Build staff loyalty

Inspiring loyalty in your staff is an important aspect of being an effective manager and one that can make a significant difference to the level at which your team operates. Building loyalty with your staff may help you to create a more effective organisational culture and even potentially reduce staff turnover.

Below are four tips to achieving staff loyalty.

Display trust

By displaying trust in your staff, it’s likely that they will in turn respect and trust your leadership also. Simple and effective ways to show trust in your staff could involve assigning them responsibility for small projects, or recognising their efforts on something they’ve been responsible for.

Give back to staff

An occasional small gift, even if symbolic in nature, can do wonders for ensuring staff feel appreciated. This doesn’t need to be an expensive bottle of wine or a large gesture, rather something simple but personalised to that employee’s tastes and preferences.

Invest in team bonding

Staff who work well together may also display higher levels of loyalty. Taking your team out for a group activity such as mini-golf or a barbeque will facilitate some social time together, helping to strengthen their interpersonal bonds.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 03/03/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Take care of conflicts

Regardless of your company culture, it is inevitable that conflict arises at some stage. Whether the issue is between you and a member of your staff, or between two staff members in your team, it’s worthwhile preparing some strategies to confront and resolve any conflict scenarios which may be encountered.

Though resolving conflicts can be a difficult task, the following approaches may assist the resolution process.

Make time to talk - and listen

When a conflict arises, it’s important to start a conversation to resolve the underlying issue once a suitable amount of time has passed to let any emotions cool down. Avoiding a confrontation will not resolve the issue, and could also mean the conflict resurfaces at a later stage and with the added pressure of built-up frustration. In addressing the issue, it’s vital to allow all involved parties equal time to voice their concerns. This will ensure everyone feels that they’ve been heard and their concerns are being taken seriously, while also potentially identifying of the true source of the conflict.

Reflect

Once the conversation has been had, it may be worthwhile to advise everyone to take some time to consider the conflict introspectively. Assigning a specific goal for reflection, such as considering the part they played and how a similar conflict could be handled more productively in the future, will allow potential solutions to arise naturally and in a non-confrontational manner.

Regroup

In some circumstances it may be constructive to regather all participants together and discuss any constructive feedback regarding the previous discussion and the conflict resolution process. This strategy would be most appropriate where the conflict has already been resolved and there is scope for learning from the experience.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 25/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Reduce role overlap

As companies expand it’s not uncommon for responsibilities to overlap where new tasks are taken on organically to cope with growth. While this may happen without input from managers, it’s important that managers identify its occurrence and take action to avoid the duplication of efforts.

This may provide specialisation benefits which achieve cost savings and increased efficiency in the long run: by having one person coordinating and placing advertisements with local papers, for example, this person is likely to become an expert at this task.

The following tips can help identify and remove duplication of work:

Create job descriptions

By writing down a job description for each employee you manage, you may be able to identify and remove any potential areas of overlap. Going one step further, you could even ask each employee to write down their own job description so that you gain a more precise idea of the actual tasks that they undertake daily.

Incentivise cost savings

It may be useful to provide employees with an incentive to identify any role overlaps. This incentive could take the form of a team reward, for example a staff lunch or social drinks, or be rewarded individually, such as a gift voucher or small bonus.

Hire a consultant

It can be difficult to spot your own flaws, however. It may be more effective to hire an outside consultant to review the activities and roles each staff member as they will be able to provide a fresh perspective, and more readily identify areas of overlap.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 21/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Focus your business in 2014

As a business owner, it can be easy to allow your attention to spread far and wide across all of the activities your Century 21 franchise undertakes. While periodically checking in on individual tasks or projects might keep you generally abreast of operations, it may be more effective to focus on ensuring key aspects of your business are operating at peak performance. Below we have three tips for aspects of the business which you could focus on improving over the next twelve months.

1. Customer service

Ensuring your staff are highly skilled in the provision of superior customer service could significantly contribute towards making a name for your brand in the community. Being known for quickly responding to customers and providing a high level of attention to detail and service is a strong point of differentiation for any business, and could allow your franchise to stand out for all the right reasons as compared to other real estate offices in the region.

2. Quality

While “quality” can be somewhat of a tricky indicator to quantify, it’s still important to strive towards the provision of a quality product at every step of the process. This could mean ensuring that staff are providing correct and timely advice to clients, exceeding customers’ expectations wherever possible, or even something as simple as ensuring all staff are proudly wearing their uniforms.

3. Creativity 

Is your team tackling challenges with a unique and individual approach, or merely providing every client with the same solution? Facilitating an environment which encourages your team to resourcefully adapt to differing circumstances and create new solutions to a client’s individual circumstances may help to ensure that clients are receiving a high level of customer service.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 12/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Reinvent your interviewing

Interviewing and hiring a new staff member can take a considerable amount of time away from your other duties as a manager and business owner. However if you’re able to streamline the interviewing process, you may be able to save yourself valuable time while still finding the perfect staff member.

Below are four questions you can ask to more efficiently interview prospective staff members.

1. How would you....?

Asking an interviewee to demonstrate how they would perform a task by using role playing in the interview can give you a unique insight into how they might operate in a role. This could be as simple as asking them to demonstrate how they answer the phone, or as complex as negotiating a price with you for a fictional house.

2. How did you research our company?

This question will help identify candidates who haven’t done their homework before attending the interview. You’ll also gain a unique insight into their resourcefulness – whether they merely searched for your business on the web or visited the local newspaper archives to discover more about your history.

3. What worries you about this position?

By discussing the candidate’s potential concerns about in the role you’ll be able to identify what their weaknesses and strengths are. This may also yield a more relevant answer than simply asking what the interviewee thinks their weaknesses are.

4. What annoyed you about your last boss?

Asking an interviewee about their previous employer will gain you valuable insight into how they relate to authority and deal with conflict in the workplace. You’ll also be able to ascertain whether the employee is likely to work with your management style.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 05/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Rebound from setbacks

Every business experiences setbacks once in a while, whether as a major interruption to the steady flow of business, such as an emerging competitor, or as a smaller hiccup, such as a customer dropping out on an individual transaction. Regardless of the magnitude of the setback, managers and owners can actually use these negative incidents to implement better practises by learning how to avoid a repeat occurrence. The following three tips could help you learn from your setbacks:

1. Analyse.

It may be worthwhile to spend some time away from the office objectively analysing what created the setback, otherwise the probability of repeating the action which lead to the setback is enormous. Once you’ve taken some time to analyse the setback and the circumstances surrounding it, you may want to share your thoughts and findings with a mentor or colleague to gather some feedback on your analysis.

2. Prevention.

Just knowing what went wrong isn’t enough – once you’ve taken some time to critically and objectively analyse the setback, you may want to put in place measures to prevent a similar event from reoccurring. These don’t need to be set-in-stone policy documents, rather could be as simple as checking in more frequently with key staff members to give them your guidance.

3. Educate.

Staff members uninvolved in correcting the setback may still benefit from the lessons learnt. It may be worthwhile booking in some time to constructively educate team members on what can be done to prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 29/01/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Managing staff departures

 

Staff members aren’t static features of any business – inevitably, an employee may move on to seek new challenges or simply for a change of scenery. As such, it’s important to have plans and procedures in place so that when a staff member does resign, your franchise is able to continue running smoothly.

The most essential part of these plans and procedures is to periodically update your employee’s job descriptions. These don’t have to be multiple page dictionaries of every task each team member completes daily – having a short overview of the position and key responsibilities will allow you to start searching for a replacement much sooner.

Keeping employee’s job descriptions up-to-date is only one measure you may be able to take to ensure minimal interruption if a staff member resigns. Below we have four tips which may help you to more easily manage a staff member’s resignation.

1. Don’t panic: while it may feel like the employee will be leaving the next day, most employees are required to give 3-4 weeks’ notice when resigning. This may be enough time for you to find and start training a replacement;

2. Contact a recruiter: if you are worried about finding a new staff member before the current employee departs, consider contacting a recruiter to assist you. Recruiters specialise in quickly filling vacant roles, and they may have the perfect person lined up waiting to fill your newly vacant position;

3. Maintain the relationship: it’s best to maintain a positive relationship with outgoing employees, as they will likely continue to promote a positive image of your franchise. You may want to consider offering to write the employee a letter of recommendation, as this sign of goodwill may help keep the relationship positive.

Tap into your networks: letting people in your network know that you’re looking for staff could help you find a replacement sooner. You may also consider using services such as LinkedIn to assist in your search.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 20/01/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Have the tough conversations

A great franchise is only ever as good as its staff and even with the best recruitment practices businesses will usually experience challenges with staff. It’s best to quickly deal with these issues, as leaving them to fester could contaminate the great team culture you’ve been working for months, or years to build.

When dealing with these types of employees, it is best to have a constructive meeting as soon as you identify an issue. In having this meeting, you will likely discover the root cause of the issue and may be able easily resolve it, preventing the issue from escalating.

While these conversations can be difficult for managers and staff alike, you’ll likely find that having them will lift a weight off everyone’s shoulders. With this in mind, we have prepared four tips to help manage unproductive staff.

1. Start the conversation: managers may simply avoid discussing any performance issues with employees, leaving the issue until they can’t avoid dealing with it. You may find that employees are having issues outside of work that are affecting their performance, and be able to provide flexible working solutions to help solve these;

2. Be prepared: clearly explaining that you are meeting to constructively discuss the employees’ performance may help keep the tone of the meeting upbeat. It may also help to bring along documentation of instances that unwanted behaviours have damaged the employees performance, adding credence to your arguments.

3. Ensure confidentiality: office gossip at its best is disruptive, and at worst, malicious. When meeting to discuss performance issues, set out firm ground rules that ensure the employee won’t gossip about your conversation with other staff. This can avoid embarrassment for both you and the staff member in question;

4. Keep records: documentation of these issues allows you to keep track of an employee progress. These may include a variety of forms and paperwork including records of verbal and written warnings as well as performance management plans.

 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 13/01/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Share the load – stop doing everything on your own

For business owners and managers, it’s tempting to attempt to do everything yourself. However, this may not be the most efficient or effective use of your time and by assigning reoccurring administrative or operational tasks to other staff members you may add valuable time to your working week. Unfortunately there’s no straightforward way to identify tasks that you can share with your team as this depends on your personal leadership style and your team’s capabilities.

With this in mind, below we’ve shared three key reasons for you to work with your team to identify tasks which they can carry out for you.

1. Unlock your time: by having a team member conduct some of your weekly administrative responsibilities for you, you may find yourself with additional time to focus on providing leadership to your team. One way to effectively use this time could be to conduct regular training sessions with your team to pass on your valuable experience;

2. Grow your team’s capabilities: giving a team member responsibility for a task that you previously carried out yourself will likely grow their abilities and in turn, their confidence. Through growing their confidence and abilities you may be able to in turn, hand them responsibility for large more complicated tasks and free up more of your time;

3. Lower your stress levels: if you’re spending the majority of your time dealing with routine administration matters, it’s likely you’ll find yourself stretched for time to focus on your core activity – transacting real estate. By distributing your workload more effectively you may find yourself with more time to focus on your past, present and future clients and in turn, grow your business.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 09/01/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Take control of your meetings

Meetings are essential to the continued success of any business, regardless of size, market share or scope of operations. However, if not well run, meetings can often turn into activities which needlessly use up a teams time and energy, resulting in these meetings being regarded as a waste of time by those who attend.

With this in mind, here are four tips to help you regain control of your meetings in 2014.

1. Stick to an agenda: while a free flowing discussion can be useful in one-on-one situations, in a meeting, discussions like this can serve to distract from the point of the meeting. You may find it beneficial to write out an agenda for your meetings and stick to it, ensuring that attendee’s time is used well;

2. Limit size: you may want to limit participation in meetings to those who will directly be involved in the matter at hand. This may help ensure that everyone present is engaged in the meeting and prevent the group’s attention from wandering;

3. Manage ramblers: you may find that in meetings some people tend to ramble about their particular area, or passion, which can lead to other attendee’s becoming disengaged from the conversation. One way to manage these situations is to set a time limit to individual’s contributions. While this doesn’t need to be set to a stop watch, a rough guide will give you the opportunity to cut short needless distractions;

4. End the meeting well: some organisations have templates for taking notes which include space to write down key tasks which are assigned during the meeting. You may find it beneficial to have someone responsible for completing your own version of this checklist. The checklist can then be read back to attendees as the meeting is finishing, ensuring that everyone is aware of the key tasks they are responsible for after the meeting closes.

 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 21/12/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories: