I have employees coming to me on a weekly basis telling me they are not happy and that they want to leave the industry. They tell me they never get the opportunity to speak with the director and that their role is a daily struggle. They tell me when they started, they were just handed a laptop, a phone and the keys to a car they now must manage.
On the flip side, I have directors telling me they don’t know what they’ve done wrong and that they thought their employees were happy. They tell me that they never saw an employee leaving and that they never seem to be able to find the right person for the role.
These are conversations I have often. These conversations can be quite uncomfortable for me especially when I’m working with both parties. I always try and think about what could have been done differently to prevent these situations. I’m also very aware that every story is at least 50% the truth.
Whether or not you fit one of these examples or haven’t experienced it yet, now is the time to check in with yourself to gauge how you are engaging with your team and with your leaders.
Directors, do you have a training induction process for each role within your organisation? When is your review process with everyone? How often do you catch up with them and what type of questions are asked? When you have collected this information, what action do you take?
Employees, when was the last time you contributed to your weekly team meeting? Are you providing honest and valuable information to the leadership team during your review process? Are you currently satisfied and challenged in your role?
These may all seem like forward questions and, for me personally, I’m finding that this is an area that is not given enough attention in many businesses.
I’m not silly. I know from time to time directors will only share with me what they want me to hear and the same of employees. But, if you want your business to grow and your career to flourish, then as individuals you need to take some responsibility and ask questions.
Using words like “power” or “success” to describe a Real Estate Agency can sometimes make it easy to imagine a cutthroat environment. However, a competitive workplace shouldn’t run on employee’s fear. A powerful and successful Real Estate Agency operates best and with the most longevity when employees work with a team mentality. Each member should be filling a needed role and fulfilling long-term goals.
Here’s what you can do to make sure your team is as strong as it can possibly be for your company:
1. Focus on roles.
A thorough selection process for picking your team members has great long-term benefits, even if this means you spend more time recruiting than you’d like to. Hiring someone just to have bodies in the room can harm your team. Real Estate Agencies that do this wind up becoming a revolving door, whether it’s because prospective employees see the role as a temporary landing pad and are less interested in learning, or because you decide later that they aren’t the right fit. This ends up costing you more money in the long run. Investing your time and money in people who truly specialize in the role your company needs will have immense payoffs later.
2. Value each role.
With each team member bringing something special to the table, treating each role as an essential part of your operation is also crucial. Each team member should feel like their job matters, without ever having to ask themselves, “Why am I even here?” It’s no secret that a sense of purpose helps each employee’s performance. When employees feel that their role is undervalued or perhaps unnecessary, it can become easy to check out mentally as work becomes mechanical and something they completely detach from as soon as the day is over.
The best way to demonstrate value between team members is through communication. It’s difficult to feel like you are part of a team when everybody has information that hasn’t been shared with you yet or when team members don’t fill each other in on what they’re working on. Keep a level of transparency whenever possible with all team members, even if the information doesn’t directly pertain to every person on your team.
4. Set goals.
Setting short and long-term goals with your team also becomes the foundation for every task they set out to complete each day. Being enthusiastic about the outcome and motivating each other with positive reinforcement will help your team members work to the best of their ability. Once they have a sense of the big picture and they know why every task they do is necessary for achieving a longer-term goal, they feel like an important part of the business. It’s important to note that these goals should be realistic so that you and your team don’t feel like you are working for a lost cause. Having milestones and deadlines can give team members opportunities to help each other out and band together for success.
5. Celebrate successes and failures.
Celebrating your successes and milestones also brings your team together and allows everyone to see that when they work together, great things can happen. If someone does a great job at something, give them a shout out in front of the rest of the team so that every effort is seen and appreciated. This also helps each person to feel visible and that what they’re doing has an impact. In contrast, if your team fails at something, come together to redirect your efforts or turn it into something positive. Don’t throw anyone under the bus or turn a damage-control discussion into a blame game. This never helps anybody. Instead, give your team equal responsibility to put your heads together and figure out the next steps.
Finally, even though you are never obligated to become best friends on a personal level with your team members, it is helpful to have monthly outings or engaging in some offsite socializing. This can give team members a chance to appreciate one another for more than just the job they do. Getting to know the people you work with helps you understand their style of work and how to have constructive discussions with them on tough days.