Over the last few years, the industry has been focused on complying and implementing regulations that have dramatically changed the way most lenders and industry stakeholders are conducting business. It is certain there will be continuing and on-going adjustments and “tweaks” to everyone’s programs.
There is a longer term issue that is looming. THE GRAYING OF THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY and how do we attract younger employees especially the Millennial generation! This challenge will become critical in the near future. As employees grow older in all facets of the industry including, mortgage lenders, bankers, realtors, title providers, appraisers etc. the need for experienced younger “bench strength” will become more acute. There are many challenges to attracting and training new younger talent to the industry. Many lenders are beginning to develop various types of programs to recruit from this target market segment. Industry associations such as National Association of Realtors, National Association of Mortgage Bankers, American Land Title Association, Appraisal Institute etc. have initiated plans to be more proactive in solving this issue.
Several challenges must be addressed for the recruitment process to be successful. It must be a multi-level approach with a similar message from all of the industry stakeholders. A concerted effort at the national, regional and at the grassroots local markets is imperative for success. Some of the difficulties include but are not limited to the following:
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Industry Image The younger generation is more computer literate, social media absorbed and more aware of the trends affecting their lives. For the last 9 years they have heard all the negative publicity the mortgage and lending industry has endured. They only know what they read, hear and see in the media. It will be difficult to convince them that the industry is better condition with greater opportunities for rewarding careers.
Awareness — This process needs to begin much earlier with the younger market. They are more aware of world events in their education process. Technology has accelerated their learning and development. They need to know more about our industry sooner and not fear being a part of this business.
Education — A grassroots approach to educate them about the financial services industry can begin at the high school level with career day presentations. At the junior college and university levels developing curriculums with credits or certifications to encourage them to learn about all facets of the lending process. Many schools are looking for programs that students can learn skills to prepare them for a career after graduation.
Lender Community — Work with the national, regional and local lenders in your communities to develop programs in conjunction with schools to create internships, entry level positions in sales, operations, compliance, technology etc. so the student will potentially have a career once they graduate. The lender and the student have the opportunity to evaluate each other to determine if there is a “fit” for both of them. One of the challenges for lenders to attract sales talent is the first year compensation plans. Most of the graduates with have some education debt and a straight commission only compensation program may deter them from wanting to pursue this career path. This is a great opportunity for the industry associations to be intermediaries and subject matter experts to help create curriculums for the schools and the companies.
Mentoring — There is a plethora of experience, knowledge and subject matter experts throughout of industry that can be leveraged. The senior level employees have a great opportunity to participate in this program to advance the training of new personnel. The more they can help develop the new hire the quicker they can be productive. It is also a great way to recognize the senior leaders for their contributions to the plan, the company and the new employee.
Marketing — This may be the most daunting challenge to recruiting younger employees. There is no single approach to communicating with this group. They are more technically sophisticated then most senior leaders in companies. Utilizing and leveraging the resources of association, lender, school, college websites and message boards as well as using blogs in social media to distribute our message to the target markets. Most students are confused and overwhelmed by the task of paying off student debt, making money to live and develop a direction for their career. This is a great opportunity for our industry to help guide them.[/message][su_spacer]
This article is not intended to be a master plan. It is more of a general framework to assist all of the industry stakeholders a place to start on their strategy to attract a younger generation. The key in this effort is to collaborate, communicate and leverage any and all resources to assist you in developing the path for you and your company.
I’ve worked with a number of associations at the national, regional and local levels to explore ideas, leverage existing programs and work towards a message that can be delivered in a consistent and implementable strategy. If you are interested in collaborating and sharing your thoughts and ideas, please contact me.