Onboarding can mean the difference between an agent staying for the long haul or using your business as a stepping stone. Here’s how we built out our onboarding process amid rapid growth.

In today’s virtual, work-from-home environment, agents are seeking training and coaching in entirely new ways. In August, we’re laser-focused on what defines good coaching today and how to get the most out of it.

When you’re experiencing growth, a welcoming onboarding process is a must. In fact, there are a number of statistics that prove that onboarding new team members is one of the most crucial processes a company can build.

This Business Wire article shows that companies with a strong onboarding experience increased new hire retainment by 82 percent and production by 70 percent.

In the past 12-14 months, our company has gone from 12 agents to 34, and all but four are seasoned and producing agents. Last September, we started to see that we were going to need to build an onboarding process to handle the influx of agents.

I once read that a good onboarding process can make the difference between a new hire’s thought process of “I’m going to be at this place for a while” as opposed to a negative onboarding experience where the new team member would think, “this is just a stepping stone.”  

Knowing this, we wanted to build out a very welcoming process for our new agent recruits. Here’s how we did that.

1. Create a welcome video

I started with a video, introducing myself to new team members and letting them know that my door is always open. In the past, agents were reluctant to call or reach out to me. So, to avoid making this mistake again, I created a video introduction because I wanted them to know that, first and foremost, they could always come to me with any questions and concerns.

2. Use videos to help get them acclimated

My office manager meets with the agent in person (or through Zoom, as it is right now) and goes through a very broad and short list of the systems we use. We also let them know that they will be going through a Trello checklist that outlines the systems we use with video tutorials that are housed in our Workplace by Facebook account. 

We lined out a Trello board with a series of checklists that outlined technologies, services, meetings and procedures.

We start by saying, “We don’t expect these videos to teach you everything you need to know to operate our software, but it does give you familiarity with the programs so that when we meet with you after the onboarding list is complete, you will be more familiar with the programs.”

Then, we launch a series of videos for each technology piece. For example, one Trello board item might be a checklist of several short videos showing the CRM. And because these videos are housed in our Workplace by Facebook account (I believe Slack does much of the same), they can be referenced again and again by simply searching for them. 

3. Ask newbies to introduce themselves to the team

We are big proponents of video here at Spyglass Realty. So, as one of the final steps in the onboarding process, we ask the agent to complete a live video on Workplace introducing themselves to the rest of the brokerage. It sets the stage that video will be used and engages the rest of the team to send a welcome message. 

4. Ask for feedback

We ask agents to send us feedback about the onboarding process, which we take very seriously. 

5. Set up an agent development meeting

Our last step is setting up our first agent development meeting. This is where we look at the goals they want to accomplish. We let them know what weekly activities they need to complete to accomplish these goals and what systems, training and services are available from our firm to help them. This is like the cherry on top.

The result of all of this is that our agents feel truly welcomed. They recognize that we are a professional and organized team that puts agents’ needs at the top of our list of priorities. If you have not outlined an onboarding process, I would recommend you take the time to think about your processes and implement one.

Ryan Rodenbeck is the broker-owner of Spyglass Realty and Investments in Austin. Connect with him on Instagram. 

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