With fewer deals to go around, many markets experiencing a downshift and more agents than ever, it makes business sense to reach for the fundamentals. That’s why at Inman, we’re going Back to Basics with curated throwbacks to some of our most-read stories as well as new insights from agents in the field — all culminating in Inman’s Playbook for the Fall Market, a two-day virtual event that you should make plans to attend.
Here’s something important I’ve learned over the course of my career: Creating a vibrant company culture doesn’t just happen. It takes intention, strategy and a thoughtful approach to people, processes and communication.
This is an integral part of what I do in my role as president of The Agency, and it’s something I’m deeply passionate about. Great teams have great leaders, and these four morale-boosting tactics will help you be and create just that.
1. Build positive relationships
While building positive relationships, be sure to ensure each member of your team is in the role that fits their best and highest talents. This will not only lead to personal and professional fulfillment, but it will lead to a positive team environment and naturally increase productivity. Ultimately, people work harder when they love what they do.
When it comes to creating a positive culture, one of the worst things you can do for morale is fall out of touch. So, be intentional about connecting with your team members on a personal level. Stay up-to-date, check in with them, and keep track of what is going on with them personally.
Just showing them that you’re aware and you care is a huge gesture. Keep notes, schedule times to touch base, and ping them regularly. Ask questions, and listen. You’ll be surprised at how much more collaboration, creativity and alignment come when your team is connected and thriving.
2. Celebrate whenever you can
Celebrating wins is about taking a moment to appreciate each team member. Recognize the hard work and collaboration that led to a positive outcome before moving on to the next big project. Be sure to celebrate wins along the way. Allow the team to stay present and reflective and not just focused on the next milestone ahead.
Additionally, allowing time for social interaction and celebration adds the fun to the workplace that your team needs to feel connected and inspired. Gather together; acknowledge group wins milestones and holidays; or put together a social event just to celebrate the season.
Try putting some time on the calendar each month that is centered around a theme, holiday or just something that will generate conversation, laughter and appreciation. Small things like a summer ice cream social, a coffee catch-up or even a Friday group lunch (this can also be done virtually for those that work remotely) can mean a lot to your team. Make the space and time for it.
3. Put personal well-being at the forefront
Here are some of the things that can get your team down: chaotic structure, negativity, and pressure (the list goes on). So, be intentional about countering these things proactively with the opposite — healthy boundaries, clear communication, compassion and support.
Provide resources, encourage healthy habits, and make space for conversations. Feeling good leads to good work, so it’s a win-win for all.
4. Recognition goes a long way
At the end of the day, people want to be seen for who they are and the work they do. This is critically important when working in the fast-paced, high-stakes world of real estate. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and forget to slow down, take a pause and recognize people for their achievements, attitude and dedication.
When it comes to individual recognition, I love passing along hand-written notes, sending flowers or just shooting a text over to a colleague. You can also acknowledge people in a group setting, whether at an office meeting or party.
Just make sure everyone gets a moment in the spotlight throughout the year to keep morale high. In addition to recognition, clear communication is essential. Providing regular constructive (and clear) feedback in the movement is essential. Don’t just wait until annual reviews. Real-time feedback goes a long way.
In closing, consider this: Small gestures speak volumes. Remember, boosting morale starts with the little things. Consider your organization’s communication style, the perks offered, and the opportunities for connection. Put your attention toward these details, and you’ll create a positive, supportive environment where team members are happy, fulfilled and motivated — and that’s a powerful thing indeed.
Rainy Hake Austin is president of The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with her on Instagram.