Viewing by month: June 2012

Recognise the value in employee recognition

Employee recognition can sometimes be an undervalued management technique, particularly in today’s world where business heads are often tied up in high-level tasks and major decisions. Despite such, it remains important for all real estate principals to work towards creating workplaces that recognise employees for jobs well done.

 

Multiple studies have demonstrated that employee recognition has a multiplicity of short and long term benefits – not just for workers but also employers. 

 

In fact, findings released earlier this month by US research and advisory company, Bersin & Associates, reveal a strong link between workplace recognition programs and employee performance.

 

The report, entitled ‘The State of Employee Recognition in 2012’, is based on two online surveys of 834 organisations conducted between January and May 2012, including more than 30 research interviews with HR and talent management professionals.

 

The research showed that “in organisations where recognition occurs, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are about 14 per cent higher than in those where recognition does not occur.”

 

Additionally, the report found that “for employees, the most important elements of a recognition program are the ability to receive specific feedback and give recognition easily.”

 

Various other studies have echoed similar findings, drawing positive links between workplace recognition and increases in employee retention, satisfaction, loyalty and motivation – all of which have positive implications for a business.

 

Employee recognition techniques

 

There is no right or wrong way to recognise employee performance. However, it is important to realise that recognition strategies should be catered to the needs, interests and values of individual employees – one size does not fit all.

 

To get you thinking about the process, here are ten employee recognition techniques that you might want to consider:

 

1.       Personally praise staff after they successfully complete tasks. Simply saying ‘thanks a lot, you did an excellent job” often goes the farthest way to reinforcing an employee’s confidence, value and morale;

2.       Write personal notes about good performance, and post them on the employee’s office door or desk;

3.       Use public forums such as staff meetings and annual dinners to recognise employees for outstanding performance;

4.       Take both the employee and their team out to lunch to celebrate outstanding results; this provides the individual with informal recognition from their peers as well;

5.       Send an email blast alerting the company to an employee’s exceptional achievements;

6.       Include employees’ names and their achievements in internal publications such as newsletters and reports;

7.       Create quarterly and yearly awards to recognise employees that have excelled in particular performance aspects;

8.       Create an annual “Hall of Fame” to recognise top performing employees;

9.       Provide a "token" voucher of gift card specific to the employee’s interests or hobbies;

10.   For employees who consistently go above and beyond, consider granting time off, such as half-days and Fridays.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 25/06/2012 at 1:55 PM | Categories:

The importance of setting goals for your staff

As a real estate principal you not only have a vested interest in your own performance, but the performance of your staff. As such, you should always be looking for new ways to increase productivity and efficiency within your business.  Though sometimes overlooked, goal setting can be an extremely useful strategy for improving and maximising the performance of employees.

 

There are several reasons for this:

 

·         Goal setting allows you to crystalise and articulate your expectations, which in turn enables your employees to consciously channel their time, energy and efforts in the direction of your desired outcomes;

·         Achievable goals represent an important source of motivation for staff, as they provide employees with a focused end-point to consistently work towards, especially in times of difficulty or digression;

·         Goals make employees accountable: By clearly defining achievable objectives and targets to your employees, you leave them no opportunity to later claim that they did not understand what was expected of them;

·         Goals can enable maximisation of staff potential: The reality is that without clearly defined goals employees can sometimes stick to ‘auto-pilot’, working within their comfort zones and doing simply what is required of them to get by. Goals, however, can challenge employees to venture into new levels, contexts and situations, which can function to foster both growth and fulfilment within their careers, and within your agency.

 

Goal setting must be a considered process, however; taking into account the respective credentials and capabilities of staff members. This is because unattainable goals function in a counterproductive way, gradually demotivating employees who come to realise that their targets are unattainable.

 

How does one set achievable and measurable goals for their staff?

 

·         Involve the employee:  You need to talk to your staff to be able to understand not only what they are capable of achieving, but also what they want to achieve. Through involving an employee in the goal defining process you are better able to develop realistic expectations and also place ownership of the goal in the employee, which usually increases their levels of responsibility and motivation;

·         Clearly define the goal: By clearly defining a goal to an employee, you can ensure that they are working towards achieving the correct objective. Clarification also entails the employee understanding the motivation/s behind the goal; and as such, you should consider explaining why the goal is important and how it is going to benefit the staff member as well as your business;

·         Make the goal measurable: Both you and your employee should agree on performance measures for successful completion of the goal. This involves documenting targets, timelines and prospective rewards, and thereafter monitoring progress until the goal is attained.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 22/06/2012 at 3:30 PM | Categories:

Public relations; embrace it to make your real estate agency shine

Once you’ve established your own real estate business, getting the word out about it is usually the next major challenge. As all of us know that the market today is extremely competitive and it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. Given such, it is important for principals to recognise how useful a well-executed public relations strategy can be in enhancing an agency’s exposure, credibility and clientele.

Many business owners use advertising as the primary promotional method for their organisation - they might buy a newspaper ad, create some bumper stickers or run a Google AdWords campaign.  There is an alternative approach, however, that may deliver better results in a more cost efficient manner; this approach being public relations.

Public relations strategies are often confused with advertising strategies, likely because they both leverage media platforms and produce seemingly similar content. The reality, however, is that PR methods are distinct from those associated with advertising, and should therefore be emphasised equally within any business plan or budget.

In light of such, below are some key tips for implementing an effective real estate publicity strategy.

Build relationships with your local media

Journalists will almost invariably approach sources that they have existing relationships with, which makes sense if the source has already proven their credibility and reliability. Therefore, you should actively seek to create opportunities to position yourself as a leading source of information in your local market.

A degree of relationship building with local journalists will therefore likely be needed, and you may even want to consider inviting some of them out for coffee to introduce yourself. In doing such, you can offer your contact details, indicate your willingness to provide commentary, discuss proactive media opportunities, and effectively lay a foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship in the future.

Media Releases

Journalists are always on the hunt for story ideas, particularly in local publications where relevant news is often scarce.  Media releases relating to current local issues and market activity can therefore be a great tool for securing page space. However, when considering topics for a potential media release it is important to consider what journalists and their audiences are likely to find relevant and interesting.

To get media attention and further coverage of your media release, it is always best to connect with the journalist via a follow up phone call, confirming with them that they did receive the media release and further elaborating on the story idea (provided that they aren’t running out the door). 

Sponsorship and community initiatives

Your agency’s PR efforts don’t necessarily have to be confined to media interactions. In fact, two of the most common business strategies for generating positive public exposure are hosting and sponsoring local events.  Through sponsoring a local sporting club or hosting a charity fundraiser, for example, a business can create a powerful positioning platform to demonstrate brand values, cultivate goodwill, increase visibility and enhance reputation.

 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 12/06/2012 at 10:01 AM | Categories:

Real estate principals who delegate build success

Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American industrialist who led the huge expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century once said “the secret of success is not in doing your own work but in recognising the right person to do it.”

 

What Mr Carnegie meant, in saying such, is that truly successful leaders are those that know how to delegate tasks to the right people around them. The fact is that no one person has the ability to do absolutely everything – sometimes situations arise, even for the most stellar of leaders, where there is just simply too much work to handle. Such situations invariably have the capacity to result in procrastination, stress, oversights and, of course, mistakes.

 

Therefore, as leaders of your own businesses, it is important that you understand how to effectively delegate to the staff around you.

 

Now I am sure many of you are hesitant at the thought; some of you may be thinking “what’s the point? - I can do the job faster and better on my own”; others might not have confidence in their staffs’ capabilities to complete tasks properly.

 

However, what those types of doubts should actually be doing is emphasising a need for you to improve your own delegation skills; because if you are not currently in a position where you are able to empower and rely on your staff, then your organisation is probably neither as productive nor secure as it potentially could be.

 

Admittedly, delegation is not as simple as throwing any old task over to the person next to you. However, if done strategically it can be one of the most effective and efficient means of managing your workload, as well as increasing the skills, teamwork, morale and productivity of your employees, which is important because part of your responsibility as a real estate principal is to develop your agents careers and prepare them for higher levels of responsibility.

 

Here are five key steps towards becoming an effective delegator:

 

1.       Plan

Decide exactly what you want done and match the job to a delegate who is able to perform the task proficiently. This process involves an assessment of staff competencies, experience levels, natural aptitudes and skill-sets.

 

2.       Define and communicate clear objectives, outcomes and expectations

Clearly articulate the objectives for the task being delegated and define performance standards, ensuring that you communicate the requirements, deadlines, checkpoints, parameters, authority levels, and reasons behind the assignment. 

 

3.       Solicit feedback and discussion

Invite questions and be open to suggestions, allowing the delegate to gain clarification and ownership of the task. In doing such you can ensure that the delegate understands the task properly, enabling both you and them to feel confident that the task will be completed effectively.

 

4.       Inform others that delegation has occurred.

Often delegation involves granting rights to make decisions and consume additional resources. As such, you should inform other staff so that they know to follow your delegate’s instructions and accommodate their requests.


5. Evaluate progress and results, and provide consequences.

Upon completion of the task take some time out to discuss the delegate’s performance with them, communicating their strengths as well as areas that may need improvement. In doing such, you have the opportunity to not only provide affirmation and confidence, but also guidance so that the delegate can improve their performance of similar tasks in the future.

 

 

Conclusion
Delegating effectively is not easy, and some real estate principals find it extremely challenging to get a hold on. However, the ones who do are able to reduce their workload and provide opportunities for growth, challenge and fulfilment within their employees.

 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 04/06/2012 at 11:44 AM | Categories: