8 steps to help you retain your agency's lettings team

1 June 2022

Here are the CEO of the Castledene Group's eight steps to help letting agents retain their team during the 'great resignation'.

In England, there are officially more job vacancies than job seekers, with a ​"jobless rate" of 3.7% - the lowest since 1974. Recruiting for any role is difficult, and retaining employees is gaining importance as people start to leave businesses to take advantage of the current job market. John Paul, CEO of the Castledene Group, has some advice to share.

1. Communicate effectively in your one-to-ones

"You've got to understand your team," says John. "This is where good management and leadership comes in. It's all about being a people person. Not a people pleaser, a people person."

Managers should be setting up regular, monthly one-to-one meetings with their team, to ensure two-way feedback, and a better understanding of how your workforce is feeling - even if that feedback is negative.

"When you do your one-to-ones, when you're having probably difficult or tough conversations about performance, you've got to deliver it with emotional intelligence. It's got to be empathetic."

2. Keep your team invested in the company goals and values

All meetings are an opportunity to ensure good communication and the chance to refer back to the company values and mission, so everyone feels like they're working towards the same goal.

"Just a reminder of the mission statement and the values and the important foundations of the business," says John.

"Just those little drip, drip, drip feeding with your team, you'll see a massive benefit by constantly reminding of those foundations."

3. Discover what motivates your team

In these meetings, you can start to draw out what motivates your team and its individual team members - and it's not always money.

"Money is what is called an enabler, to give you the things that you really want," says John Paul. "Maybe it's to spend more time with your family. Maybe it's to go on holidays. It's to get a nice car. It's an enabler to allow you to have the things that you want, which truly motivate you."

This is one of the areas where technology can also help. If your team wants more time to create a good work-life balance, an online, time-saving solution, such as Goodlord's lettings platform, could help them achieve this.

Your staff would have more time to focus on what they enjoy doing, rather than the repetitive, admin-heavy parts of their role.

4. Set achievable goals so everyone knows what they're aiming for

Often, motivation can be enhanced by setting relevant goals for your team members.

"It's all about setting short, medium, and long-term goals, and giving people the resources and the training to achieve those goals," says John.

"By having those short, medium, or long-term goals and being managed on them, you're more likely to achieve them because you've got something to aim for. It's a lot to do with proving to yourself why you want to achieve those goals. That's what motivates people in the main."

5. Invest in individual training for your team members

Training is therefore important to helping your team achieve those goals. Investing in training for your team can help them feel valued - particularly if you create a bespoke solution to suit their specific needs.

"You need to build a bespoke, individual learning plan," John says. "If you do group training sessions on arrears or group training sessions on customer service - the 1980s have called, they want their training plan back. Sorry - it's not about the group, it's about the individual."

6. Keep an eye on performance levels to see where you can support your team

How do you know where your team needs to develop? "Somebody might be great at customer service. Some might be poor at negotiating skills. Some might be poor at conflict resolution," says John. "You can tailor the plan to suit that individual."

John suggests scoring your team in a "skills matrix". This matches an individual's job description with the roles that they're meant to be carrying out, and scores these between one and four. "Four is exceeding, three is performing, two is developing, one is underperforming," he says.

Once you have each individual's score, you can better understand how they're performing overall, and where they may need further support to develop in the right way.

7. Reward and recognise team members when they achieve their goals

As you help them towards the different goals that you've worked with them to set, you also need to recognise and reward their achievements. You can use what you know about their motivations to ensure you're offering the right thing to keep them passionate about working at your business.

John says that you've got to "think outside the box" to see what you could offer to motivate them. "We have branch of the month, we have employee of the month, we have manager of the month, we've got annual general awards, we give birthdays off, first day at school for your kids off - little things like that."

8. Set up a development strategy for your business

"I would call the individual learning plan and your one-to-ones and your monthly meetings and training sessions, they're like the tactics," says John. "But your training development strategy needs to be holistic, higher level thing."

Pulling together all of the different ways that you aim to keep your team motivated and invested in achieving your business goals can help you create a strategy to direct how you want your whole business to develop. If you want everyone to achieve their level 3 qualifications, for example, you'll need to consider all of these things to keep them on track.

"How are we going to get all our team to that level? We're going to do that by individual learner plans, putting them on the ARLA qualifications, doing this, doing that. That's your overall strategy."

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