• Unlike agents, assistants spend most of every day in the office at their desks. Their work environment is key to their productivity -- so personalized office supplies, accessories and furniture can go a long way.
  • Another popular gift request for assistants centers on training and personal growth. Tickets to a conference are a big hit.
  • I would add one really important gift on the list: a handwritten note of appreciation.

Parental leave, Zumba and Tony Robbins: What do these three things have in common?

Well, if you’ve been wondering what to get your real estate assistant or operations staff for the holidays — wonder no more! I asked some of the top operations folks around the country about their holiday wish list this year.

You might be surprised by what they said. Here’s a list to make your shopping a little easier (some of the ideas won’t even break the bank).

Office supplies and promo items

Branded items are popular: sticky notes, stationery, cell phone cases, golf shirts, etc.

You can even order inexpensive business cards and put a fun title on them, like “Lion Tamer,” “Wizard Behind The Screen” or “Kitten Wrangler.” I once gave my former assistant cards that said “Princess of Proofing.” (They were a hit, and I am sure she will find a typo in this post!)

Another really popular answer? Pens. Vice President of Operations Rebecca VanderKolk said: “My favorite pens with my name on them so they will be less likely to ‘borrow’ them. Yes I am VERY particular about my pens!”

Another operations manager commented: I took all my favorite pens home with me daily after 38 weeks of pregnancy. I didn’t want to risk going into labor and them all being gone after maternity leave!”

Training and personal growth

Another popular gift is centered on training and personal growth.

Agents often forget to include their operations staff when it comes to attending conventions, classes and other events. This is a mistake. Your business grows to the extent you do. And that includes your team.

Invest in your staff — both professionally and personally. Assistants were eager to receive tickets and flights to company conferences (KW Mega Camp was mentioned, while a ticket to a Tony Robbins event was a popular request).

Other suggestions were providing a business coach, paying for a personal trainer, giving a subscription to Inman Select or bringing assistants/staff with you to ICNY.

One asked for a gift card to take Zumba classes once a week.

Work environment

Unlike agents, assistants spend most of every day in the office at their desks. Their work environment is uber important to their productivity, efficiency and mindset. Here are some things you could give or do to crank it up a notch:

  • A stand-up desk
  • Massage chair (Director of Operations Tawnya Mosgrove said, “We recently got two heated massage chairs for our office and they are amazing!”)
  • Flexibility to work from home one day per week
  • More vacation
  • An office with a door
  • A yoga ball chair

On my team, we give unlimited vacation and have a super flexible schedule. As long as the job gets done and the agent doesn’t get the job back — it’s up to each admin to schedule when and how they work. Today’s technology makes this super easy to do.


And, of course, money was on the list. Bonuses, shopping sprees, gift cards, cold hard cash, you name it.

Here’s my favorite Facebook exchange that came about when I asked what was on peoples’ holiday wish list:

Realtor: Can u answer this and make it easy for me?

Assistant: Money

R: How much should I give u?

A: Hahaha, idk….

R: U are going to sign my name on the check anyway

A: Lol very true

The most thoughtful opportunity

I would add one really important gift on the list: a handwritten note of appreciation.

Write something specific and meaningful. Your assistant may appreciate that more than any of the items listed above.

The real estate assistant role has a huge turnover rate. The reasons for that would make a whole separate post, but one thing you can do to retain talent is show your gratitude and make your staff members’ lives easier. Now you know how.

Happy holidays!

Christy Belt Grossman is the chief operating officer at The Belt Team, Keller Williams Realty. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Email Christy Belt Grossman.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription