4 things to consider when growing your team

Zak Wilford is a specialist recruiter that works with both commercial and residential finance brokers, sub-aggregators and other groups to help them grow through hiring great people. 

Whilst we all enjoyed a little down time, the ever-changing mortgage broking industry certainly didn’t stop.

For example, we saw a few relatively big moves, such as Top 50 Broker Marshall Condon leaving behind his Mortgage Choice franchise to start the slick “Neue Black” under top aggregator, Finsure. As well as the popular Macquarie BDM Adam Baker take a slight change in direction and joining RateOne. Two great moves and I wish them both all the best. 

Now, as everyone is back on board set to execute their 2016 plan, here are four considerations from a recruitment perspective based on discussions with key groups as well as my own thoughts. 

1: Employer brand
In 2016, we’ll see more and more groups focusing on employer brand. Why? To attract standout performers. Groups are spending more time and money on developing marketing strategies, not with the aim of sourcing new business but instead to position themselves in the market place as a top employer. If growing the team is on your 2016 agenda, it is important to develop a proactive strategy. Define what sets you apart from the competition, from other employers.

Why would someone want to work within your business? Have a clear understanding of your audience and of the types of candidates you want to attract. Ensure senior members of the team are on board and can actively promote your business from a recruitment perspective. They are your ambassadors. Lastly, take advantage of different channels like professional and social networks to promote your employer brand, and you’ll notice a significant difference when it comes to hiring. 

One group that is already doing this well is Shore Financial. They are dominating when it comes to bringing young talent into the industry and have developed a strong employer brand as a result.

2: Passive candidates
It’s no secret there’s a talent shortage in the broking industry as a result of multiple barriers to entry. Consider: how you will attract passive candidates? Top talent are quickly snapped up by those that are actively promoting their employer brand throughout the year; those that are at the forefront. In 2016, think strategically and innovatively about how you will reach a passive market. From experience, the market has three segments: the top 20% that will never move, the bottom 20% that are always looking to move due to lack of success and the 60% in the middle that aren’t actively looking but could certainly be tempted by an offering better than their current situation. The key is tapping into the 60% that aren’t actively looking and having an offer they’ll struggle to look past.

3: Retention 
You’ve got a high-performing team; how will you keep them? Retention is a tricky one in this industry with groups putting various measures in place to keep their top talent. When hiring a broker, so many groups are conscious of them learning the ropes and developing networks only to leave in a couple of years to set up shop independently. The risk in mortgage broking seems to be higher than any other industry, which to me is as a result of the commission-only model. Innovative ideas, incentives and models need to be implemented to retain the brokers in your team.

It is no longer enough to offer “a good support” model – just about every group has jumped on that bandwagon. It’s not that it’s not good, more so that it isn’t tangible and therefore hard to measure, and place value on. After a couple of years of broking a support model isn’t necessary, hence equity buy-ins and more responsibility are fast becoming the norm in a lot of broker groups.

4: Succession planning
It goes hand-in-hand with retaining staff and is certainly something I foresee being of huge importance in 2016: succession planning and internal hiring. Internal hiring is something that occurs usually on a case-by-case basis, however, in such a candidate short market, I can see groups making this a longer term strategy. That is, bringing in entry-level staff such as loan processors and PA’s and implementing a 6-18 month plan with the end goal of creating a fully-qualified Finance Broker.

This is a great way of attracting young talent to the industry and is something I have personally seen work really well. In doing so, you are removing barriers to entry and affording employees the opportunity to learn the process, the business and become aligned with the brand, whilst planning the transition from a salary to a commission-only broker. 

If you're looking to grow the team or you're looking for a move take a look at the Job Board on zakwilford.com or www.facebook.com/workinfinance.

Zak Wilford first stepped into the mortgage industry in 2013, aggressively targeting aggregators and headhunting their brokers and groups to join the then start-up aggregator Finsure and 1300Homeloan. After a year with Finsure, he joined recruitment agency Drake International, and a year later he stepped out on his own to fill a gap in the market – to start a recruitment agency specialising in working with finance brokers. 

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