Elite Agent

Revive 2017 Round Table Series: Queensland

Elite Agent is following the Revive 2017 Wellness and Wellbeing Round Table Series tour as it makes it’s way across four of Australia’s capitals. The was at the brand new REIQ House in Queensland yesterday, and with only one more stop to go in Sydney today, we look at some of the ideas for wellness initiatives that can help create well-beings in your office. 

Round Table: Three
Location: Queensland
Who: Marieanne Dyer (Psychologist, Inspire Health), Rachel Byrne (Jean Brown Properties), Scott Lachmund (Richarson & Wrench), Zac McHardy (Raine & Horne), Felicity Moore (Media & Communications Manager – REIQ), Lisa McLean (Direct Connect), Ben Salm (brad bell), James Bell (brad bell), Stacey Holt (Real Estate Excellence), Steve Hodgson (McGrath), Antonia Mercorella (CEO – REIQ), Jet Xavier (Revive 2017 Project), Sarah Bell (Elite Agent and Revive 2017 Project).

Part of the extraordinary achievement of the round table series has been the collaboration of experience and insight across all sectors and gaining insight and ideas from every chair in a real estate business and from every tier of the industry. The delegates in Queensland were possibly the most diverse with input from Antonia Mercorella, as CEO of the REIQ, along with trainers, salespeople, business owners industry suppliers, property managers as well as input from Marianne Dyer, a psychologist with 20 years experience in clinical practice as well as a developing body of work in the new field of positive organisational psychology.

The unique blend of participant’s and their respective backgrounds made for lively deliberations. The round table agreed that there was a great need for initiatives in wellness and wellbeing with contributors opening up to some of their personal challenges in the front lines of real estate.

The Queensland round table had a stronger property management flavour with the addition of EPM Issue 9 Cover, Rachel Byrne, and Elite Agent Top 50 Industry Influencer, Stacey Holt, who highlighted the additional stresses that many property managers face such as exposure to trauma, death and domestic violence as par for the course.

The need for industry specific solutions was highlighted as discussions centred on some of the unique challenges that real estate agents face. Participants also discussed that the real estate industry seemed slow to move on some of the corporate health initiatives.

“It’s important for the industry to understand that wellbeing and wellness in the workplace is moving beyond the general environmental, health and fitness initiatives and into the mental and emotional realms which is going to require a new type of leadership,” said Jet Xavier, who is driving the initiative.

One of the prevalent themes from the round tables to date has been the narrative that in such a competitive industry where vulnerability isn’t a desirable brand message, talking about issues of wellness and well-being could be stigmatised as ‘weak’.

Ben Salm, whom some of you will remember from this year’s Transform #supersix, is a sales agent at brad bell who spent time in the Australian Army and toured overseas in combat operations offered an interesting perspective on the issue. Ben spoke about the training, focus and ongoing maintenance that mental health took in the army, and how important the Padre (or chaplaincy) program was for people who wanted to speak confidentially and without the danger of being ‘labelled’. (For those of you who mightn’t remember Ben, you may remember his Transform Random Act of Kindness Challenge Video about the organisation Mates 4 Mates – Ed.)

Lisa McLean from Direct Connect was able to offer some ideas from the ‘outside’ world and what initiatives are working in the corporate space which could be of use to real estate businesses. Lisa said, “I feel humbled to have been able to hear from the hearts of those in attendance. As a business, we take the emotional safety and wellbeing of those within our business and also our networks seriously and hope to add value and enrichment to this initiative.”

Here are some of the ideas for wellness and wellbeing initiatives that are low-cost and high-impact implementations for the mental and emotional safety of real estate workplaces, that have emerged from the series so far:

  • An office mental health first aid officer who is not necessarily the business owner but who have been educated and empowered to refer the person seeking help to the right external help and to maintain confidentiality;
  • A manual with ideas on how to run a wellness and wellbeing day in the office;
  • A mentorship, or mate-ship, program across Australia that pairs agents with each other – outside of their local competitors;
  • An on-boarding resource that explains the nature of the debit-credit and commission only lifestyle and how to cope with financial uncertainty when you are starting out in real estate; and
  • Awards for corporate citizenship and wellness/well-being related topics such as a Legacy Award instead of just financial/GCI and VPA focussed awards.

The Round Table Series includes sittings in Victoria and South Australia this week. Deliberations will continue in Sydney today.

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Sarah Bell

With a background in research and investigations, Sarah Bell married into the real estate industry in 2009 and has found a passion for both the business and its people.