Connells furloughs majority of estate agency teams – but pays 100% salary and commission

Connells has confirmed that the majority of staff in their c.600 branches have been furloughed, and apparently will be paid their full salaries and commissions through April and May.

A statement by the company says:

“The majority of our estate agency teams are now on furlough as the high street and property market have gone into stasis.  We retain a skeleton staff to oversee and maintain our estate and infrastructure, delivering customer service, support and communications where needed, and utilising our centralised branch support team who are working remotely.

“We are making use of the Government’s furlough scheme to protect our business and safeguard all jobs for the long term and, to help those affected over and above the scheme, Connells Group has decided to pay furloughed colleagues 100% of their basic salary and their commission throughout both April and May.

“We continue to support our colleagues as best we can during this difficult time, and we look forward to when we can all be back to work together and when we can physically re-open our branch doors for business again.”

 

Companies furloughing staff may find useful a new online communication tool launched by workforce management company, Talon.

The Rehire Project enables organisations to update the staff they’ve had to furlough or lay off with news posts and status updates on company progress and rehiring prospects during this time. Keeping all comms in one secure place, it’s a way of keeping these staff members engaged in a streamlined way.

It also delivers automated check-ins for the company to monitor availability and commence rehiring instantly when business picks up.

The Rehire Project is free for small businesses, charities and the public sector, with larger organisations paying a nominal fee to help support the service for all users. Any profit made during the crisis will be donated to the NHS Charities COVID-19 Urgent Appeal and the World Health Organisation.

https://www.rehireproject.com/

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21 Comments

  1. MichaelDay

    Great leadership that will, rightly, get Connells positive PR and will be great for retention and recruitment in the future.

    No panicking or knee jerk reaction but a well considered plan.

    One of the reasons they can do this is that they are a highly successful player in “normal” market conditions. Sadly, some of the other “major” players have seen the situation as an opportunistic one to “clean up” their businesses which, in some cases are simply performing so poorly that they would be unable to take the action Connells are, even if they wanted to.

    Of course, depending on the way the pandemic pans out there may have to be more draconian measures implemented in the future but I applaud them.

     

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    1. JohnJames

      Certainly a far nicer move than Spicer Haart made

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  2. Industrycommentator

    Strong leadership skills being shown here – by people who are estate agents and understand it. Great to see. Watch others with huge debts to service shed staff by the hundreds as even with govt help, they will be defaulting in 5/6 months time as cash flow will not be there. Landscape changes coming up.

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  3. smile please

    Nicely done.

    Mr Smith, take note. This is what a good employer and class looks like.

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  4. Whaley

    Connells , staying classy . Well done guys

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  5. J1

    This goes to show that they have been managing their cash superbly well, unlike many regional and other corporate agents who have taken the furlough route…..oh and miserable Premier League clubs too…..

    Well done Connells

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  6. TheEstateAgent

    Where as Countrywide furloughed the majority of their workforce, told them they would be paid 80% of their gross February pay and then had to rather embarrassingly tell them that they got it wrong and it would only be 80% of their basics.

    Shows the difference in class.

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    1. Andymoc82

      CWD furlough is not paying 80% of the minimum wage. Most of their staff are on below the minimum wage and then their commission and bonus is used to bring the rate up to the minimum wage. Therefore the staff will only get 80% of approx £7.21 to £7.60 per hour. Scandalous situation. Also withholding the commission owed.

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  7. PB62

    Many agents talk about the importance of looking after their most valuable asset, staff.  Few demonstrate it.  Well done Connells.

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  8. majortom1

    Connells with a high level of cash in the bank built up over many decades its definitely  the right thing to do. To support all those in probabtion as well is pretty decent.No redundancies at this time with what is looming for H2 2020 is quite remarkable but its here in B and W.

    Good luck.

     

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  9. Secretagent389

    Classy move Connells! I’m sure their staff will be really grateful that they won’t have the stress of wondering how they will pay their bills and feed their families at this dreadful time. Shame the big dogs at Countrywide didn’t follow suit and have furloughed most of their staff on 80% of basic wages, no commission and definitely no topping up to 100%…..shameful

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    1. whatdoiknow58

      Totally agree with your comments. Anyone at CWD with any class who sat at or near the top table either left or were booted out years ago so no real surprise at all. With a 95 million pound debt to the Banks over their heads and zero prospect of that reducing anytime soon they don’t have the money to top up the extra 20% even if they had wanted too. No sign of the BODS taking 80% of their salary yet so don’t hold your breath on that one either…. that’s the real shame.

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  10. TC1

    Belvoir take note, this is how it’s done.

    Well done Connells

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  11. Tornado

    As I understand it the only two businesses to still honour 100% of commission payments whilst employees are furloughed are Connells and Spicerhaart. Whilst there has been criticism I can only commend this action and wished others had followed suit. Fair to say that there might not be much commission to pay but nonetheless when the company receives the income the employee should receive it as well……anything will help in these desperate times!

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    1. SoldPal90

      Correct Tornado.

      All agencies should be honouring any commission payments on sales agreed prior to any furloughing.  Commission in arrears is exactly that.  Pay already earned, so long as the completion invoice offered is settled in full.

      It is the employer who cannot claim the commission back from the CVJRS.

       

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  12. wellyboots

    Shame there has been such a rush to cut salaries to the minimum level of the government support.  This effectively means the employers are paying nothing out of their own pockets to keep their key assets on retainer.

    Would have thought even the most cash strapped employer could have offered something towards making up the difference – say 10% or something.   If it is cashflow that is the issue, then maybe have the 20% element deferred, but even saying that, most businesses have been given access to funds to assist over this period.

    Just think – if they had to lay people off, the redundancy costs would be weeks and weeks of full pay for each staff made redundant.  The bosses dodged a bullet there, didn’t they?

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    1. New Hinksey

      I don’t think you have read the article or you are commenting on other companies? Connells have committed to top up to 100% and pay the commissions that are due in April and May.

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      1. wellyboots

        I’m tallking about the others who rushed to cut salariesI commend Connells completely Sorry for any confusion about that!
         

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        1. SoldPal90

          Connels should, along with all companies pay any commission due not just for April and May but moving forwards as well.  So long as it is commission due.  Already earnt and paid to the Agent.
           
          It is the employer who is unable to claim back the commission.

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  13. Jonathan.Welford

    It’s great to see firms looking after their staff like this.

    I think some other firms will suddenly find themselves high and dry, being treated as a toxic employer after this crisis has been conquered.

    It takes a crisis like this to show good leadership and how firms have communicated in this challenging time.

     

     

     

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  14. Top Half

    Well done Connells Group. Staff will be feeling highly valued with the support offered , especially as the limited approach of so many becomes clear.

    Such a challenging time but to see so many firms banking income but refusing to pass on earned and banked variable pay will feel like real ‘commisery’…

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