Leaders, are you looking to increase the performance of your salesforce and shift the production curve in your organization? If you’re a leader in the mortgage industry, I can answer that question for you — of course you are! A study from the Corporate Leadership Council, a leading provider of insight and research that helps companies around the world lead their teams toward success, shows that an employee’s performance is directly correlated to how engaged they are with their company.
The CLC also found that in the traditional workforce, 76% of employees are hanging in the balance between engaged and unengaged. These are the associates who, if motivated to reach their full potential, can have an enormous impact on your business in a short period of time.
The determining factor between their success or failure within your organization will come down to how well you as a leader implement the eight levers of engagement.
1. SENIOR LEADERSHIP
These eight levers are what the Corporate Leadership Council identifies as the most important areas for increasing an employee’s engagement with the company. The first is Senior Leadership. How executives communicate, what they communicate, and the frequency in which they communicate make an enormous difference in impacting the engagement for the rest of their company.
Senior leaders need to state and restate the mission and vision of the organization and give them real tangible examples of how the vision is being played out on a regular basis, making sure there is plenty of recognition for individual associates. People that are in the day-to-day trenches of the business need to be rewarded, inspired, and recognized.
When people feel supported by their leaders, they are empowered to improve their performance. While workplace culture is lived by every associate, it is shaped from the top.
2. DIRECT MANAGER
When someone decides to leave their job, they are most likely leaving a manager, not a company. The direct manager has a vital influence on the day-to-day experience of the employee. They have the power to build, enhance, and preserve the culture of the organization.
With this responsibility in mind, managers will want to have a tactical plan for engaging with their employees on a regular basis. At my company, XINNIX, each associate meets with their manager once a week for a Power Meeting, a time when they can discuss priorities, share status reports, and receive feedback.
This weekly process is one of the key factors in defining our culture and driving our overall vision of transforming the mortgage industry. When you invest in your employees, you are setting the stage for engagement and growth.
According to the Corporate Leadership Council, compensation is the single-most influential factor in both hiring and retaining employees. In fact, a study from the CLC shows that an associate’s satisfaction with their overall compensation package increases their likelihood to stay with an organization by 21.1%.
Good leaders know they need to offer fair and competitive compensation in order to fully engage their associates.
While many companies have strong compensation packages for experienced employees, they often overlook the importance of competitive pay for rookies. However, leaders who want their new loan officers to be successful quickly offer better packages out of the gate as an incentive for performance.
When a rookie knows they have a greater earning potential from the start of their career, they are more likely to increase their efforts to grow business.
In a difficult market, leaders could be tempted to choose a benefits package solely based on cost instead of quality. However, the benefits associates receive clearly communicate their leader’s level of care. This will be reciprocated in the effort employees put toward their performance. Greater care equals greater production!
In most companies, onboarding consists of a new employee arriving on day one and receiving brief training on their job functions, company policies, benefits, compliance, and product training.
However, true onboarding is a much bigger event than a tour of the office and introduction to the manager. It should be treated as an event with a mission to solidify a new employee’s decision to join the organization.
Most organizations do not onboard with the intent to “wow” an associate. For leaders, this is a chance to let a new hire know the company values them and is dedicated to their success.
If a new employee is having any second thoughts about accepting their position, the enthusiasm and care surrounding the onboarding process can serve as the remedy to assure them they made the right decision.
Effective onboarding is really the first step toward long-term retention.
6. DAY-TO-DAY WORK
The best leaders ensure their employees know what is expected of them every single day.
Most loan officers do not have a standard set of operating principles that guide their daily activities. These operating principles are the minimum expectations associates should be meeting each day.
By having these in place, mortgage professionals see a clearly defined path they can follow in order to achieve success.
Helping a team establish a daily process and empowering them to fulfill it will lead to greater job satisfaction and overall engagement with the organization.
7. LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
We place a huge focus on the education of our children. We want them to go to the best schools with the best teachers so they can learn the things necessary to succeed.
However, why does this stop after high school or college? Learning and development are never done. For mortgage professionals, education is vital if they are to keep with a changing market and continue to grow their business.
The more a leader invests in their people through training and professional development, the more engaged their people will be with the organization. When leaders put in the time and effort to develop an associate, they are sending a message that they care about that their employee’s long-term success with the company.
Culture is one of the single most important drivers of employee engagement. Really, ever other lever of engagement plays a role in the formation of a culture of excellence.
Each one is necessary to create a workplace environment where employees feel valued, energized, and challenged to reach their full potential.Leaders, if you truly want to engage your teams, set an expectation of excellence and empower your associates to meet it.