Keep Your Valued Employees Happy

By Christopher M. Leporini, REALTOR® Magazine

Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay By Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans (Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.) 256 pp., $20.95
Buy this book from Amazon.com.

Who are the “good people” within your brokerage? They are not only your star salespeople but also all of your other talented, committed sales and office staff who are the heart and soul of your company. They’re anyone you can’t afford to lose. So how do you keep them engaged, excited about coming to work, and performing at their peak?

This international bestseller—considered by some business leaders to be one of the best books available on the topic of employee retention—helps you answer those questions. The updated and expanded second edition provides 26 straightforward, tested strategies, organized by chapters A through Z for busy business managers.

Many of the tips in this book have been culled from a database of 3,000 responses to the question “What Kept You?” asked in exit interviews, focus groups, and the Internet, as well as information gathered from newspapers, journals, and books. For the second edition, the authors also met with more than 40,000 managers from large and small companies around the world. The strategies they developed can help you grow the success of your brokerage through its most valuable asset—your “good people.”

Tips for Real Estate Professionals

Here are a few of the strategies that you may be able to apply to your sales and office staff to keep them motivated and happy.

  • Ask—What Keeps You? The key to keeping one employee happy may be public recognition for great work performance. For another, it may be the ability to telecommute. How will you know what’s most important to their job satisfaction if you don’t ask? “Regardless of when you start this dialogue, remember to set the context by telling your employees how critical they are to you and your team and how important it is to you that they stay,” the authors write. “Then find out what will keep them. Listen carefully to their responses.”
  • Share Information. Research shows that people want a boss with influence and power. And information is power. Your salespeople and office staff also want to be included in that information loop. You need to share information about: your company’s strategic direction and goals; the real estate profession and industry; the emerging trends and new developments that may affect career possibilities; and cultural and political realities of your company. When you share information, “you’ll increase commitment and enhance the odds of keeping your best people,” the authors write.
  • Get Family-Friendly. “Employees are asking for workplace that helps them balance the demands of their work and family lives, rather than forcing them to choose one over the other,” the authors write. If your brokerage doesn’t have a family-friendly atmosphere, you will have a hard time getting good people to stay. That means providing flexibility to your office and sales staff in how they work, when they work, and where they work. Some family-friendly strategies can include allowing your sales associates’ and staff’s children to come to work with them when they have a special occasion or a special need; inviting an associate or staff person and his or her parents, relatives, or children to lunch; allowing well-behaved pets into the workplace; or researching elder-care options for an associate or staff person with aging parents.
  • Be a Mentor. “People with mentors are twice as likely to stay,” the authors write. “Mentoring has become a way not only to transfer crucial skills and knowledge but to inspire loyalty in new employees and emerging leaders.” So how do you become a mentor? By being a role model or directing your people to a good role model, supporting them in the risk-taking that’s essential to their growth, nurturing their unique skills and capabilities, telling it like it is, and helping them to avoid organizational minefields. You don’t necessarily need a formal mentoring program to provide workers with the guidance that will improve their skills and win their loyalty. To learn more about mentoring, see “Why Mentor? ” in the July issue of REALTOR® Magazine.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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