IN LAST YEAR’S Elite Agent Reader Survey, many of you noted there were plans to grow the team in 2016. We all know this can be a challenge if you aren’t completely prepared. Experienced recruiter Virginia Brookes looks at how to grow while keeping team morale high.
Some of the most common phrases we hear are ‘I’m thinking of putting on new staff but I’m not sure if I’m quite ready’, and ‘Once I put them on, how do I keep them?’
So when do you know you are ready to grow your team, and how do you keep them once you have them?
Firstly you need to look at the pressure your team is under. Do you have lots of sick days in your office because people just need a break, or are you seeing a high staff turnover? Do you have most of your team working huge hours? Are they starting to feel unmotivated because their workloads are too large?
I think that it is time to put on new staff members when you can see your staff working at almost full capacity. You don’t want them to reach full capacity, as that’s when you lose them or performance starts to drop drastically; so identify that you could have an issue before you have one.
Are you starting a new marketing campaign that you know is going to bring you in a tonne more work and hopefully a large amount of new business? Then employ staff and get them trained up before the project launches and it becomes too busy. If you are still unsure, then why not employ a temp or a contractor? By engaging this person to take over some of the workload you will soon realise whether they are needed long-term and whether it is adding value to your business, or if it is still too soon to engage someone on a more permanent basis.
When businesses are performing at strong and consistent levels, as well as employing more staff to facilitate growth, it is important to look after the staff you already have and keep morale in the office strong and high. This will ensure that they love coming to work each day and that every one of them feels that they are an important part of your business.
- Always celebrate their wins and milestones; stop and have a cake for their birthdays (in our office you actually have your birthday off: it’s your special day, so go and enjoy it!). Celebrate and recognise achievements, send an email to the entire office, give vouchers out for exceeding expectations, and so on.
- Support new ideas. No one likes to have their suggestions ignored or disregarded, so listen to each one seriously and give feedback on why it may or may not work. Engage with their suggestions; after all, they are living their role day in day out, and their ideas may in fact be better than yours.
- Have clear expectations on what is required for the role on an ongoing basis. The fastest way to disengage someone is to penalise them for not meeting an expectation they were unaware of.
- Be flexible. Today, people are more contactable than ever before, so just because someone has left the office at 5.30 it does not mean that their day finishes there. Some of our deals are done at 8pm at night! If you know someone is doing more than their fair share and they need some time to get to hairdressers, doctors and so on during work time, don’t penalise them. You risk creating a nine-to-five environment which could dilute productivity in the long term.
- Make it fun! You spend more time at work with your work colleagues than you spend with anyone else, so as well as making it a workplace make it a fun environment. Maybe you could all sit together once a week and have lunch; don’t talk shop, just shoot the breeze. Arrange for everyone to leave the office at 5pm and have a social drink together from time to time. If everyone is performing well, organise a team event – dinners, days out and so on.
Keeping morale high will ensure peak productivity, and a team that has fun together stays together!