The estate agency industry is at a crossroads.
Hybrid and online agents are increasing their market share and, while still accounting for a relatively small percentage of transactions, traditional high street agents cannot afford to ignore the new breed of challengers.
Without the deep pockets of the big corporates, independent estate agents, in particular, need to build strong teams if they are to up their game and compete.
The estate agency business can have a reputation for being a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog environment, not always unfairly.
Indeed, some agency bosses believe employees perform better if they are motivated by fear to make their targets.
But even in the tough market we face now, the workplace shouldn’t resemble a real-life Hunger Games.
Quite apart from anything else, it makes poor business sense.
Along with the star players, you need the steady, supportive, reliable individuals who hold the team together.
Successful companies – and those that are most sustainable long-term – are those where employees not only have the drive to succeed personally, but also have a team mentality.
This means stronger members of the team will support others to achieve their goals.
Each team member, whether secretary, negotiator or lister, brings something different to the table and treating each role as important is a critical part of your leadership role.
Another is to act as your team’s biggest cheerleader.
You might be surprised how a team mentality can flourish when employees truly believe their boss has their back.
It works on an individual level too, especially for shyer, quieter members of the team. (Rumour has it that such people do exist in estate agency).
There’s a corny saying in recruitment: Together Everyone Achieves More (or TEAM… I did warn you).
When adding a new team member to the mix it’s vital to know they are the right fit and will contribute towards achieving your overall goals.
Otherwise, they will simply drag everyone down and affect the overall performance of the team.
I’m not going to bring out my bus analogy again but suffice to say, if you build a great team, they will build a great business.
Don’t just take my word for it. A study by The Boston Consulting Group* revealed that recruiting is the most important human resources function when it comes to return on investment.
More than 4,000 respondents from 102 countries were surveyed to compare high-performing companies with low-performing ones in terms of 22 different people-management capabilities.
The study calculated the financial impact of each of the different HR functions and ranked them.
The findings? Companies that excelled in recruiting experienced 3.5 times more revenue growth than their less-capable peers. (On-boarding, retention and managing talent were the areas that had the next-biggest impacts).
Companies adept at hiring talent also had two times better profit margins than the less capable recruiters.
More than any other attribute, the ability to build a winning team is the hallmark of a good leader.
Productivity, culture and the bottom line all suffer when an ineffective leader hires badly or fails to nurture the team.
In my experience, when a leader does their job well, they create self-sustaining teams that could survive without them.
In fact, there’s a lot of truth in the old adage: “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”†
* Realizing the Value of People Management from Capability to Profitability, September 27, 2012
† Tom Peters