When you have a brokerage, you know firsthand recruiting real estate agents is a challenge yet a necessary part of running a profitable business. And when it comes to recruiting the top performing agents, your job is even harder. Many brokers think that the only difference they can offer is a better compensation package…which may not be doable anyway. Don’t be discouraged, because there actually is something you can offer that will make your brokerage more appealing: a culture which these top agents would value being a part of.
Throughout corporate America, employers recognize that corporate culture plays a large role in helping to attract and retain employees. Only look at the lengths companies like Google will go to in order to offer a work environment like no other!
You’re not recruiting employees per se, but you are recruiting real estate agents and the same principles apply: Give them a culture and an environment they want to be part of, and your brokerage will have decidedly more appeal.
What kind of culture, you wonder? Studies show people are drawn to a work culture that offers quality leadership and encourages team development. Plus there’s another benefit to this: Agents working in a culture of this kind will tend to work even harder, ultimately generating more business for your brokerage.
To help you build that kind of culture at your business (and attract more top agents), get familiar with and apply these five principles within your brokerage, starting with you:
Strong leadership is a must in any organization, and particularly when it impacts real estate agent recruiting. Agents need to know they can trust those running the brokerage to be strong leaders who make sound business decisions even in the face of adversity. It is strong leadership that earns that trust.
Jim Collins describes the best leaders as those individuals who are able to blend extreme personal humility with intense professional will. This kind of leader has the courage to put their own fears and needs to the side in order to focus on creating and maintaining a company culture of support and improvement. These are the kinds of leaders who aren’t focused on cutting costs but are focused on long-term activities like creating an environment of strategic success and creating strong client/agent relationships. Is becoming this kind of leader a tall order? Yes. Is it worth it? Most definitely yes.
Part of this strong leadership means creating an infrastructure open to innovation and change, which is also the second step in creating a brokerage culture that will help with real estate agent recruiting. You want a culture in which new ideas are welcomed and agents aren’t afraid of change, whether that’s in business processes or in adapting new technology. And when innovation becomes natural within your brokerage culture, it also allows for personal growth on the part of the agents as they learn to willingly adapt to change rather than fight it.
Innovation is easier when there is accountability, however. Accountability also plays a role in building a collaborative, team-oriented culture. Agents must know they will be held accountable to the same degree that they must be sure you will as well. And when they know they need to answer to their fellow agents as well as to you, and vice versa, their performance will improve as will their attitude. Without accountability, says Jose Perez, “agents cave on commissions, managers cave on splits, and owners don’t hold their managers sufficiently responsible.” Does that sound like an appealing work environment?
Mission and values
Your mission statement is not for your eyes alone. Nor should it be posted on the brokerage website and forgotten. It should drive your business and play a key role in the culture you develop within that business, in particular in the values that are defined as representative of that mission. When the mission is something agents can rally around and they see it lived daily in how the brokerage is run, they can become inspired.
Your mission statement also determines the values that guide your brokerage, and these values enable your agents to represent your brokerage mission in every client interaction, as well as actions with each other. Sharing in these values ensures everyone is working from the same page towards the same goals.
What kind of culture can thrive if the lines of communication aren’t open? Only a poor one. Communication is key to relationships, to doing business, and to creating the kind of work environment you hope will attract top agents to your brokerage. Experts say, creating open dialogues with agents will increase productivity, but it also helps the agents to feel like they have value within the organization when you include them in conversations and communications. You want them to feel like they have a say and a right to know what is going on. But be organized about it. Don’t rely on ad hoc communications. Develop a system for being organized so everyone is informed at all times, whether that means you send out a daily email with the latest updates or you hold weekly meetings to make sure everyone is in the loop.
Agents are the lifeblood of your brokerage and in order to gain success and improve your business, you need to be creating and fostering a suitable brokerage culture. This is also key to recruiting real estate agents too, as your brokerage culture becomes something that helps your business to stand out in the crowd. Always remember, “A great culture breeds great results.”