The Cycle of Performance Management

No matter who it is you are leading – an assistant, sales team, PM department or the whole agency – you have a critical role to play in the success of others, which of course impacts your own bottom line. Tony Rowe from MRT outlines his four step process to ensure top performance from everyone.

All team members who play a part in a business almost always rely on the directions given to them by those further up the tree. As a leader you also need to recognise that a certain level of engagement in the task at hand, and in the business as a whole, is important to avoid boredom and detachment.
Managing performance to KPIs is important. The more skilled and experienced a person becomes in a particular role, the more they will need to remain engaged; so it’s important that as a leader you understand where everyone is and where they want to go.

What I’d like to suggest as a way of ensuring engagement by the staff is the following four-step process:

  1. Set and agree task targets
  2. Monitor the performance carefully
  3. Manage any variations regularly
  4. Review, revise and reset those targets as required

Let’s look at each of these steps in a bit more detail.

Whether we’re talking about the star salesperson, the trainee property officer, receptionist, tradesperson or contractor, the specific job performance expectations should be clearly understood and agreed. This could be in an employment contract, job description or a work order, but it should be in writing and must be agreed and accepted by both parties.

Your agency would not take on a property management or sale without a written agreement, and the same should apply to dealing with staff and contractors.

Of course, there’s room for negotiation in any such arrangement to meet individual requirements.

Clearly understood and agreed task targets provide measurement parameters for subsequent steps. This then leaves no room for disagreement over performance achievement and allows reward and recognition opportunities to be scientific in their analysis and delivery.

Some examples of targets might be prospecting calls made, property appraisals, listing presentations, appraise/list conversion ratio, inspections, landlord/tenancy issues resolved, time on market, sales completed and leases signed, to name a few.

Performance reviews should happen regularly and often – and be based on the parameters set in step 1.
The stage markers and performance indicators, if agreed at commencement, provide that independent, scientific information to demonstrate whether the performance has matched the promise, and these are the numbers that matter for both you and your employee.

Whether the agreed targets are met, exceeded, or missed, it is important to understand the reasons for that result. It may well be explainable and justified; it may require the targets to be adjusted up or down.

Knowing the whys and wherefores of the actual results allows the manager to encourage peak performance by the individual and team, take any remedial action that may be necessary to assist skill development at either individual or team level, or simply to recognise, applaud and reward results.
Opportunities for skill development should obviously be identified at this stage, and action plans put in place for the improvement which can be planned and agreed as part of this phase.

‘Review, revise and reset’ should be a manager’s mantra when it comes to targets for individuals and teams within the business, as well as for the business itself. It’s a numbers game and the targets should be consistently and constantly under review – daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, biannually and annually.

Statistics should be what drives a real estate business. There are, of course, other factors in the success of a property business, but the numbers provide the foundation for the rest of the functions.

Understanding motivation and skill levels of employees is a lot like knowing the motivations of vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants – they are all different. Being able to capture the motivations and encourage the excitement for the benefit of the business is well worth the effort – all the way to the bottom line!

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Tony Rowe

Tony Rowe is the CEO of TT Rowe and Co, a compliance, education and training consultancy providing specialist advice to the property industry in Australia.