Staff Retention Strategies in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

One of the most frustrating issues in commercial real estate brokerage is with staff.  The first problem is in finding the right people for your team, and then the second problem is the issue of keeping them for the long term.

When you lose a team member for any reason, the costs incurred in replacement and re-training are high.  As the replacement strategy is implemented you can lose clients, commissions, and listings.

It takes some time to get a staff member, sales professional, leasing executive, property manager, or administrative support person up to the best output and level of professional results.  What you need here is a plan to employ, retain and coach your people.

Why do people leave real estate brokerages and move to others?  Whilst the reasons are many, most come back to a mixture of the following key issues:

  • Poor wages (by industry comparison)
  • Low commissions (without relevance to results and market share)
  • No support for the tasks and daily duties
  • Overworked
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of guidance
  • No training for the tasks involved
  • Conflict in the team
  • Poor or erratic management
  • Little team leader support
  • Poor working conditions
  • No growth opportunities

Many of these issues are ‘fixable’ items.  They do not need to happen in a real estate office.

With the right retention, management, and education plans most real estate offices can be successful in staff performance.  I go back to the point that finding new people for the team is time consuming and costly.

The goals in a real estate office staff management plan should include retention of good people, and attraction of new people.

Here are some ideas to help you with the staff growth and retention strategies in your brokerage:

  1. Give every staff member a job specification that is fair for the time and task allocations.  Allow them to review and comment on the structure and contents of the list.
  2. Match skills and knowledge to the job.  If the person does not know how to do something, get them trained.
  3. Benchmark your agency against others locally in staff and market share.  Look for the differences and understand how you can change if that is required.
  4. Track the top performers in the market against your people.  Look for changes and opportunities that can be replicated.
  5. You will lose people during the year for some reasons that you cannot control.  On that basis you need a recruitment plan.  Run recruitment nights at a neutral venue where you can tell potential employees of the benefits in the industry.
  6. Provide induction plans for all of your team when they first take up a new position.
  7. Give support and encouragement where possible to take every team member to the next level.
  8. Encourage every team member to create a personal business plan for their role and professional future.  Review the plans with them every 3 months.  Provide guidance to them where possible.

Every person on your real estate team will be motivated differently.  As team leader it is your job to understand those facts and work with them.

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