Viewing by month: October 2011

Managing stress in the workplace

As the owner and or manager of a real estate franchise, it is in your best interests to be concerned about the stress levels of your employees.  If your organisation is placed to recognise signs of stress and have systems that aim to alleviate it, the benefits will likely be evident throughout the business – from happier, more productive employees, to an improved bottom line.

According to a variety of studies that have been conducted over the past decade, stress in the workplace can be incredibly costly for any business.  Employees that are stressed may be more likely to take days off with increased frequency, and can be less productive.  Stress-induced anxiety also has the potential to lead to more serious mental health issues, which for a business can see the loss of experienced staff altogether.   

While the real estate industry is, for the most part, grossly rewarding, there’s no doubt that at times it can also be stressful.   With the ongoing competition to achieve listings coupled with the pressures of securing a satisfactory sales price for vendors – it is not surprising for agents to feel as though they are under a great deal of pressure from time to time.

As the owner and/or manager of a real estate office, it can be grossly beneficial to your business for you to remain vigilant about the stress levels of your employees, recognising when an agent or staff member is not dealing well and encouraging them to seek the appropriate professional help.

Sometimes even the knowledge that a manager understands and cares about the pressures an employee is under is a large step in helping that employee deal effectively with the issue. 

For any business, human resources are the greatest asset.  As the owner and/or manager of a real estate franchise which is naturally a competitive, and thus, at times, stressful environment, try to recognise signs of stress and work with your employees to overcome it.  There is no doubt that your business will benefit from the presence of happy, more productive staff, resulting in benefits for all. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 25/10/2011 at 2:51 PM | Categories:

Staying in touch with your database

As it costs significantly more to acquire new clients than it does to retain them, most successful businesses understand the importance of maintaining customer relationships.  As the owner and/or manager of a real estate franchise, it is therefore essential for you to remain in contact with your clients, both past and present, so that when the time comes for them to engage in a property transaction and an agent is needed, your business is front of mind.  

For such communication to be effective, there are a few important considerations that real estate organisations should note. 

Use client information to keep messages relevant
Put simply, people will pay attention to information that is relevant to them personally.  It is here that the information gathering process becomes important – this begins from the first moment a potential client walks into your real estate office.  The more data you can gather about your clients, the better positioned you will be to send them targeted, helpful communiqué that appeals to them.  This could include information as detailed as their level of income and property preferences, down to the basics such as gender and age.

Keep it simple 
Given the vast amount of information that people receive these days, whether it be via email, social media websites or even just in the good old-fashioned post, your message must be clear, simple and to the point for it to be processed.  Avoid text heavy emails and documents as at first glance they could fall into the ‘too hard basket’ for your busy customers.  Use dot points, reasonable line spacing and bright colours.  If there is a shorter way to get a point across then this may be the best way to go. 

Use the priority email setting only when necessary
In somewhat of a modern day ‘the boy who cried wolf’ scenario, people are commonly frustrated when they receive emails that have been unnecessarily marked as high priority.  When you do have an important alert for a client, such as a recently listed property that is suited to their needs, then by all means mark it with that red flag.  The use of this setting only when absolutely necessary will help to ensure your important messages are noticed.  However if used in a profligate way you may find that key messages come to be ignored.  

Send messages consistently
Try not to send out mass email alerts whenever something comes to your attention.  If you can organise your information and send out a regular (e.g. weekly, fortnightly) distribution at the same time on the same day, people usually come to expect it and even look forward to it. 

It is important to maintain regular communication with your clients if you want to improve your chances of retaining them.  However, it is also crucial that this information is relevant, otherwise it can be annoying or ignored and deleted immediately.  By following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure that your communication is effective, with your clients appreciating the contact and your real estate franchise benefiting as a result. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 10/10/2011 at 9:18 AM | Categories:

Establish a Disability Action Plan for your Franchise

Companies operating today, including real estate franchises, may find themselves subject to scrutiny regarding their policies of social responsibility and ethical conduct.  And with one in five Australians living with a disability (according to a 2009 survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics), disability in the workplace is one such area that is closely watched. 

As the owner and/or manager of a CENTURY 21 franchise you need to be actively aware of your responsibilities to both customers and employees who have a disability.  The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (1992) provides a proactive guide for businesses of all shapes and sizes operating in all industries to enact a Disability Action Plan.  According to the Australian Government’s JobAccess website, a Disability Action Plan is “a way for an organisation to plan the removal, as far as possible, of discrimination against people with disability.”

Establishing a Disability Action Plan and showing your franchise’s commitment to removing discrimination from within your business can go a long way to enhance and benefit your company – both internally as a boost to the morale of your agents and office staff, as well as improving your reputation within the community.  

To begin to develop such a plan, steps must first be taken to identify how accessible your CENTURY 21 franchise is for people with a disability.  A good way to start this process is to consult with disability stakeholder groups. 

For more information about what a Disability Action Plan should contain and how your franchise can best go about establishing such a plan, please visit the Australian Government’s How to establish a Disability Action Plan website. 

By moving proactively to create a Disability Action Plan for your real estate franchise and making your business more accessible for valuable employees with a disability as a result, your business will likely receive added respect and support from amongst the wider community as a leader in the move to remove disability discrimination from the workplace. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 04/10/2011 at 12:53 PM | Categories: