years ago, my husband and I had been trying to conceive for four years, with thousands of dollars spent on two failed IVF cycles. The IVF process was incredibly draining mentally, emotionally and financially. Once I took advantage of Rocket’s fertility assistance benefits the process became much easier. Providing my husband and me access to comprehensive fertility assistance removed the stress from the process and gave us the freedom to focus on our goal of starting a family.

Within a few months of starting IVF through Rocket, my husband and I conceived a son who is now 14 months old. We are now pregnant for the second time through IVF with a baby girl. I can’t thank Rocket enough for my beautiful family. Back over to you, Jim!

Jim, as you know, ideas take time to implement. What is one small step every individual, team, or organization can take to get started on these ideas — to get well?

We have a program to collect ideas from team members called “The Cheese Factory.” We are working on building a better mousetrap, as the saying goes, and all good mousetraps need cheese! Through an online tool, team members submit their gouda ideas to improve the company. These range from new services we could offer, process changes and — of course — ways to make the workplace better.

While many companies have a “suggestion box” the important thing is to truly consider these ideas and the impact they would make. One of our ISMs is “Yes Before No.” That means, instead of immediately thinking of the reasons an idea wouldn’t work, think first of the ways it could work.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?

Rocket has prioritized a positive and engaging company culture since its creation over 37 years ago. We’ve been a leader in prioritizing team member wellness, and we are glad it is now becoming the norm for businesses to consider the whole person.

We see that our team members come to work and are happy to be here, which is a testament to our culture. We help provide a sense of purpose, and we are just getting started.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. More information about Rocket’s company culture and philosophies can be found at

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.