Carolyn Frank is chief human resources officer at Guild
Mortgage, where she oversees the company’s HR and
learning-management functions. She has more than 20 years
of human resources experience with a strong background
in employee relations, talent development and workforce
strategy. Prior to joining Guild, she held HR positions with
Genoptix, Amylin and Johnson Outdoors. Reach Frank at
(858) 492-5846 or email@example.com.
Every Generation Can Play a
Role in the Mortgage Industry
Younger workers who click with older ones can only make this business stronger
By Carolyn Frank
Just as the millennial generation is settling comfortably into positions of ever-increasing importance in the mortgage industry, the next wave of workers — dubbed Generation Z — is
beginning to enter the workforce in growing numbers.
That brings entirely new challenges for managers.
Five overlapping generations of employees are now
working at mortgage companies across the nation —
from those still in their teens to senior employees who
are age 75 and beyond.
Envision managing workers with such a wide range
of ages and experiences, differing communication
styles, dueling stereotypes and misconceptions. Now,
imagine doing that as core staff members are retiring,
value systems are colliding with legacy hierarchical
structures, and technology is revolutionizing the mortgage business.
There are ways to settle millennials and Generation Z into the mortgage industry and get everybody
working on the same page.
Differences by generation
Let’s take a look at these five generations. The profiles
presented here paint a broad picture of the general
characteristics that define each group. Of course, the
personalities and work habits of individuals within
these groups vary widely.
n Silent generation: These are workers who were
born in 1945 and earlier. They are considered hard-working, loyal and respect authority. They’re disciplined, motivated by job security and retain great
n Baby Boomers: This group is generally defined as
being born from 1946 to 1964. They are considered
ambitious, relationship-driven, and are motivated by
being valued and seek to make contributions while
also being rewarded financially. Although they’re
great sources of knowledge, they can sometime suffer from the “Not Invented Here” syndrome and, consequently, may have a tendency to resist ideas from
n Generation X: These are people born from 1965
to 1980. They generally enjoy autonomy, flexibility
and maintaining a work-life balance. They are entrepreneurial, experienced, confident, self-reliant and
skeptical. They too can be motivated by having
their work valued.
n Generation Y: These are the millennials, born
from 1981 to 1996. They need more guidance than
Gen Xers and want to connect and collaborate.
Generally, they’re optimistic, expect flexibility and
are tech savvy and are heavily into social media.
While they too can be motivated by workplace culture, they can be over-confident and self-absorbed.
n Generation Z: This is the generation born in 1997
and later. They’re generally ambitious, collaborative
and entrepreneurial. They expect transparency, are
motivated by constant feedback and mentorship.
They seek personal growth and meaningful work.
They were born with technology and are often
more pragmatic than millennials.
Challenges and aspirations
Author Jean Twenge takes a deep dive into those last
two generations in her latest book, “iGen: Why Today’s
Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebel-
lious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely
Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means
for the Rest of Us.”
Gen Zers know they are entering an increasingly
competitive world, but they lack the outside bravado
of the millennials, according to Twenge. They want
security in an unsecure world. They are more focused
on work and more realistic than millennials, grasping
the certainty that they’ll need to fight hard to make
it. Their work ethic is a little stronger, too. Some have
inferior social skills.
These observations are taken from four public databases that ask the same questions of the same groups
of young people each year at the same age. The results,
based on some 11 million anonymous responses since
1976, track trends across the generations, from the
same points of time in their lives.
Managers who can provide security and continuing nurturing will find themselves with the hardest-working group of young people to come along in a
decade or two, Twenge notes. Those who have been
cheerleaders for millennials will find they are more like
therapists, life coaches or parents for this next generation, she writes.
Gen-Y and Gen-Z workers want to know that the job
has a clear career path — if they can advance, preferably quickly, according to Twenge. When considering
the timeline for promotions, make them more frequent. Instead of a big leap every two years, consider
smaller advancements every six months.
Another source, the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey,
finds that these two younger generations have strong
opinions on what business and corporations should
achieve. The survey finds that millennials and the
emerging Gen Z want industry to make a positive
impact on society and the environment. They want
companies to pursue innovative ideas and make creative products and services. They also put an emphasis
on inclusion and diversity in the workplace.
Younger workers need positive reasons to stay with
their employers. They need to be offered the realistic
prospect that by staying loyal they will, in the long run,
be materially better off — and as individuals, develop
faster and more fully than if they left, Deloitte reports.
The 2018 study results showed that millennials
believe business leaders are not effectively addressing
these critical issues. This provides enlightened businesses with an opportunity to fill what young workers
see as a leadership void and set new courses to building loyalty, trust and reducing turnover.
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