Susan Sullivan of Enact: Maintaining Diversity Amidst The Great Resignation

Susan Sullivan is Chief Human Resources Officer with Enact (formerly Genworth Mortgage Insurance). She is responsible for all HR accountabilities across the organization, which includes overseeing overarching people strategy and leading the employee relations, internal communications, learning & development and facilities teams. The statements provided are the opinions of Susan Sullivan and do not reflect the views of Enact or its management.

Susan Sullivan

The Great Resignation is impacting businesses across the U.S., leaving most companies needing to backfill roles quickly. While businesses certainly need adequate staffing to run, a time crunch should not negatively impact the quality or diversity of your candidate pool. Hiring solely for the sake of filling a position quickly is not the best strategy for adding long-term value to your organization.

According to the Harvard Business Review, studies show that having even just two minority candidates instead of one can increase consideration for minority candidates. Often, people tend to maintain the status quo of the candidate pool and focus solely on skill and training, without being intentional about or giving much consideration to diversity. Here are some tips on how to hire quickly without compromising your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Why are teams shrinking?

Before we dive into tips, let’s discuss the Great Resignation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of those in the private sector who have resigned, not including government or farm employees, hit a new all-time high of 4.5 million workers – and it shows no signs of slowing down.

The number one reason employees left their previous employers was burnout, according to 40 percent of respondents in a survey cited by Inc. Other factors for resignations include looking for flexibility or a more caring culture. Before you begin hiring, it’s important to first understand why people are leaving. Finding diverse and qualified candidates will not be enough if they end up resigning as well. If you find there are problems to be fixed or gaps to fill, addressing them prior to hiring new people might prevent the hard work that goes into hiring great candidates from going to waste.

Hiring Tips

With all this in mind, what can mortgage companies do to ensure the Great Resignation does not negatively affect their company’s health or its diversity initiatives?

First of all, be intentional about preferred qualifications and have a strong understanding of what you want the person filling the open role to achieve. Hiring managers often find themselves posting the exact role a person has vacated. Spending time  up front on evaluating where you really want the new hire to be focused will save you time in the long run. Communicating clear expectations allows you to find more easily those with the right skills and abilities for the job. It is worth repeating that you want these candidates to not just join your company, but to stick around. Being clear about the skills and abilities needed for the role helps ensure your hire will be equipped to be successful and add value to your organization.

Next, utilize multiple networks to source great, diverse, candidates. Every group you choose to work with may not have someone for you each time you need a position filled, but keeping a broad network improves your chances of finding good candidates. To maintain diversity, make sure you’re in touch with the career departments at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). Establish a normal cadence of communication with them to open that pipeline. It also can be useful to do the same with industry associations, especially those committed to diversity. Ask the hiring managers about their networking groups and professional associations and tap into those as well.

Get employees involved, too. Employee referral programs are often the most successful source of candidates. Your current employees already understand the needs of the company and who would be a good addition. Employee resource groups or DEI committees are another resource to lean on to ensure your company keeps its commitment to DEI when backfilling positions. Also, leverage any employees who are a part of industry organizations or professional associations committed to diversity.

You also may want to consider promoting current employees who may be nearly ready for the job, meaning they have around 80% of the preferred qualifications and experiences to be successful in the role. Many times, this opens up a more diverse pipeline as you may have hired diverse candidates at more front-line levels in the business and are already working on training them.

Finally, consider outsourcing or re-prioritizing certain projects while you’re hiring. This keeps your existing employees from getting burnt out by trying to do extra jobs or complete big tasks without enough support. Recruiting diverse candidates is important, but it’s equally important to retain the dedicated employees you already have.

Regardless of how you choose to approach the hiring process, remain true to your mission, stay rooted in the DEI commitment your company has made, and allow that to be your north star.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at; or Michael Tucker, editorial manager, at