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Live Or Die On Day One

The first day is the most important day to reduce turnover

Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman
Live Or Die On Day One

It takes so many resources to hire a competent loan officer, let alone a top producer. The most expensive cost for a manager is turnover, especially the loss of good employees. Thus, preventing turnover is a key objective of management. And the most important day to reduce turnover is the first day. Remember the adage: Today is the most important day of the rest of my life? Well, the first day is the most important day of a new employee’s career with your company.


Bob hires Julie scenario —

This was a long process as Julie was at her previous company for three years as she hates change. Lunches and meetings over three months finally did the trick. Even so, Julie has very mixed feelings. Her boss made a counteroffer (including promotion to an assistant sales manager role) the day she left.

It was tempting, but she had made a commitment. She shows up for her first day at 9 a.m. Her new boss Bob has a loan app this morning and the office manager is to show her around. The office manager does just that—to a desk and phone. Ten minutes later into the tour, a major settlement blow-up occurs. She is called away. Bob is delayed in the real estate office and shows up around noon with 30 messages to return. Bob chats with Julie for 10 minutes and starts returning phone calls. Julie attempts to find out how to order business cards and get a voicemail extension.

By 2 p.m., Julie’s old boss calls and makes one more pitch. Julie agrees to meet her that night after work. The next morning Julie calls Bob: I have changed my mind. Bob panics. What happened? I just couldn’t go through with it. It is nothing against you or your company.

Could this have been avoided?

Changing jobs is traumatic enough (if you have hired the right person). Coming to a strange place and witnessing no support the first day can be devastating. No one starts a new job without some reservations and concerns. These concerns can be put to rest or they can fester and grow. It is up to you. You have invested many hours into recruiting this person. Now you must invest in them as an employee. You start by making the first day a day of orientation.

Here are the keys to orientation:

  • Schedule no appointments that day! You personally recruited them and you need to be their ambassador as soon as they walk in the door.
  • Be there to greet the employee. Make sure you are there before they arrive.
  • Schedule a lunch in the office. Order a pizza and have everyone meet the new employee. This promotes the air of a team.
  • Escort them to spend 10 to 15 minutes with employees of different departments. Schedule this ahead of time so that the employees have blocked some time. If key departments are located in different locations, perhaps a visit to the main or regional office can be scheduled or make introductions to key people by Zoom.
  • Put together an orientation package that covers some of the most important aspects of the job.
  • Hold an orientation session. This could be one day in some companies or an entire week in others. Just the programs and technology alone may take several days within orientation.

The Orientation Session

What to go over in the orientation session?

  • General company policies (work hours, meeting schedules, fee schedules).
  • Resources: who to see to get what (business card, email address, website, licensing requirements, key to the door). This section may be entitled — How to get started.
  • Access to company forms and loan origination software. Setting up their computer if they are to receive a company computer.
  • Organizational charts: the structure of the company. Who handles what functions? For example, whom do they call to get the answer to a program question?
  • What decisions must be made quickly, such as choosing a website design.
  • Making sure they understand the compensation play and pay policies.
  • Going over benefits and making sure they submit the forms in a timely manner.
  • Going over marketing policies; for example do they have to get their ads approved by a marketing department? Who pays for what?
  • The orientation package — more on that concept to follow.

The focus you give them coming in the door will not only create a better first impression and relieve their anxiety, but will give them a better start and help them become more productive more quickly. For example, it is not unusual for them to have prospects they need to take care of the very first day, but perhaps their license is not in place. What are you going to do with those prospects in the interim?

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine March 2023 issue.
Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman

Dave Hershman is an author for the mortgage industry with eight books and several hundred articles to his credit. He is also senior vice president of sales for Weichert Financial Services, head of OriginationPro Mortgage School and a top industry speaker.

Published on
Mar 06, 2023
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