An estate agency senior has called for the industry’s obsession with tough key performance indicators (KPIs) to be ended.
Lee O’Brien (pictured), who is a co-founder of Essex and Hertfordshire estate agency David Lee, says the corporate estate agency sector’s use of strict KPIs to motivate staff has now gone too far.
“Any agent that has worked at any level in corporate estate agency knows all too well how KPIs rule the roost,” he says.
“A relentless, blind passion for numbers on a spreadsheet that seem to occupy every waking hour that branch managers, regional directors and managing directors have available.
“More time is spent ‘measuring’ their employees’ work than actually doing the work. Surely a career should be more enjoyable than adding figures into a computer until stupid o’clock?”.
O’Brien says the problems is not much that KPIs are used, but that employing them to drive an estate agency and staff performance ultimately serves clients poorly.
These opinions are not surprising – Lee and his business partner David Kirby left their corporate agency jobs in 2004 to set up David Lee and last year left the high street for a centralised offer and a new system of self-employed associates.
Nevertheless, O’Brien has several corporate culture pet hates including listing targets and bonuses for listers but not sales.“Corporates that focus on the listing ‘at any cost’ know that they are often misleading the client in order to achieve such at the volume that the business insists,” he says.
Others include in-house conveyancing targets but also ‘unhealthy’ mortgage selling targets; an obsession with ‘market share pie-charts’; must-attend 8.30am sales meetings and systems that measure call-time duration.
“When this industry starts to commoditise and control the length of a neg’s phone conversation, we have meandered into a very dark place,” he says.