Grant Boelter is a Minneapolis-based freelance journalist who writes about real estate and urban issues. He has worked as a newspaper reporter as well as in corporate and nonprofit communications. In addition to writing, Grant enjoys getting around Minneapolis by bike and traveling with his wife and coonhound.
Create a Winning Brokerage Culture
Here are five strategies for instilling strong commitment and values in the agents and employees at your brokerage.
August 1, 2014
Building and maintaining a positive culture in your brokerage can seem like a slippery goal. Culture is one of those intangible qualities of a workplace that employees and managers can identify when present—but explaining how it came to be is more difficult.
Culture is hard to measure with numbers or analytics. But Dave Robison, who manages UtahDave Neighborhood Experts in Salt Lake City, says a positive culture is one of the biggest keys to long-term success for any brokerage.
“Culture is about building commitment to one another,” he says. “Commitment is when you’re willing to do things that are inconvenient.”
Robison takes a measured approach, keeping culture issues top-of-mind when he implements policies and procedures. He shares five strategies for organically building culture at your brokerage:
1. Do what you say. The best way to undermine your culture is to go back on what you’ve told agents when they joined your team. Make your expectations known at the beginning, and follow through on them.
2. Provide incentive. Brief monthly meetings are necessary for sharing news and checking in on goals. To emphasize the importance of attending, he gives a higher commission split to agents with perfect attendance. Whatever you deem important to your culture, Robison recommends tying incentives to participation.
3. Promote accountability, top to bottom. “There’s the saying, ‘Your chain is only as strong as your weakest link,’” Robison says. “When you have agents missing meetings or not turning in their statistics, that’s a really weak link.” At his brokerage, agents must attend meetings and share their statistics, regardless of tenure or past achievements.
4. Provide resources for success. High-quality training and technological tools that improve efficiency can boost not only your bottom line but also agent morale. Agents know you’re invested in their success. Archiving training sessions and making them accessible online to his “partner agents” and allowing agents to attend meetings via Google Hangout have increased buy-in on education initiatives.
5. Share (and repeat) your core values. Your core values should define your culture, so it’s imperative that everyone in your brokerage is aware of what those are and your collective efforts support them. One of the core values at Robison’s brokerage is “creating memorable experiences,” a mantra that is repeated at every turn. Successful agents at his company aren’t just making sales, they’re making the process is easy and memorable for buyers and sellers.
Instilling your cultural values is important when you bring on new agents and employees, but Robison says it’s equally necessary to check in with your veterans to make sure they’re still on the same page. “A lot of times that means providing emotional support,” he says.
Once veteran agents have acquired the knowledge they need to do their jobs well, it’s not uncommon for them to hit a wall, and doubt in your mission can begin to creep in. “Doubt is a normal part of the process,” he says. That’s when you need to communicate and offer support so that your successful agents not only stay with you but remain champions of your organizations, willing to recruit and mentor the next wave of agents.