Opening Bell

Creating Community

Hayden Homes is a robust builder in more ways than one

By Rob Smith June 3, 2024

A group of construction workers cheering with hard hats in the air, standing together on a construction site under a clear blue sky, exemplifying community building.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

As a homebuilder with employees spread across the Pacific Northwest, Hayden Homes faces a unique challenge in creating a tight-knit culture of cooperation and collegiality. It all comes down to trust. It’s very intentional.

“Team members are trusted to do their work and be accountable to the team depending on them,” says Patti Murphy, the homebuilder’s vice president of employee experience. “We have both in-office and remote workers, and we regularly look for ways to have gatherings and events to foster a supportive and caring culture that allows for connection.”

Hayden recognizes employees each quarter for both performance and customer service, and a top-performing employee in each department wins an annual award. Another unique perk is the company’s sponsorship of Hayden Homes Amphitheater in Bend, Ore., which allows workers and their families to enjoy live concert experiences, complete with food and lodging.

The company matches payroll contributions to First Story, a nonprofit based in Bend, that provides affordable homeownership opportunities to families across the Northwest. Its home purchase discount allows eligible employees to purchase a new Hayden Home at a $45,000 discount every 18 months. More than 100 employees have taken advantage of the program.

Hayden Homes, based in Redmond, Ore., and founded in 1989, has become a mainstay on Seattle Business magazine’s annual Best Companies To Work For list, and has been similarly honored by publications in Idaho and throughout Oregon.

Murphy, a longtime human resources executive who joined the company in 2017, notes that the company further honed its organizational structure during the pandemic, when its geographically disparate workforce couldn’t gather in person at all.

“It’s important to have your team aligned around a common purpose,” she says. “They have to believe in the ‘why’ of what you do more than the ‘what.’ We like to think that we’re not just simply building homes, but are building a sense of security, accomplishment, and a place to grow and thrive for each family that we hand a set of keys to.”

She cites Hayden’s “Give As You Go” mission as a prime example. At the start of every team meeting, employees share “Give As You Go” stories that highlight ways in which they give their time, talent, and resources to better communities. Most team-building events have a giving component, such as volunteering at a food bank, shopping for school supplies to donate to families, or building bikes for foster children.

“When the team comes together to do something impactful for the community, they are aligned around a meaningful purpose. Silos break down,” she says. “That leaves our team members fulfi lled by the work they do.”

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