Estate agency is enduring an unusual period during which many companies have been struggling to fill vacancies.
But what can estate agency owners and managers do to counter or pre-empt this issue?
Here are ten tips from The Able Agent’s Charlotte Jeffrey-Campbell, who before setting up the industry training service worked within the industry as a sales agent including stints at Knight Frank and Keith Pattinson.
1. Listen, value and respect
Make sure to listen to all queries and concerns. Try setting aside time weekly where team members can safely and confidently express themselves, or where you can collaborate and communicate to find solutions for problems.
This is important around the conversation of fees. It is a hard topic, but when considering fee increases an open conversation will make agents feel valued and able to express their expectations.
Set up monthly, or quarterly, one-to-one meetings with staff, where you ask them direct questions about what it’s like to work in your agency, as well as their goals and motivations.
Lead how you would want to be led. Leaders should ensure they are taking some time to focus on their own development and learning.
4. Communicate expectations
Sometimes there is a misalignment between the perception people have of the role they are hired for, and the expectations of them in that role. It is important to make sure everyone knows what the company goals, and their individual aims, are at any time.
5. Show recognition for contribution
Reward staff who are delivering on their goals, but also consider where agents may be deserving of recognition in other areas, including effort and attitude. A quick comment or an appreciation email can go a long way.
Development and training are key for retention, as well as onboarding new staff. Development goals need to be personalised to the individual. Who wants to be qualified and gain certification? Who wants to do wider skills training? Who wants to focus on networking? Having these clear individual development goals as part of your business will help your agency appeal to people who are hungry for success.
7. Build structure
Success can be supported through clear processes and workflows. Letting your agents set their own plans, and break down their learning into bitesize chunks, or smaller milestones, will help to motivate them and keep them on track.
A morning meeting is a great place to start with structure. KPIs should be reviewed daily to ensure targets are met.
Culture around targets is also key – those not meeting targets need to be helped with training and support. A clear daily plan and a measurable approach to time spent in varying business areas is another great way of growing business. How much time is spent by a team in admin tasks and how much in comparison is business generation?
Allow people to make mistakes. Create a judgement-free space to share failures, so everyone can learn together.
9. Recruit on values
Recruit people for your agency who will fit into the team, furthering the culture and environment you have, and train them where they may be missing experience.
Everyone needs a feeling of fulfilment in some way from their job. If your staff aren’t happy or fulfilled this impression will be obvious to new candidates, or can turn into dissatisfaction amongst the whole workforce.
Taking some time to plan for a culture of development and clear values in your business can reap big rewards.
It is hard to look outward in, but everyone needs an objective look at their own business.
Sometimes asking your staff, or even those who are interviewing, for their impression of your business, can open up your eyes to the potential for growth and improvement.