7 ways to motivate and retain your lettings team
Staff turnover can be a challenge in lettings, especially when it comes to negotiators - so here are some top tips on retaining them.
Motivating and retaining staff often go hand in hand, and for agents that do this successfully, the financial benefits are clear. The average cost of replacing an employee is £30,000 when you consider the loss of productivity caused by the time it takes for a new recruit to get up to speed, not to mention the logistics and costs associated with actually finding a replacement.
In the property industry specifically, new research found that 91% of estate agents would consider moving jobs in the next 12 months. At a time when high street agents face stiff competition from online competitors for landlords and talented staff, retaining and motivating negotiators has never been more important.
1. Create a culture of coaching and feedback
This really is a win-win for your agency and staff. Investing in training for your team will not only make them feel valued, but will also ensure they can continue to deliver the best customer service. It can even be free - Goodlord offers webinars on a monthly basis on a variety of lettings topics.
Plus, by fostering a solid culture of feedback and coaching, you give your negotiators and other team members what they crave while developing them to be more effective in their roles.
Consider blocking out time each week for group coaching and feedback. Ask your negotiators to come prepared to talk through tricky negotiations that week, so that the team can roleplay together.
Record the calls and listen to a few. Nominate one negotiator to provide positive feedback on the call and another to offer constructive feedback.
2. Conduct team building exercises and emphasise your company culture
Your team needs to enjoy their time at work. That means organising team building sessions, and making the office a welcoming space. Showing that you care about their wellbeing at work will help make them feel appreciated in turn.
This will help remind them why your company is the best place for them - and highlighting your company values will make them buy into and feel like they're contributing to your company's ethos, too.
3. Help to develop leadership skills
Consider getting your team involved in the interview process for new hires as this develops new skills and can be a great way of including them in the hiring decision-making. It also sends a positive message about how you value the wider team’s input to any potential new hires.
You could also consider rotating responsibilities for chairing daily or weekly team meetings. Not only does this take the pressure off management having to do it all the time, it also gives your team an opportunity to develop new skills and feel involved.
4. Provide intuitive technology that enables success
Your team will likely want to spend more time prospecting, engaging with landlords, and doing viewings with good tenants.
An easy way to give them this time is to provide tools and technologies that remove time-consuming and menial admin such as having to hand-write application forms, re-key data into systems or manually send multiple emails that could be automated.
Intuitive tools like Goodlord can make lettings staff more productive and their roles more fulfilling.
5. Be up-front during the interview process
You need to make sure that you don't over-exaggerate earning potential. Give new hires an accurate picture of the company and the role.
Involving your team in the interview process has the added benefit of providing an opportunity for candidates to ask them open questions about what it’s like to work at the company.
6. Arrange regular and honest one-to-one meetings
These aren’t just a way for managers to track staff’s performance, they’re an opportunity to encourage employees to express their feelings, concerns and aspirations.
An honest and open discussion can sometimes reveal that a team member is dissatisfied, and enable you to quickly sort out issues that could have eventually led to their leaving.
7. Conduct proper exit interviews
Make sure time is taken by someone other than the departing employee’s line manager to conduct a thorough and honest exit interview.
Exit interviews help you to find out exactly why someone is leaving and can provide valuable insights into what you can do to retain staff in future.
The lettings market is clearly going through a period of change. Competition to win landlords is fierce. The agents that survive and thrive during this challenging period will be those that provide a differentiated level of service to customers. Retaining and motivating frontline staff is a crucial way of ensuring customer service levels remain high.