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Stop Chasing, Start Attracting: Recruiting and Retaining Talent During the Great Resignation

Building the best team is about establishing a reputation that attracts top talent. Here are five considerations for developing a nurturing environment.

October 29, 2021

We’re in the midst of “The Great Resignation.” By now, business leaders in every industry have begun to feel its impacts as more than 40% of the global workforce leaves or considers leaving their jobs. After a year and a half of unprecedented challenges, changes, and pivots, people everywhere are reassessing what a fulfilling life looks like for them—and how their careers fit into it.

It’s no longer enough just to offer reasonable benefits and market-rate pay. With 20% of workers saying their employer doesn’t prioritize work-life balance, 54% of employees feeling overworked, and 75% of high performers saying the pandemic made them question the potential for career advancement in their current jobs, people are looking at their jobs—and to their employers—to actively promote work-life balance, professional advancement, and more.

The good news is that, with the right approach, this vast shift in employee expectations can be a net positive for your real estate business. A more fulfilled staff is a more productive, communicative, and long-lasting one. It’s also one that will spread the word about your company culture, helping to build a pipeline that allows you to stop chasing after the right candidates and start attracting them.

The Keystone to Success

To attract and retain top talent—whether they’re real estate agents, executives, customer service representatives, or other roles—you have to build a culture that recognizes each individual’s success as a keystone to the company’s success overall. That means providing actionable and tangible support systems, creating feedback loops for collaboration, and fostering genuine relationships at every level.

No matter your industry, building the best team is about both establishing a reputation that attracts top talent and intentionally fostering an environment that is ever evolving to help them perform their best. As resignations hit an all-time high, consider how your company is nurturing and communicating the following cultural philosophies:

  • Guide, don’t push. The same things that can send a client turning on their heels—like pressure or pushiness—can do the same to agents and employees. Leadership is about guiding your team to their goals, not trying to push them there (and risk pushing them off course). Success should be a collaborative effort; when your leadership is actively invested in agents and staff, those workers in turn will be more invested in the company. Team members who feel like their leaders are invested in their success are more engaged (and can make your company up to 21% more profitable). In-house coaches and mentors are an excellent way to ensure agents feel this accessible, collaborative support. Designating these specific support-focused roles also shows prospective talent that you’re committed to their success from the start.
  • Never stop learning. Retention rates are as much as 50% higher for companies with strong learning cultures, and 86% of workers say it’s important for employers to provide learning opportunities, which means they’ll be looking for a company culture that values and fosters continued education. A learning-based company culture is a win-win-win: In addition to attracting top talent, ongoing training strengthens your team’s skills and having a deep well of knowledge about your industry makes clients trust you more. You can even use educational events as recruitment tools by opening some of them up to agents outside of the company.
  • Focus on the client. In real estate, you achieve your goals by helping clients achieve theirs. You must empower your team to truly focus on the client in everything they do, which can mean anything from marketing support to streamlining how work is divided on the staff side. Make sure every agent on your team has the tools, time, and support needed to be an expert in their field and an expert at creating ongoing value to clients. Don’t just enable them to be a real estate agent or a manager; help them become consultants, collaborators, and trusted advisors. That’s how you can deliver the value that keeps clients coming back and the reputation that keeps candidates lining up to join the team.
  • Value partnership. True expertise means that people can turn to you for all things related to your industry. That doesn’t mean you have to be the expert in every single detail of real estate—it means you need to build and rely on partnerships that let your team create that ongoing value that brings clients to your door. Potentially meaningful connections are everywhere; build mutually beneficial partnerships with vendors and you can simultaneously bring new value to clients and team members and show a propensity for trust-building that gives prospective talent just one more reason to join your team.
  • Be human. At the end of the day, every business transaction boils down to one thing: an interaction between people. Focusing on the human factor—from team members to customers to agent recruits—has positive ripple effects at every level of your company. Take a people-first approach with your agents and help them do the same for their clients. Give them the support and resources needed to thoughtfully nurture relationships with clients over time, from training courses on network-building to strategic guidance on permission marketing efforts. The way your company interacts with clients reflects the way you interact internally; if prospective agents see an approach that’s genuine and personal, they’ll feel encouraged about the broker-agent relationship as well.

Focusing on the Long-Term

The pandemic changed the way we think about most everything in life; for many, that includes the role that their career plays in their long-term happiness. People have never been hungrier for connection and support, and as business leaders we can provide workplaces, careers, and cultures where those are the characteristics around which success is built. Focusing on the long-term and the relational makes both emotional and business sense; it will help you attract top talent, give them a career they’re eager to bring their best to each day, and build long-term success for your entire firm.


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Jill Butler

Jill Butler founded RedKey Realty Leaders St. Louis in 2012—an independent real estate agency created on a foundation of love, service, and fun. In addition to growing 300 percent in their first year, RedKey has consistently and significantly outperformed the market in both sales amounts and volume. RedKey opened a second location in West County in 2015 and is now considered one of the largest independent real estate companies in St. Louis. Jill was named 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by the state of Missouri and St. Louis chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. She has held an officer position for the Women’s Council of REALTORS® and serves on the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors. Learn more at redkeystlouis.com.

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