MReport October 2019

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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TH E M R EP O RT | 39 SPONSORED CONTENT On the Same Page To get the most out of employees, companies must foster a culture of clear communication and "value-based" leadership. By John Permejo M ortgage banking has always been an industry where get- ting the most out of employees and maximizing profits is a top concern for leadership. The profit margins in mortgage banking continue to shrink while operating costs and risks continue to increase. Maximizing employee efficiency and productivity has been a priority, and now more so than ever. The U.S. workforce, for the first time in history, includes five gen- erations, the Silent Generation to Generation Z. Employees in the workforce now come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, expe- riences, cultures, and expectations and with a wide range of skills. Leaders need to be able to flex their management styles to meet each employees' specific needs. It Starts With You To maximize employee per- formance and efficiency, start with effective management and leadership. Employees need good, if not great leadership that com- municates, motivates, trains, and consistently inspires employees to become the best they can. Leaders must understand that each team member's needs are different. Some employees value autonomy but still need motiva- tion, guidance, direction, and at times, a different perspective. Other employees need a high level of support and constant reinforce- ment. Whatever the need, leaders must be able to provide support and guidance. In his book, Leading Change, James O'Toole talks about a style of leadership known as "value-based" management. This "coaching" style of leadership has become the preferred style of leadership in high performing companies. Recently LERETA has partnered with a leadership devel- opment firm to train our leaders in the "coaching or interaction" style of management and com- munication. Employees who feel valued and respected are more engaged and productive. Stretch Them, Don't Break Them Companies continue to stretch the limits of their employees' abilities and at times, they stretch to the breaking point and end up driving good employees away or burning them out. Employee development is a necessity, espe- cially in specialized fields, or in positions like sales or customer service. Employers need to invest in continuous training and em- ployee development to stretch and grow the abilities of their employ- ees. Evaluate your employees and how they are performing. Provide appropriate support and coach- ing. If employees are constantly in a panic or seem stretched to the point of burnout, we, as leaders, must identify training opportuni- ties. If employees seem comfortable and are able to manage current assignments, then it might be time to "stretch" their skills and assign new responsibilities and job func- tions to increase performance, develop new skills, and grow the employee. Give them enough time to acclimate and adjust to their new job functions or extra responsibilities before stretching them again. Stretch their capabili- ties but be mindful not to break their spirit or motivation by burn- ing them out. Communication Is Key Leaders and managers must provide continuous feedback. Whether the feedback is for praise or developmental reasons, employ- ees need to know what they are doing well and what they need to develop. Balanced developmental feedback will engage your em- ployees and let them know you care about their development. Feedback, either positive reinforcement or developmental, must be given at or near the time the employee acted. Every day as leaders, we have "moments of truth" where we can provide feedback and guidance. If you wait to give feedback, it is not as effective. When providing feedback, explain the situation. If positive, praise employees for their actions so that you reinforce positive behavior. If the results are less than desired, then provide guid- ance on what actions they could have taken. Without consistent feedback, you cannot expect em- ployees to develop into who the company needs. Where's the Carrot? Recognition from senior management will go a long way in generating goodwill, loyalty, and engagement. At LERETA, we provide Employee Excellence awards, employee-of-the-month awards, as well as other perfor- mance-based rewards. Getting the most from em- ployees is not difficult if you motivate, train, talk to, and then reward them for a job well done. Ultimately, performance manage- ment comes down to effective communication and ensuring you and your employees are on the same page and working toward the same goals. JOHN PERMEJO is the VP of Training and Development at Lereta and has more than two decades' experience in the financial industry. As a manager and leader, he has a proven track record in building and maintaining highly productive training and development, perfor- mance support, operations, sales, and data analysis teams.

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