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4 tips to keep agent relationships strong through expansion

by James F. McClister

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More business means growth, and in real estate, where the harder you work the more you make, brokerages, offices and even individual agents have a tendency to look beyond their current stations to bigger and better things – namely, expansion. Growth is good – but it can stress the relationships you have with your agents.

According to survey data from Virgin Pulse, 60 percent of employees say in order to love their jobs, they need a good relationship with their employer. Here are a few tips for maintaining relationships with your agents while expanding:

  1. Check your superiority complex – If you’re in a position where this article is relevant to you, then it’s likely you’re in a position of some authority. Impose your authority when it’s necessary, but don’t hold your position over your team, especially when you’re onboarding new members.
  2. Show respect and responsibility – In a Forbes opinion piece written by long-time entrepreneur and current Chief Executive of Fishbowl, David K. Williams, he explains that two of the five tenets of building “lifelong relationships” with employees are responsibility and respect. “Employees want to know they are respected as people and that their contributions are appreciated,” he wrote. And he’s right. In an annual survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, “respectful treatment” proved the No. 1 contributor to job satisfaction at every level. Evren Esen, who’s in charge of the society’s survey programs, said: “Feeling appreciated for their time and efforts creates a bond between employees, management and their organizations.” One of the most effective ways of showing respect as a leader is responsibility – both taking it for yourself and giving it to your agents. “Encourage them to gain new skills, competencies and capacities,” Williams added, suggesting the sign of trust will empower employees and strengthen relationships.
  3. Communicate openly – In a survey from 15Five, only 15 percent of employees admitted to being “very satisfied” with the quality of communication in their respective workplaces, and only 15 percent believe their managers “highly value” their feedback. CEO of 15Five David Hassell believes most companies have room to improve when it comes to communication. “If teams aren’t communicating with honesty, clarity and respect, then their companies won’t thrive,” he said. “Finding ways to bridge generational divides, encouraging honest feedback, and improving transparency will go a long way to boosting productivity, morale, and profits.”
  4. Show some appreciation – They’re called growing pains for a reason. Expansion puts a strain on resources, people and relationships. Taking the time to show your agents and team that you value their contributions and efforts is the simple step that takes you a mile. Last year, SHRM and Globoforce released their Employee Recognition Report, and in it, a survey of human resource managers found that with values-based recognition, 90 percent said it positively impacted employee engagement; 68 percent said it positively impacted retention; and 66 percent said it helped build a stronger “employment brand” – which is what you’ll want if you’re hoping to bring on additional top producers to fill out your team.

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