Viewing by month: May 2011

Managing different cultures in the workplace

In today’s modern multicultural society, it is likely that as the manager and/or owner of a franchise, at some stage you will find yourself managing a heterogeneous group of employees, each from different cultures and backgrounds. 

While working with such a group can be challenging given the varying needs and communication styles of the different individuals, ultimately incorporating a variety of working styles and talents into your franchise will usually be of significant benefit to the organisation. 

In his 2007 work, The Difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools and societies, Scott Page used mathematical modeling to show that groups which are diverse in nature consistently bettered homogenous teams on a wide range of assignments.  This improved performance can also apply to your real estate franchise - the advantages of having a multicultural team can include the increase in your business’ appeal to a wider range of customers, as well as your office growing its skill base.

However when working with such a diverse team, it is important to understand some of the issues that can possibly arise and how you can best manage these to avoid a detrimental impact on your business. 

Communication can often pose a problem in multicultural businesses, especially when English is not the first language of some of your employees.  Body language can also prove to confuse some people.  To avoid any miscommunication, ensure that the lines of communication between managers and staff are always open and encourage your employees to talk to you about any confusing matters. 

The different needs and work practices of the varying cultures in your workplace could also be a point of contention, especially if other employees don’t understand a tradition, or feel an employee is receiving special treatment (for example, wearing a different dress code).  While each situation is different, managers need to ensure that the same level of fairness applies to all employees, accommodating each circumstance within the framework of a company-wide policy. 

In situations where some employees don’t understand the cultures of others, it can often be a smart idea to celebrate the special occasions of such cultures, to promote education and interaction in a fun way. 

In order to ensure the best levels of success for your real estate franchise, it is important to build a varied skill base, which can often come through hiring people from a number of different backgrounds and cultures.  Additionally, in having a multicultural workforce, your business is better positioned to appeal to Australia’s growing multicultural community. 

Good franchise managers will be aware of the issues that have the potential to arise in the bringing together of a group of people from different backgrounds, and should have appropriate policies in place to curb the impact of any such problems.  

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 30/05/2011 at 2:18 PM | Categories:

Maintaining Strong Internal Communications with your Staff

It is incredibly valuable for businesses of all sizes, including your real estate franchise, to consistently communicate with employees in an official manner.  Receiving regular contact from business owners and senior managers about progress and direction goes a long way in helping to keep employees motivated, focused and enthusiastic about their work.

When it comes to your real estate franchise, two methods of communicating effectively with your staff can include the distribution of a regular company newsletter and holding work in progress meetings. 

Company Newsletters
Company newsletters fulfil a variety of purposes.  Not only do they allow the head of the franchise (be it the owner or most senior manager) to communicate directly with all employees, they also allow the franchise to engage staff by conveying motivating company news and plans for the future. 

Good real estate franchise newsletters will have a diverse mix of interesting stories.  Topics can include:
• An address from the General Manager/Owner
• Internal company news
• Information about market conditions
• Achievements of employees
• Employee profiles
• News about the agency’s work in the community

WIP Meetings
While newsletters fulfil the function of communicating essential news and information, the dialogue is only one-way from the franchise to staff.  Holding regular work-in-progress meetings can help to overcome this barrier, allowing staff to converse with their superiors and, importantly, fellow employees. 

WIP meetings are essential for business development as they facilitate brainstorming and the sharing of ideas.  Additionally, they allow both managers and employees to co-ordinate tasks – streamlining business operations. 

Regardless of size, internal communication is essential in any organisation.  Communicating with your staff efficiently and regularly will help to keep them on-task and interested in their work. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 23/05/2011 at 9:07 AM | Categories:

The Corporate Gender Debate and how to Balance Your Management

As the manager and/or owner of a Century 21 franchise, you are no doubt aware of the debate surrounding equality of gender in the workforce and the balance of management. To ensure your business performs well and attracts the best possible agents, it is important to understand how equality in the workplace can assist the success and growth of your franchise.  

When it comes to business growth, it is important as a manager or owner not to be sexist with your employment decisions. Regardless of gender, it goes without saying that if your team members are good at what they do, are effective sales people and lead generators, and add positively to the workplace environment, then as a manager you should be happy with your staffing choices. 

The gender debate in its current form has much focus around gender equality at senior organisational levels.  With a growing number of organisations in the banking and finance sectors leading the drive, recent changes in the corporate sector have seen an increased supply of highly qualified women in the workforce, ready to perform and start the process of balancing employment at senior levels of business. 

