Virtual open houses, digital closings, conversations from behind face masks — what productivity looks like for real estate agents this summer covers new terrain for all of us. All June, Inman surveys the New Productivity: the tools, skills and insights needed to make it work now.
Onboarding new agents and staff is essential for running a successful real estate team. Training provides agents the time to learn your systems, best practices and fully understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.
Implementing an onboarding program will not only increase productivity, but also generate great agent habits and work ethic from the very beginning. We’ve outlined key benefits and tips for a successful team onboarding.
The 30-day plan
Putting together an onboarding program specific to your team will help new members feel a sense of structure during the overwhelming period of starting a new job. Creating a 30-day plan will allow time to successfully learn the role, understand the team culture, future goals and expectations.
Take time to outline a schedule for the new member, especially in the first few weeks. The first two weeks should be structured for learning main systems, technology, the business plan and ins and outs of the role.
We recommend appointing a team mentor for one-on-one check-ins. That person could also serve as a go-to source for any questions new agents might have while learning the ropes of the job. Also, make sure to set aside time for the new member to meet with people in your organization who can provide further training support in marketing, social media, IT and more.
It’s also important to create a plan that evolves with your business. We initially created an onboarding “manual” with key processes and business information. We quickly learned that this item was extremely valuable for all members of our team, so since then, we’ve kept it up to date in real time for better overall structure and operations.
All to say, creating a dedicated onboarding program for new employees will provide the foundation needed to thrive as a whole.
When an individual joins our team, it’s crucial for them to fully comprehend our team structure and be trained across all areas of the business. If a member of our team is sick or is taking a well-deserved vacation, cross-training allows for another member to successfully step in and handle another agent’s duties.
Even if it’s not a part of their daily tasks, when onboarding an agent, provide a comprehensive overview and 101 on general business practices.
For example, every member of our team has a general knowledge of contracts. They can also manage all internal systems and programs, execute marketing and social media and know how to do a property showing and open house. Cross-training is essential for our business and allows us all to be agile and fluid.
Ensuring the perfect fit
Onboarding can also serve as a trial to see if a new member is both a professional and cultural team fit. During our training process, we can quickly determine if a new member has a similar work ethic to the rest of the team as well as the level of experience and local market knowledge necessary.
A big mistake teams make is hiring staff that don’t meet these general qualities and failing to train them up to your team’s standards. Another oversight we see is when teams hire friends or bring in interns. This isn’t always in the best interest of your team or long-term business. An inexperienced person can make costly mistakes.
It’s important to remember each person you hire is a representation of your team. Make sure they are trained in all the aspects that make your team successful.
Post-onboarding, a big blunder teams make is losing the connection and foundation they worked so hard to build at the start. As the team transitions, make sure to maintain team structure and communication. Keeping each team member in the loop will serve well in each step — from the launch of a listing all the way to closing.
We do this by ensuring all members are cc’d on every email. We’ve also created a text message group where we communicate all day long. Rather than relying on emails, encourage your team to reach out with a quick call, text or by using an instant messaging platform like Slack. This allows for constant and more efficient communication.
Encouraging an open communication stream from the start leads to less mistakes and quality control.