Onboarding and recruiting practices change in a shifting market. When inventory is low and competition is fierce, bringing on new team members requires extra focus and streamlined systems to keep chaos at bay.

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It’s fall, listing inventory is light, and the market is heavy as a broker or team leader, you may find yourself in the midst of a heated recruiting season as agents look to find a new home that will keep their business from busting into oblivion.

This mad dash for greener pastures (whether you sought it out or not) can take your current business plans off track, create additional expenses that you were not planning for, and potentially risk the happiness of your current top producers.  

Now is not the time to make onboarding mistakes, but it’s most definitely the time to be selective of whom you invite into your inner circle. 

Onboarding has been one of the largest challenges for brokers, who are often stretched thin with time and divided emotionally against making smart shifts for their businesses, keeping existing producers happy, and cultivating new talent.  

What’s a leader to do? You need a basic checklist for yourself and the new agent to ensure that neither misses the essentials and that onboarding is a ramp to new heights and not something to derail your current sustainability.

Your business evaluation checklist

There are four areas to focus on when bringing in new talent to ensure that it is smooth sailing:  

1. The overall health of the existing or future business

Scale out where the candidate is and what training they will need based on their current pipeline. They will need a 90-day plan t0 help them prospect and market under their new branding, with built-in accountability meetings. 

Now is not the time to take on folks who have been struggling for the past few years or do not have the financial means to support the months-long process of establishing a pipeline. It’s not fair to them and could potentially be financially draining to your business if it’s already on the decline.  

2. Financial security

Recommend budget planning and financial planning tools to create a realistic picture for the next 24 months for the potential success of the business you are bringing under your umbrella. 

3. Risk management

Identify potential security and liability risks that the agent could bring under your umbrella. Audit all social media and digital profiles for pitfalls. Go over ethics, company policy and E&O insurance, and provide a detailed handbook for conduct. 

4. Training and mentoring plan

You need to fully understand what training and mentoring this team member needs, and it needs to be time-blocked into your schedule. Make sure the agent has completed the new team member checklist for the best first impressions.

Make sure you recognize and introduce the new team members to your community, so they feel welcome. It’s also important to show that you recognize and show appreciation for existing team members and model this culture to new team members to make sure that no one feels left out.

Your new team member’s onboarding checklist

Here’s a checklist to give to new team members to make sure they’re ready to jump onto your team:

  • Update headshot
  • Update voicemail
  • Update email signature
  • Update all MLS information
  • Update all social media profiles
  • Update all associations’ contact information
  • Update all marketing collateral
  • Join all company communication groups
  • Join the company events calendar
  • Train on company policy for writing and submitting offers
  • Train on company policy for marketing listings
  • Train on company policy for customer service
  • Research to ensure your digital presence is fully updated and that customers can contact you easily with new information.
  • Train on how to use office equipment
  • Train on security and safety measures
  • Complete financial plan and checkup for next 12 months
  • Make sure that all marketing materials and announcements are reviewed and approved by the broker
  • Meet and network with new team members, office staff and leaders
  • Create an action plan for marketing for the next 90 days, including prospecting and prospecting tools

These two basic lists will help ensure the critical communication points do not fall through the cracks. In the onboarding process, it’s important for both sides to be transparent and prepared. The broker should be transparent with the tools and resources available, and the agent should be transparent about the skills they currently have and the problems they need to solve.  

A lack of prep and communication can create additional chaos in your team that you may not have the current bandwidth to handle. Ultimately, it can cause serious reputation problems when market conditions force office practices under the spotlight. Don’t become known as the “agent mill.” Be known as an organized and professional organization that agents can see themselves thriving at before they even decide to move their license. 

Rachael Hite sold real estate in Virginia and West Virginia for seven years with a specialization in short sales and foreclosures. She has been an office manager, an agent, mortgage marketing consultant and continuing education trainer for agents since 2012. She currently specializes in private business development and digital marketing services for top producing agents and businesses in the housing industry.

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