The Top Two Reasons People Leave (And How to Avoid Them)

Keys to Retaining Your Best PeopleJudy 1

By Real Estate Recruiting Coach Judy LaDeur

The top two reasons people leave their jobs – is lack of recognition and a poor working environment.

Here’s the truth:  Negative agents can scare off every customer they speak with, for good. Which means that how your agents feel about the company has a direct impact on your profitability.

Did you know?

  • 65% of Americans received no recognition in the workplace last year.
  • 9 out of 10 people say they are more productive when they’re around positive people.

There is a great quote in the book: Open Your Big, Bold, Beautiful Mouth by Alphonso Belin and A.J. Polizzi that says, “The highest achievable level of service comes from the heart, so the company that reaches its people’s hearts will provide the very best service.“

The Keys to Retaining Your Best People

Having a good time is the best motivator there is.  When people feel good about a company, they produce more.  In a recent study of more than 1,500 employees in scores of work settings by Dr. Gerald H. Graham, professor of management at Wichita State University, the most powerful motivator was personalized, instant recognition from their managers.  “Managers have found,” Graham adds, “that simply asking for employee involvement is motivational in itself.”

Graham’s study determined the top motivating techniques:

1. The manager/owner personally congratulates those who do a good job

2.  The manager/owner writes personal notes about good performances

3.  The organization used performance as the basis for promotion

4.  The manager/owner holds morale-building meetings to celebrate successes

People today are looking for much more than a paycheck.  They want to be treated like human beings.  That may sound obvious, but a lot of employers and managers still don’t get it.

Here are some great examples of ways to make your team feel appreciated, valued, and recognized: 

When employees at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California, hit their goals, they ring a large brass bell.  Why not put a bell in the office and let the agents ring it when they get a listing or sale?

The Pinellas County, FL public school administrative offices have designated a small area where employees can drop off clothing for dry cleaning in the morning.  A local dry cleaner picks it up and returns it by the end of the workday.  Many real estate offices offer this service to their agents as well. It does not cost you anything but offers a great service to busy agents

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics said, “Every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’  If you can do that, you’ll be a success not only in business but in life as well.” She was known for the way she made people feel. Did you know that when she was talking to people, she kept eye contact with them the entire time, even though people around her were always trying to get her attention?Check yourself – when you are speaking to a team member, are you REALLY present?  Are you checking your phone? On the computer?  Distracted?  One of the easiest (and free) ways to making someone feel valued is giving them your undivided attention when you are speaking to them.  Listening, more than speaking.  Eye contact.  Handshakes.  It all matters!

During the busiest times of the year, executives at the Cigna Group, personally push coffee carts around the office, serving drinks and refreshments to their frontline partners.  As they serve, the executives coach and encourage their colleagues as well as hear about real consumer issues from those who know customer concerns the best.  Consider ‘open office’ hours where agents can come in to speak with you at any time.  Make the rounds at least once a week and check in with each and every member of your team.  Find out how their week is, if they have any needs, questions, or great news to share. Even 10-15 minutes of your day once a week can make a huge difference in building and sustaining those relationships.

Herb Kelleher, CEO and co-founder of Southwest Airlines, has discovered that by becoming personally involved in the workplace, and in the jobs that his employees do, he can unleash a tremendous amount of energy among his workers.  For example, Kelleher often helps flight attendants serve beverages to customers when he flies on his airline.  Get hands on.  Ask what you can do to make an agent’s week go smoother.  Help with a difficult client.  Celebrate a win. Offer a little coaching.

At Hewitt Associates, new employees are made to feel special. “I joined the firm about six months ago as a writer/consultant in New Jersey,” said a new-hire. “I was surprised at the level of detail that had gone into the preparation for my arrival.  One of the more experienced writers left a welcome note on my desk, along with a ‘survival kit’ (including a candy bar)…and everybody came by my office to personally welcome me to the team.  For the first two weeks or so, every day somebody made a point to stop by and ask me to lunch.”  What Type of reception do your new agents get when they join? Are their names on a welcome sign as they come in?  Do you leave a special welcome gift for their first day?  Do you encourage other team members to make them feel welcome?  Do you send out press releases or share kudos for them on your site and social media?

Here are some great ways to show you care:

  • Call an agent into your office just to thank him or her; don’t discuss any other issue
  • Post a thank-you note on the agent’s phone
  • Volunteer to do an agent’s least desirable work task for a day
  • Have the President of the company or the regional manager call an agent to thank him or her for a job well done
  • Have someone wash the agents’ cars in the parking lot during lunch
  • Carry a supply of cards with you and as you ‘catch people doing something right,’ immediately write ‘thanks,’ ‘good job,’ ‘keep it up’ and what they specifically did in two to three words.  Put the person’s name on the card and sign it
  • Have lunch or coffee with a group of agents that you don’t normally see.

In the book, The Leadership Pill, Blanchard and Muchnick explain profit this way: “Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for people.”  As brokers your ‘customers’ are your agents.  Create an environment where they can be creative. Collaborative.  Respected.  Valued.  Cared About.  When you do? You’ll see your team flourish and grow in the best possible ways.

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