Beyond targets: Keeping and motivating employees in the real estate industry

March 28, 2018 | Thought Pieces


The real estate industry is known to focus more on land and buildings rather than people. But as the sector grows and presents more opportunities for expansion, companies are recognizing just how vital their employees are to their success. With much of their business dependent on referrals and positive reviews, real estate companies must offer excellent client service in order to retain their existing customers and attract new ones. Agents who give their clients an effortless experience contribute not only to company sales but to their branding as well, thus giving their company an edge over their many competitors.

As the demand for employees with exceptional sales and customer service skills increases, real estate companies risk losing their key talents to employers from different sectors. They must then double down on their workforce strategy and ensure that they address the challenges affecting the satisfaction and growth of their people.

Reducing employee turnover

The Philippines Statistics Authority reported an increase of the industry’s accession rate from 5.01% in the third quarter of 2016 to 8.42% in the second quarter of 2017; however, more than half of the new hires were replacement employees, not a result of business expansion. Employees were five times more likely to resign on their own decision, which indicates that companies lose talents they may have wanted to keep. The responsibility falls on human resources to better understand their workforce and give them compelling reasons to stay.

Managing employees in multiple locations

The industry’s high-stress environment and steep learning curve make retention a struggle for real estate companies,and the mobility of their workforce adds to the challenge. Employees work in different locations, requiring companies to explore creative ways to keep them engaged despite the distance. They need to create a central avenue for their employees to interact, whether in the office or outside it, and to increase their efforts to make everyone feel included and valued.

Motivating beyond traditional monetary rewards

Agents are primarily driven by the prospect of commissions to supplement their minimal salary. Companies rarely offer non-financial incentives, yet these have been proven to influence employee satisfaction and motivation even more than financial rewards do. In some cases, these cost employers less as well.

Popular non-cash rewards include praise from managers, leadership roles, and growth opportunities. To appeal to different generations of employees, companies can consider offering flexible working schedules and allow them to choose rewards relevant to them. It is also important for managers to properly communicate the relationship between employee performance and their rewards, particularly when giving cash incentives.

Encouraging recognition in addition to rewards

Often, recognition and rewards are few and limited only to top performers. Companies focus solely on performance and fail to recognize effort, even when it comes to excellent client servicing. The emphasis on hitting sales targets can be an extra source of stress and dissatisfaction for employees. Multiple studies show that recognition is one of the easiest yet most overlooked strategies in motivating employees. Managers should give their team members constant, timely feedback on their performance and encourage peer-to-peer affirmation both within and outside their teams. By building a culture of recognition, employers not only increase their people’s sense of being valued, they also boost productivity, engagement, and company loyalty.

Allowing people to grow in the company

Some employees set their sights on climbing up their company’s hierarchy and earn additional incentives, while others simply want to gain as much work experience and knowledge as they can. Employers need to provide opportunities for their people to expand their skills and map out their career development within the company, especially when it comes to talents who show leadership potential. By aligning their individual growth with business goals, employers encourage them to stay in their company longer.

The importance of people extends beyond their sales contributions to the company’s overall productivity. Real estate companies should give their employees the same exemplary customer service they expect them to extend to their clients, making their experience as engaging and rewarding as it can be.


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