Have you ever hired someone who you thought was going to make a great employee—but it didn’t really turn out that way? Perhaps they showed great ambition at first, working diligently and growing quickly. But then, over time, they started to plateau until they abruptly left for a new job. Situations like this can leave those of us in leadership scratching our heads. How can people who seem so interested in our organizations when they’re hired suddenly lose interest and pursue other opportunities so quickly? What’s going on?
Well, we tend to look at our employees and wonder what they’re doing wrong in these cases. But, perhaps the problem isn’t them—perhaps it’s us. Think about what’s actually happening when people lose interest in their jobs. What once was new and exciting becomes the same old, everyday routine. Now, is it really any surprise that the best employees—the ones who want to learn and grow and challenge themselves—grow weary of doing the same job after a while? Boredom is often not, as we might suppose, a sign of laziness. Quite the opposite: boredom is often a sign of intelligence, passion, and drive.
Employees who really have ambition will look for better opportunities when their work is no longer challenging them or fueling their drive for success. Who’s really responsible for the turnover, then? Of course, it’s us. As leaders in the mortgage industry, we’ve got to be creative in keeping the work environment stimulating so that the best workers can thrive within it. Boredom is often the single greatest contributor to turnover. If the organization ceases to be a fun and interesting place to work, the best employees will go out looking for greener pastures and all that will remain are those who are content with complacency.
Outsourcing can be a controversial practice. Of course, when many people hear the term, they think of “offshoring,” or sending jobs overseas. We don’t really run into that much in the mortgage industry, but outsourcing can be trick in our line of work for a different reason. We make promises to customers and investors; hiring someone else to do part of our work for us is taking a risk. If they fail us, we fail our customers and investors. So, here’s the million dollar question: when is it worth taking the risk to outsource some part of our business?
When I first entered in the mortgage industry, I had no experience in business. My boss took a chance on me, though, and I actually ended up doing pretty well. I was a “people person,” and excelled at building relationships as a loan originator. However, I was really bad at math, and my boss was struggling with what to do about it.
Eventually, my boss was given a simple piece of advice that ended up saving my career: why don’t you hire him an assistant? Someone was brought on to work with me to pick up the slack in the areas where I was deficient—and the whole company was made better off for it. That’s the power of outsourcing: none of us can do everything well, but all of us can do something amazingly well. Outsourcing is about recognizing what we’re good at and recruiting others to help us with what we’re not.
So, when should you outsource work in your organization? When someone else can do it better. If you can find someone outside of your company who can perform a function that makes your organization stronger, then you are taking a greater risk by not hiring them. Sometimes, the best reason to outsource is precisely because your customers and investors are counting on you.
If you are reading this, there is a good possibility that you are already working in the mortgage industry. But, perhaps not. Maybe you’re deliberating, trying to decide whether the mortgage industry is for you, and you’re looking for information that could help you decide whether you should give it a shot. Or, maybe you’re already in the industry and you’re trying to convince someone else to enter the business. Regardless, the main question you want answered is the same main question you ask for almost anything: “what’s in it for me?” Why should you work in the mortgage industry?
Well, let’s go ahead and get the obvious out of the way. There a lot of job opportunities as a loan officer, as it’s a continually growing field. Also, the industry can be quite rewarding on the financial end of things. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a loan officer was $63,500 in 2015—nearly twice the amount of the average across all occupations. But, is there more to the industry than just finding a “good job?” Can it be rewarding in other ways?
In my mind, here are two of the biggest reasons for starting a career in the mortgage industry.
1. The mortgage industry offers the opportunity to impact a larger number of people—as it is typical to close on around 20 loans per month.
2. The mortgage industry offers a challenge, as the industry is more complex financially and legally than other sales-oriented professions.
Why should you start a career in the mortgage industry? Pick your reason. Whatever justification sounds best for you, I promise that it’s worth giving a shot…
When I meet with leaders in the mortgage industry, one of my core areas of focus revolves around improving business processes. I work in a hands-on environment for several days at a time, helping organizations clarify their processes, because I believe that there isn’t anything more important for developing the well-being of their employees, their businesses, and society at large. If you you want anything else to work correctly, you’ve got to get your processes right.
So, what is the most important thing to look for when you’re going about fixing your business processes? Well, I don’t know if any one thing is technically more important than any other, but I can tell you one area that often gets overlooked: the hand-off. Just like a hand-off and football can cause a fumble that dramatically alters the outcome of the game, a failed transition in the mortgage industry can send your organization into chaos. The importance of a smooth transition must never be underestimated.
In my workshops, I like to look at business processes as swimming lanes. In this visualization, each department is working within its own lane but, at a certain point, the work is passed onto a simmer in a another lane. It’s like a relay race. Each department’s individual efficiency is important. But, if the delivery from one apartment to another doesn’t go smoothly, it could unravel the entire race. So, remember, while each department may have it’s own lane, we’re all in the same pool. For any organization to succeed, its individual parts must come together as a whole. And the transition is the point when that actually happens. So, take advantage of your transitions and do everything you can to really make them count!