Viewing by month: August 2011

Essentials for Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management (HRM) is essential to the growth and development of your CENTURY 21 franchise.  HRM is based fundamentally on the management of your employees, and aims to establish different avenues and support mechanisms to drive them towards successfully accomplishing their set goals, and those of your business.

Many would argue that people, i.e. human resources, are a business’ greatest asset.  Thus, practising good HRM will most likely be of great value to all companies including real estate agencies, increasing productivity and benefiting overall business development. 

Employee management is not always easy and is one of the most significant aspects of running a franchise.  Good techniques must be learnt and implemented.  Franchise owners and managers can look to established HR guidelines, such as those offered by CENTURY 21’s business support system, for assistance with the processes that should occur when hiring and retaining staff members.

Strong HR practice within your franchise should see you positioned to more ably hire the right people, manage and train employees, resolve disputes, set salaries and rewards, and ultimately dismiss when required.  From an efficiency perspective in particular, HRM is often considered essential for the development and growth of a business.

HRM also concerns the measures in place to motivate and encourage employees – whether you accept it or not, a franchise’s bottom line will usually be highly dependent on the satisfaction and overall drive of its staff, especially in a sales based organisation such as real estate.  Happy employees should result in profitability and increased customer satisfaction levels, and happy employees are in many ways dependent on an effective HRM system.  The challenge to you as owner or manager of your franchise is to find the right balance between motivating staff and enacting constructive discipline. 

As manager or owner of a CENTURY 21 franchise it is your responsibility to provide a desirable and functioning working environment where there is a level of respect and appreciation for all employees.  If you have not established an HR department within your real estate office, or at least maintain efficient HR structures, you should seriously consider doing so.  Dedicating resources to managing HR could very easily assist you to better communicate with and motivate your employees, to the ultimate benefit of your business. 

2 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 29/08/2011 at 9:10 AM | Categories:

Acknowledging and rewarding the success of your agents

As the manager or owner of a CENTURY 21 Franchise, having an understanding of the importance of recognising and rewarding success can greatly improve individual and group performance.  Regardless of whether you offer financial or non-financial rewards, using positive incentives can directly improve staff retention, business reputation and ultimately your franchise’s bottom line. 

There are both internal and external ways to recognise and reward certain employees for their dedication and success.

Internally as manager or owner you can recognise the agent/staff member of the month and offer a financial or non-financial gift to help motivate staff exceed their targets.  There is also a lot that can be said for simply congratulating team members on their hard work and positive attitude – informal recognition by yourself and other managers is considered a key motivating factor for job performance and should not be overlooked.

Additionally, you can motivate your staff to work towards external successes such as acknowledgement at industry and community events/awards nights.  Being a part of a global organisation such as CENTURY 21 also gives your agents opportunities for recognition from sources outside of your individual office and country, but within the greater company.  

Given the business importance of a successful rewards strategy, in 2006 the global firm Grant Thornton released the results of a survey they conducted to find The Top 100 UK Companies to Work For.  The study found flexible working hours to be the most popular reward, followed closely by formal recognition and awards. Surprisingly ad-hoc benefits such a Christmas party were more popular than performance related bonuses, extra holidays and commissions.

As the provision of such rewards may come at a cost to your business, it is essential that you clearly communicate to your agents that each reward is carefully thought through and acts as recognition of their efforts and high performance.

In a performance based industry, you may find that without a rewards strategy you could struggle to keep good staff interested and incentivised to perform.  It is therefore highly recommended that you incorporate an incentive program into your overall business strategy to motivate your agents and ensure the success of your franchise. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 22/08/2011 at 2:16 PM | Categories:

Managing budgets and financial plans for your Franchise

Managing the budgets and financial plans of your CENTURY 21 Franchise relies on two elements – good planning and strong discipline.  A business’ financial position can make or break a company, which is why it is incredibly important to operate within your set budget and plans.   

Good planning involves making a reasonable estimate of your projected demand, revenues and expenses. Effective budgets can then be established by:
1. Planning financial management approaches
2. Implementing financial management approaches
3. Managing and controlling finances
4. Reviewing and evaluating financial management processes

Strong discipline refers to structuring and setting an annual business plan and budget that not only clearly outlines your workplace objective and goals, but that is also routinely assessed and managed by someone who is both qualified and competent to ensure your business operates as planned. Things do not always go as expected in business; it is thus important to factor into your annual budget some ‘breathing room’ to cover any unwelcome expenses that may arise. 

Today there are numerous computer programs such as MYOB that can assist you to manage, record and report on the financial health of your CENTURY 21 Franchise.  If you are not qualified or comfortable, a smart move may be to hire a finance professional to assist you in the structuring of your Franchise’s financial requirements.

There is no doubt that your CENTURY 21 Franchise will benefit from the presence of good financial planning and strong discipline.  Incorporating both as unwavering business practices will help you to understand where your revenues come from and how they are allocated, usually resulting in greater efficiencies, protection from unexpected financial issues and very often an improved bottom line. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 15/08/2011 at 10:04 AM | Categories:

Save time and increase productivity by establishing efficient office systems

Implementing an efficient office system could be one of the best things you ever do for your CENTURY 21 Real Estate franchise.  An efficient work space should allow for administrative tasks to be completed more quickly, as a result allowing your agents to take on more business and sell more properties. 

Running a well ordered office is seen as a basic building block for any functioning business.  While the creation of an efficient office is not always easy, it is usually well worth the time and effort. Without proper filing systems, clear administration procedures and easy Smartphone synchronisation processes in place within your office, you may not be able to maximise your staff’s performance nor your business’ bottom line.

A simple shelf filing system will help your employees to be more organised, allowing them to increase their productivity levels and spend more time working to satisfy the needs of clients and prospecting for new business.  When establishing your system, it is important for all employees to gain an understanding of how it works. 

The use of ordered and colour coding systems can help you to better organise your business records. Using labels and dividers, in addition to computerised systems, should help you to stay on top of important client files.

It is not only sensitive, private or factual information that must be stored correctly within your CENTURY 21 office – your employees should also be able to work together efficiently as a team. If this means that you must roster kitchen duty within the office to keep things tidy, or plan team building programs to help build productivity and team morale, then you should consider doing so.

Smartphones can be incredibly helpful in allowing agents to remain on top of their emails, contacts and schedules.  However, the effectiveness of these devices could be diminished if they are not updated frequently, which is easy for busy real estate agents to forget to do. Ensuring that all office Smartphones are set up to synchronise with computers automatically and wirelessly will go a long way to help your employees remain organised.   

There are many aspects to the running of an efficient office system.  However, once in place the presence of such a system should help your CENTURY 21 real estate franchise to run much more effortlessly and effectively, likely allowing your business to increase its listing capacity, sell more properties and improve its bottom line. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 08/08/2011 at 9:19 AM | Categories:

How to discuss uncomfortable topics with staff

There are a number of issues that can arise with employees and colleagues in the workplace, including concerns regarding poor performance, unacceptable behaviour or personal hygiene.  As the manager or owner of a CENTURY 21 franchise it becomes your responsibility to approach your employees to respectfully discuss and resolve such uncomfortable topics.

One of the biggest problems in many businesses today can be the under-management staff; a great deal of managers feel uncomfortable instigating difficult conversations about problems with employees and so refrain from doing so.  However some troubles that arise with staff have the potential to cost your franchise in terms of profit and productivity, and can lead to the loss of other efficient staff and current and potential clients.

Using methods of positive confrontation to approach employees with respect and dignity can help you to tackle minor issues before they get out of hand and should assist you in protecting both your other staff and your franchise from unacceptable behaviour and financial loss.  To rectify a situation quickly, it is very important to be able to articulate clearly what it is that you want to say, and to convey your message in a meaningful way.   

When talking with the person in question the following tactics may help to ensure your message is as best received as possible:
• Reiterate positive compliments and motivation prior to and post criticism;
• Conduct your conversation in privacy away from other employees to reduce embarrassment;
• Try to communicate the issue clearly, providing examples to ensure understanding.
• Remain open minded to feedback;
• Try to empower the person to act on changing their habits with your support.

Issues within your CENTURY 21 franchise have the potential to negatively impact productivity and overall staff performance.  It is therefore important for franchise managers and owners to manage internal problems and resolve uncomfortable topics with employees as quickly as possible.  

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 01/08/2011 at 9:18 AM | Categories: