How and Why to Invest in Your Team
Investing money back into your business to fund marketing, growth, and upgrades is vital, but shouldn’t take precedence over investing in your most valuable asset: your staff. Expensive advertising and office-fronts won’t keep your agency thriving if your employees lack the skills and confidence to deliver high-quality service.
Retaining the Best Staff
“One of the big reasons to invest in your crew is so they’ll stay with you,” says Katie Knight, Owner of RE/MAX Success. “You want to have people who are the best at what they do working for you.”
Investing time, energy, and money into your staff has two profound effects. Firstly, they’re going to feel appreciated and capable in their role, which keeps workers inspired and encourages them to stay with the company. Reduced staff turnover saves both time and money on recruiting and training new staff. It also keeps productivity high, as staff are familiar with the existing structures, processes, marketing methods, etc.
The second upside of invested staff is a high-performing team. Agents who are kept at the top of their game through consistent professional development and have measures in place to prevent burnout are agents who will perform highly. Of course, everyone still has their slow months, but continued training and up-skilling can greatly minimise productivity dips.
“We really want them to grow and develop, because the more depth in an employee, the more value they’re going to bring to your business,” says Knight.
Ways to Invest
Investing in your staff goes beyond sending them off to annual training days and hoping for the best. For Knight and her team, it’s a constant process. “We have weekly sessions with our property managers, monthly training with our admin team, and fortnightly meetings with our sales agents – the training isn’t the same for everyone,” she explains. “We also work with external agencies like the REIQ, and do specific training with contractors who come to our business to teach us about various things.”
In addition to continued professional development and training, Knight also takes measures to reduce staff burnout and fatigue. In addition to annual leave, each of her staff members are entitled to a paid day of leave once every two months, which Knight calls an inspiration day. Rather than using these days to run errands or attend training, staff are encouraged to spend the day doing something which inspires them. This might be a hike, a beach day, an art course, or anything else that might reinvigorate a hard-working team member.
Taking the time to sit down with staff who are struggling is another worthwhile investment. Knight says some of the warning signs of a disenfranchised worker include a lack of interaction with teammates and a withdrawal from participation in meetings.
“To me, that suggests they aren’t engaged, or something outside the workplace is distracting them,” she continues. “It would be either a team leader or myself who reaches out to check if everything’s okay, and to see what they feel would make the difference to them. Sometimes as business owners or team leaders we believe we know the best path for our employees, but that isn’t always the case.”
Establishing a relationship conducive to openness can’t wait until disengagement has set in. “Having regular contact with your team and being really open makes a big difference,” says Knight. “If they feel comfortable to come and have a conversation, then you’re likely to get the best from them.”
When it comes to getting the best from your team, it starts with giving them the best support you can. As Knight knows from experience, there’s no silver bullet to team management and performance. It requires a robust combination of ongoing training, emotional investment, and, when needed, a redoubling of efforts. Give your team the tools they need to succeed, and they’ll give your business every chance to do the same.