For agents and teams looking to build their bench and expand their businesses, today’s employment landscape provides a previously unimaginable opportunity to hire top talent. Here are a few ways to make the most of it.

Avid sailors understand a fundamental fact — if they want to reach their destination, they need wind. While most modern sailboats come with a backup propulsion system, they are designed to thrive when the wind blows instead of being ingloriously pushed along by a small engine.

It’s the same for any business. When everything is going smoothly, there is a constant danger of falling into the doldrums of mediocrity. Entrepreneurs understand a basic fact: the time to make headway and capture territory is when the winds blow the strongest, and the meek are huddled in fear in the harbor.

COVID-19 is a gale-force wind that, while bringing chaos and devastation, is also the harbinger of massive opportunity. It’s no secret the hospitality sector has produced top talent for the real estate industry for years.

With restaurant, hotel and travel businesses being hit the hardest, many are out seeking new employment opportunities. Additionally, with remote working gaining increasing acceptance, you can hire personnel from almost anywhere.

Our team has members in numerous cities, some in different counties, others who live in different states and four who reside in different countries. It’s a new world with endless possibilities, and those who leverage this opportunity can hire for growth and topgrade their existing bench. Here are our top three tips for capturing top talent in this new reality.

1. Start with your vision

Workers look for jobs; talent looks for opportunities. Workers are motivated by a paycheck, while talent is fueled by a challenging vision. In his book, Organization 21C: Someday All Organizations Will Lead This Way, Subir Chowdhury states, “The main difference between talents and knowledge workers is that talents break the rules, create, initiate, invent, direct, and send — talents take initiative, they are proactive. Knowledge workers, in general, do not. Knowledge workers take orders.”

Given the choice between the two, I always look for talent first. This means I need to be able to paint a large enough vision to capture their imaginations. The logical precursor to this is making sure your mission, vision, values, beliefs and practices (MVVBP) are concise, clearly stated and in a format you can readily share.

2. Follow with your organization

A number of years ago, while searching for help identifying the next steps to growth, we discovered the foundational book by Gary Keller, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. It introduced us to the MREA organizational model, which in turn provided us with the direction we needed to effectively grow a successful team.

Using the model, we established two organizational charts. The first was for where we were currently and the second for where we wanted to be in five years. Much like you put down railroad tracks before running a train, we have always hired personnel to provide the foundation for growth.

Having a comprehensive organizational chart in place gave us a crystal-clear road map that revealed what specific talent we needed next. This approach continues to not only highlight who we need next, it also helps clarify their job descriptions.

Once we have determined who we need, then it is a simple matter of engaging the various systems for finding recruits, including word-of-mouth, local networks, employment portals, headhunters, advertising into our database and so on.

As potential talent responds, we run them through an extensive interview process to make sure they not only have the skillset we are looking for, but more importantly, if they’re are a cultural fit. The process also gives them ample opportunity to ensure we are the type of organization they want to be a part of.

3. Finish with your passion

While our MVVBP outlines who we are and how we function as an organization, the real heart of who we are — our passion — flows from our tagline, “Changing the world one home at a time.”

We have a passion for transforming lives. Not only are our clients impacted when we help them realize their real estate and wealth-building goals, a part of every commission goes into a fund that supports organizations providing fresh starts for those needing help both locally and abroad. Our passion is to provide hope, and it drives everything we do.

We always end with passion, because we want it to be top-of-mind at the end of the interview. Additionally, it hits at the heart of our culture and, at the end of the day, while we are always looking for talent, in our world, culture trumps talent every time. If given a few seconds, we can all think of massively talented sports individuals who never achieved their full potential personally or for their team because they refused to embrace the team culture.

For those concerned about funding new hires, culturally cohesive talents usually earn their own way within three months. If you’ve hired the correct people, you won’t need to push, coax and prod them — they will be chomping at the bit to get going on their own.

Empower them to succeed, ensure they embrace your MVVBP, establish clear lines of accountability and directionality, and then get out of their way. Coach as necessary, provide exemplary tools, augment with ongoing training, and celebrate their successes.

On the other hand, hiring someone who may be a top talent but is not a cultural fit can leave a broad swath of destruction and blow a huge hole in your finances.

While not in any way diminishing the tragedy that has accompanied COVID-19, the coronavirus is a dark cloud with a silver lining for those who are capable of recognizing and seizing this opportunity. 

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.

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