What people value most in the workplace –– relationships, purpose, personal fulfillment –– has only grown in importance since the world was rocked by a global pandemic. But it’s a sentiment that’s always resonated here at Weichert.
As one of the only family-owned real estate companies of our size in the country, we’ve worked hard to build an environment of genuine support among our affiliates, their agents, and the communities we serve.
It’s good to see more companies moving in this direction.
As a broker, it’s essential to find and keep real estate agents who fit your culture, can help grow your business, and will be happy to stay on as they become more and more successful.
Here’s how to build agent retention into your brokerage:
Lay a rock-solid foundation –– The best way to attract great agents is to be a great company. The most successful businesses in any community –– from body shops to bakeries to real estate brokerages –– have a reputation that speaks for itself.
From dealing honestly and fairly with clients to supporting the community as a whole, being a good company run by good people will do more to attract talent than anything money can buy.
According to a study by Deloitte of 13,000 millennials, this generation expects a business “to enhance lives” and may even form or terminate relationships with a company based on its social impact.
Don’t skimp on tools –– Providing mediocre resources will never cut it in a competitive industry like ours. At Weichert, we invest heavily in real estate training and tools such as myWeichert powered by kvCORE technology platform.
In addition to training modules that are built into the platform, the Weichert Service Team holds live training sessions on its most popular features and functions to ensure it’s helping agents be as productive as possible. Via large group webinar demos, we review basic to advanced lead gen techniques and provide office-specific training sessions, on-demand video recordings, email tips, and more. We also encourage offices to develop “super-users” who are willing and able to assist and train agents.
Your most ambitious agents will use nearly every feature of your CRM to the fullest. They’ll save time and sell more, so make it as easy as possible.
Create an amazing culture –– Dr. Phil is famous for asking “How much fun are you to live with?” It’s a question worth considering if your best agents are jumping ship. In other words, “How much fun are you to work with?” While rules and responsibilities must be taken seriously, creating a workplace where appreciation is the norm and optimism is the default goes a long way toward fostering loyalty.
Poor company culture is not only tough on morale, it can be costly to the tune of billions thanks to turnover, absenteeism, and low performance. As a family-oriented, multigenerational real estate company, we take pride in everything a winning culture represents: putting people first and making business decisions that make sense, not just for today, but for years to come. With national affiliates of all shapes and sizes, we regularly share best practices for building a supportive, stimulating, and engaging workplace for agents.
For a deeper dive into what company culture really is and how you can make the most of yours, check out Gallup’s guide to building a culture that drives performance.
Think mutual brand building –– Everyone wants to be proud of the company they work for and the brand they represent. While all Weichert affiliates benefit from a brand that’s already well-respected in the industry, individual locations must then build upon this foundation to appeal to people in the beach towns, mountains, and big cities they serve.
Similarly, great agents work tirelessly to build their personal brands by nurturing relationships, specializing in certain areas of real estate, and building a stellar reputation.
From the look and feel of marketing materials to Weichert’s people-centered approach to business, consistency across all three layers builds a brand that agents want to be a part of. It also delivers a powerful and cohesive story to consumers, which in turn strengthens our market leadership as a whole.
Offer a clear career track –– Real estate agents are notoriously independent, but everyone needs something to reach for. For new agents, having a mentor who can coach them toward milestones can be motivating. Experienced agents may appreciate creative incentives and annual awards for hitting ever more ambitious targets. As a broker-owner, it’s important to stay tuned into what agents need at all stages of their career and do your best to support their progress.
As reported by Harvard Business Review, a survey of Facebook employees turned up interesting findings about those who chose to stay with the company: They found their work enjoyable 31 percent more often, used their strengths 33 percent more often, and expressed 37 percent more confidence that they were gaining skills and experiences to develop their careers. This speaks volumes to the importance of enabling people to do work they love, playing to their strengths, and carving out a path for career development that values individual preferences.
Recruit with purpose –– When speaking to independent brokers who are thinking of joining Weichert, we typically hear that agent recruitment often loses out to more pressing business concerns. It’s done sporadically and inconsistently as time allows, with no real structure in place.
At Weichert, we make agent recruitment a priority. As part of a comprehensive agent recruitment strategy, Weichert affiliates can access presentation decks for hosting career events and scripting a unique value proposition; social media recruitment support to meet prospects where they spend time; sell sheets, flyers, brochures, videos, and agent sample packages; best practices, strategies, and agent recruitment resources, including interview scripts and prospecting tools; and, of course, the tools and technologies that attract highly motivated agents, such as brand marketing assets, lead gen tools, and more. Plus, we have a full training program for new agents to get them up and running quickly. All of this allows our affiliates to recruit with confidence.
Much more than a “to-do” that gets forgotten when things get busy, our agent recruitment, retention, and training strategy is a key component of our success.
Talk it out –– Ever heard of an entry interview? It’s like an exit interview, only much more useful. Why? Because the time for deep and meaningful conversations with new recruits is early in the relationship, not after things have gone south.
In the first week on the job, spend time with new hires and ask about the most rewarding moments of their career, what makes them feel most energized at work, big goals they’d love to achieve, and even passions they have outside of work. In short, find out “their why.” Being armed with this insight offers a much better chance of creating an engaging, fulfilling experience that will boost agent retention.
Checking in often to see how agents are doing should be insightful and also enjoyable. Learn what they love about your brokerage, what they may be missing, and what they need to reach their next big goal. At Weichert, we call these “one-on-ones” and it’s a big part of our retention strategy.
Exceed employee “engagement” –– Although agents are technically independent contractors, the principles of “employee engagement” still apply. According to Gallup, however, only 39 percent of U.S. employees are truly engaged while 14 percent are actively disengaged. Top reasons cited? A lack of clear expectations, trust, coaching, communication, and performance evaluations. In the quest to enhance recruitment and retention, leading companies are now nurturing the full employee experience (EX).
In short, EX is the journey an agent takes with your organization. It includes “every interaction that happens along the employee’s life cycle, plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workspace, manager, and wellbeing.” Aligning the agent experience with your organization’s purpose goes far beyond process improvements. It uses human behavioral insights to bring out the best in people and optimize business performance through talent.
At the heart of this philosophy is a growth mindset. When agents are sufficiently challenged to stretch, grow, and reach their full potential, everyone wins.