Viewing by month: February 2011

How to solve problems in the workplace

Employers and employees are faced with problems in the workplace every day.  As a CENTURY 21 franchisee you need to acknowledge the challenges inherent in running a real estate business and recognise the importance of having effective problem solving strategies in place. 

One difficulty with problem solving is dealing with peoples’ reactions to the problems at hand.  It is often the case that people respond to issues in the workplace too quickly without understanding the real cause and influencers of the situation.

People can also be uncomfortable with confrontation.  The possibility of being faced with a problem becomes a problem and therefore people sometimes tend to look for someone else to blame. 

Whilst there are always going to be problems within your workplace, problem solving is a skill that can be learned.  One solution is to introduce problem solving methods and role play scenarios. 

As the franchisee it is recommended you outline to your staff at induction the company’s procedure and guidelines for dealing with problems at work. 

There are generally three alternate methods you could share with your employees to assist them with problem solving in the workplace:

Trial and Error
This method is best used when it does not involve risk to any person, equipment or large sums of money.  It is a simple method where different solutions are used to see what works best.

Extended Systematic System
By breaking a problem into parts, you give yourself the ability to gather evidence to help solve the problem.  This is a key approach for solving large projects involving multiple parties.

5 Step Problem Solving Procedure
This is perhaps the best way to initially respond to any problem at hand.
1. Identify the problem
2. Gather information about the situation
3. List possible solutions to the problem
4. Evaluate possible results of each solution
5. Decide on the best solution

Whilst there is no right way to respond to a problem, it is in the best interests of your CENTURY 21 franchise to direct your staff towards effective methods of problem solving in the workplace. Creating a conflict-free, productive atmosphere will help to ensure the success of your company. 

1 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 28/02/2011 at 1:21 PM | Categories:

Developing Staff Skills and Expertise

The continual training and building of expertise in staff post-hiring has become an essential element in the running of a successful franchise business.  Such skill and knowledge development should be seen as an important and valuable ongoing investment in the future of your franchise.

It is important to understand that training is not merely a transfer of skills and information.  It offers employees the opportunity to further develop themselves and significantly contributes to the success and ongoing viability of a company. 

It can be seen in many industries, not just real estate, that training and motivation generally fosters a strong commitment and loyalty from employees.  People can normally appreciate that their employer is making a personal investment into their skills, allowing them to work towards their own personal goals and expertise.  As a franchisee you may find that this investment helps your real estate agents to take on more responsibility in the workplace, making a larger contribution to the overall success of your company. 

In order to achieve a successful learning environment within your franchise, it is important to engage a number of people who are well trained before they join your agency.  Hiring agents with proven expertise can help to improve your franchise’s productivity and overall business performance at a quick rate.  These well-trained real estate agents that you install in your agency will naturally impart skills to younger agents, instilling a culture of education and motivation.  

As a Century 21 franchisee, it will be your responsibility as manager and/or owner of your business to commit to offering training programs to employees at all levels, linking business objectives with performance.  This will enable your staff to understand the purpose of their training, often providing them with the motivation to continue and excel. 

To ensure you are working with proficient and well-trained employees at all levels of your franchise, it becomes best practise to monitor and continually develop staff skills and expertise.  At the end of the day, this personal investment into your business and staff will help to achieve a more productive, successful real estate agency. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 21/02/2011 at 2:31 PM | Categories:

The essential elements of a good Franchise System

Owning a CENTURY 21 franchise is more than just a financial partnership – it is about establishing and building a business within your community and maintaining long term value.  One of the best ways to achieve ongoing success and a good reputation for your franchise is to ensure that the systems you have in place allow for its smooth running on a day to day basis.
Having a solid franchise system will be greatly beneficial to your organisation.   In the residential property market, for example, operating a good franchise model can help to position your company so that is able to withstand periods of downturn and take advantage of attractive opportunities quickly.   

Whilst CENTURY 21 can assist your franchise by offering strong branding, training and support, it will be of most value to you as the owner and manager of a franchise, as well as your team, to establish and develop good systems and structures that you find to work well for your particular circumstances.

Ensuring the presence of the following elements can help to strengthen your current franchise system:

1. Ethical standards
An obvious ingredient in a healthy and strong franchise system is the presence of ethical standards, which should be evident throughout your operating systems and employee manuals.  Encouraging a fair and moral workplace will provide a compass for your staff to look to when they are faced with difficult situations, ideally allowing your franchise to avoid mishap. 

2. Trust
Trust is a very valuable ingredient for any business.  For a franchise to run smoothly, trust must be present at a number of different levels – between the franchisee and franchisor, the franchisee and employees and the franchise and its customers.  Taking steps to develop these relationships should help to enhance the success of your business, while making it somewhat easier to work through problems that may arise.  

3. Communication
A good system should provide the regular information necessary for you to make informed and appropriate decisions.  In today’s world this means you need to be utilising various channels to communicate with clients and staff.  Employing clear methods of communication within your franchise will enable you to stay up-to-date and ahead of the real estate game.

Maintaining a strong internal system for your CENTURY 21 franchise will help your everyday business to run smoothly without needing continuous intervention, enabling you to focus your energies on other priorities.  A well-established system with clear ethical standards, trusting relationships and effective communication should go a long way in helping your business to achieve considerable growth and success. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 14/02/2011 at 12:31 PM | Categories:

Insuring ethical conduct in your franchise

The way that you and your staff conduct your general business practices at your CENTURY 21 Franchise is essential to the image and reputation that you hold within your community.  Conducting or turning a blind eye to unethical conduct in your workplace is highly unprofessional and depending on the situation, can cause serious problems for your business.

An effective way to ensure the ethical behaviour of all staff within your franchise could be to establish a clear code of conduct for your workplace.  A code of conduct generally expresses in broad terms the ethical requirements all staff must adhere to, without limiting their resourcefulness and purpose of being employed.  It is important when inducting new employees that they are informed about the existence of this code and that they recognise the necessity of having the personal attributes of honesty, sincerity, trustworthiness and impartiality. 

Once you have decided on the particular set of ethics that are important to your franchise, it becomes your responsibility as owner and/or manager to ensure that these principles are adhered to.  The effectiveness of implementing such a policy relies on all staff taking responsibility for their own behaviour.  However it is your duty to ensure that your franchise’s ethical standards are clearly communicated to all employees (perhaps in a physical form such as a manual), eliminating the potential for any misunderstandings.

There are many benefits to incorporating a strong code of ethics into your franchise.  They:

  • Encourage professionalism amongst staff, both inside and outside the office;
  • Build and enhance the respect of customers for your franchise;
  • Improve your franchise’s attractiveness to potential employees who wish to work in a professional environment;
  • Encourage strong and honest channels of communication within your workplace;
  • Reduce office gossip; and
  • Help to increase efficiency and profitability. 

It is important for employees to know that your franchise takes its code of conduct seriously and that there will be consequences if it is breached.  Depending on the nature of the breach, the method of reprimand is your choice and could include a performance review or disciplinary action.  Whichever way you decide to go, it is important to understand that any action you take may set a standard for future behaviour amongst other employees.   

In any case, it is important to reprimand or even terminate the employment of staff members that break the code of conduct in your franchise.  The unethical behaviour of even just one employee can cause serious, potentially irreparable, damage to your franchise’s reputation within the community.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 07/02/2011 at 12:26 PM | Categories: