Keeping talented people engaged, happy and loyal should be a key focus for every leader. Here are the secrets to retention.

Retention rates in brokerages and teams are far more telling than recruiting abilities. Selling someone on joining your team is one thing; however, it is another thing entirely to keep them. As a rule of thumb, anything over a 7-8 percent annual turnover is an indication of a problem that costs you dearly. 

Keeping talented people engaged, happy and loyal should be a key focus and core competency for every team leader. Here are seven secrets to retain your truly best people.

1. Challenge them

Talented agents and staff have an inherent need to grow. In business, they want to develop greater market share. Personally, they want to have a better quality of life. Financially, they want to do more while spending less. Find ways to challenge them to keep them growing and developing.

2. Coach them

Roll up your sleeves, and get dirty. Talented agents and staff love to work with great leaders. On the flip side, great people have very low tolerance for bad leaders. The art of coaching is more about them than it is about you. 

You need to dig a bit to discover their deeper drives, goals and desires. More often than not, you will find these will grow out of their insecurities. Help them get to where they want to go, and they will stick with you.

3. Listen to them

Everyone on your team is important. Each person holds a unique perspective. Every individual has their areas of strength. Great leaders take the time to listen. Not just hear the words being spoken, but also the messages behind what is not being said.  

4. Involve them in decisions

The best teams are a true meritocracy. A place where the best ideas win regardless of whose idea it is. Good leaders encourage everyone to participate. Great leaders will seek out opportunities to involve each person on the team in key decisions.

5. Appreciate them

Appreciation is more important than money. Appreciation is fuel for people to go the extra mile. People who feel valued as part of the team don’t shop their options. 

6. Delight them  

Delight comes in those moment where our expectations are exceeded. I encourage team leaders all the time to under promise and overdeliver. Don’t tell someone you will give them a $5,000 bonus if they hit their goal. Instead, encourage them to hit their goal, and when they do, surprise them with a trip to a store or place they love, and spend $500 on them. You will get far more ROI on the unexpected trip than by throwing money at them.

7. Invest in shared memories

This is the true secret sauce for building loyalty. If you are going to an event, buy a couple extra tickets. Take your key agents with you. Off-campus time is where the personal relationships are anchored. 

Include your key agents’ “plus ones.” Building those shared memories is investing in long-term relationships. In Gallup’s research of hundreds of thousands of great managers, it found appropriately crossing the invisible business and personal lines was a common thread. Be purposeful and look for way to build shared memories.

As an industry, we focus so much of our time on recruiting, and it’s easy to forget the test of a team’s overall cultural health is seen in retention and turnover rates. Good people are the lifeblood of a successful company. Retaining your truly talented agents and staff is a competency all leaders need to master to continue to grow and thrive in an ever-competitive environment.

Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building. 

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