There has been a technological movement happening on the origination side of the mortgage industry for a few years now. New, powerful mortgage software systems are allowing lenders to become leaner with their operations, optimize their borrower’s experience, and put forth a more efficient process that gets people into homes quicker with less hassle.
Today’s mortgage industry workforce has never experienced a shift as seismic as this, which is exactly why companies should do everything they can to empower their employees to adopt and become successful with new systems.
While claims of workforce aging doomsday in the mortgage industry seem to have been slightly exaggerated (at least according to STRATMOR Group data from 2017 that shows the average loan originator to be closer to their mid 40’s than
Change is scary!
Without a strong plan for an inclusive rollout, those individuals might feel like they’re being “forced” into something they’re not comfortable with.
So how can mortgage companies set up their workforce for success when it comes to adopting and integrating new systems? It’s going to take a lot of hard work, patience, and a well-developed plan.
Here are four critical components to a successful mortgage software rollout:
se During Evaluation
When lenders or originators embark on a search for a new software system, such as a mortgage CRM, LOS, POS, or automation engine, they will generally have an idea of the feature set that they want to see in the product.
Does it do X, Y, Z?
What is rarely given enough weight in that assessment is how intuitive or easy to use the system would be for themselves, their employees, and also their borrowers in the case of client-facing systems.
Far too often decision makers get caught up in the bells-and-whistles and fail to remember that no matter how cool the system is if it’s too complex to operate people won’t use it.
But how does a mortgage company determine what is intuitive and what is not? Perhaps for a processor, the system is more complicated than for a company administrator. To get this data, select champions from relevant roles amongst your workforce who can help test products and provide honest feedback.
Timeline for Rollout
Once company leadership has made a decision on a product/provider, the most logical next step is to develop a timeline for how the system rollout will go, complete with milestones and deadlines for aspects of the project to be completed.
But this shouldn’t be “by next Friday”. Workflows need to be adjusted, employees need to be trained, customizations need to be made, and all of this takes time and energy.
As one favorite, and incredibly prophetic, quote goes: “Do it right, do it
It is far more valuable to get it right than to rush things to market. When users of the system get frustrated during their early experiences, they are far less likely to change sentiments down the road.
But when employees are given time, resources, and brought along at a pace that fosters skill development, satisfaction with the system (and job) increases and thus a greater return on investment can be realized.
Buy-In from Company Influencers
In the mortgage industry, the best and most productive originators are often cited as an example for their peers to strive toward. In this way, the processes and systems of top producers are often emulated, at least partially, due to the high visibility of their effectiveness.
Top producers make industry publications and rankings. Their achievements are recognized and rewarded via “Chairman’s” or “President’s” level distinction within their company. They’re often prominent figures in their community.
Other LOs want to achieve those same levels of success.
And to get there, they’ll seek advice or direction from the people who have themselves reached the pinnacle.
If leadership is able to get buy-in from the company’s influencers and successfully integrate the new technology into that select group’s workflows, it will make it much easier to demonstrate the value of the system to other originators and their teams.
Internal Education and Marketing
To give a company the best chance at achieving a high adoption rate, having internal education/training programs and marketing is critical. Most industry software is highly configurable and lenders spend enormous resources making sure that it is tailored to their brand and processes.
Only an internal educator can truly understand the totality of those processes, how the system fits within them, and condense that information into a program that gets employees using the system in a way that is optimized for the specific lender’s workflow.
Similar to other company events or messaging, it is important to market a system to your company from within if you’d like to see the highest rate of turnout, or in this case system adoption. Employees don’t have the same relationship with a service provider that company management does and hasn’t seen or realized value yet.
Messaging that originates from the provider can feel like an unwanted solicitation and is more often ignored, discounted, or sometimes even met with outright hostility. This is where your internal marketing team can give a huge assist. By working with the provider to create collateral and messaging that supports the rollout and then disseminating that information throughout the company from the company will lead to higher rates of engagement throughout the process.