 As owner or manager of your CENTURY 21 franchise, your business’ bottom line depends on your not being closed minded about female candidates when recruiting.  It is true that generally, men and women bring different skills to the table, as do individuals.  It is therefore important not to discount the attributes that female candidates can contribute to your franchise. 

By creating a workplace that is balanced in terms of the talents of your employees, you will be able to maximise the success of your franchise. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 17/05/2011 at 9:47 AM | Categories:

Growing Your Franchise Intelligently

Being a franchise owner within the largest real estate sales organisation in the world, CENTURY 21, can lead to incredible opportunities and growth in the real estate industry if you remain intelligently focused on your goals and business plan.

Intelligence is what can make or break your CENTURY 21 franchise business model. Intelligence in business is dependent on your ability to devise a strategy that will assist you to succeed. This strategy is built on understanding the environment in which you are operating and seizing the opportunities that exist within it. 

Achieving intelligent franchise growth requires substantial forethought, planning and financial analysis before you can begin to seriously establish your business. To be smart about the way you grow your CENTURY 21 franchise you should start with your goals and aspirations and then achieve these through devising clever strategies and tactics. Armed with a well put together plan and a readiness to work hard, you should be well on your way towards owning and operating a successful CENTURY 21 real estate franchise. 

With the prospect of achieving growth, you must be prepared to find the room and capacity for development.  As the owner and manager of a franchise you should work to gain an understanding of your employees and what their own goals are as this may help you to plan how each member of staff can add to the growth of your franchise, and the ways that you can motivate their work ethic and performance.  Achieving both your own business goals as well as the personal growth goals of your employees is certainly an intelligent way to approach developing your franchise.  

While some businesses grow quickly and others take a little while to get off the ground, there is no doubt that most the successful companies are those that employ intelligent growth strategies.  Having an understanding of the daily running of your franchise, its financial dealings and your goals for where you intend your real estate franchise to be in the near future are all necessary forms of planning to achieve successful and sustainable growth. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 09/05/2011 at 10:41 AM | Categories:

Keep your best staff engaged through innovative means

As the owner of any business knows, it is not only the hiring of good staff but also their retention that can be a challenge.  And the real estate game is no different.  There is often nothing more frustrating than going through the process of searching for suitable agents for your franchise, inducting, training and investing resources in them, only to have your recruits become so capable that they are poached away by a rival company. 

Such is the point of this blog.  While employees must work hard to maintain their positions within an organisation, so too must franchise managers and owners ensure that their best staff are consistently motivated and happy so as to remain a member of the company.

Motivating staff does not necessarily have to be about the salary or fringe benefits offered, and for many businesses offering larger amounts of money may not even be a viable option.  For real estate franchises to ensure that the best agents remain on staff, it is important that the agents enjoy their daily tasks and the work environment they operate in.  Achieving such an outcome may sometimes involve enticing your staff through ways that involve thinking outside the box.    

So what can your real estate franchise do to create the kind of working environment that retains staff? Darlene Wilson, general manager of people and culture at SNP Security, commented in an article entitled ‘Don’t let ‘em go!’ in the April 2011 issue of Smarter Business Ideas, that staff can be retained in situations where they are the right people in the right roles, working in a thriving environment. 

The article also quotes John Asquith, retention advisor and founder of the TalentDrain agency, who says that the attrition rate after the first 12 months for new job starters is 30 to 40 per cent, as happiness levels tend to drop unless employees are actively engaged.  John suggests that mentoring programs, a team environment and training programs are very important in the staff retention process.

Rewarding working environment
Also quoted in the article is Dr Adam Fraser, a Sydney-based performance expert, who notes that due to their flexibility and technological know-how, today’s younger employees may need to be treated differently to previous generations.  Dr Fraser says that as these younger employees have so many options and are less motivated by money, they are often looking for something unique and rewarding to be involved in.

As the owner/manager of a CENTURY 21 real estate franchise it could be worthwhile to consider what aspects your employees enjoy about working in your agency, and how you can improve on these.  By making your franchise the best place for real estate agents to learn, through both training, good management and mentoring relationships, as well as to achieve pleasing results, you can increase their levels of job satisfaction and reduce their need to seek employment at an alternative agency. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 02/05/2011 at 1:12 PM | Categories: