By Jill Butler, Founder & CEO of RedKey Realty Leaders St. Louis
The Great Resignation. By now, business leaders in every industry have begun to feel its impacts as over 40% of the global workforce leaves or considers leaving their jobs. After a year and a half of unprecedented challenges, changes, and pivots, people everywhere have reassessed what a fulfilling life looks like for them – and how their careers fit into it. It’s no longer enough just to offer reasonable benefits and market-rate pay. With 20% of workers saying their employer doesn’t prioritize work-life balance, 54% of employees feeling overworked, and 75% of high performers saying the pandemic made them question the potential for career advancement in their current jobs, people are looking at their jobs – and to their employers – to actively promote work-life balance, professional advancement, and more.
The good news is that, with the right approach, this vast shift in employee expectations can be a net positive for your business. A more fulfilled staff is a more productive, communicative, and long-lasting one. It’s also one that will spread the word about your company culture, helping to build a pipeline that allows you to stop chasing after the right candidates and start attracting them.
The Keystone to Success
To attract and retain top employees – whether they’re real estate agents, executives, customer service representatives, or other roles – you have to build a culture that recognizes each individual’s success as a keystone to the company’s success overall. That means providing actionable and tangible support systems, creating feedback loops for collaboration, and fostering genuine relationships at every level. No matter your industry, building the best team is about both establishing a reputation that attracts top talent and intentionally fostering an environment that is ever-evolving to help them perform their best. As resignations hit an all-time high, consider how your company is nurturing and communicating the following cultural philosophies:
- Guide, don’t push. The same things that can send a client turning on their heels – like pressure or pushiness – can do the same to employees. Leadership is about guiding your team to their goals, not trying to push them there (and risk pushing them totally off course). Success should be a collaborative effort; when your leadership is actively invested in employees, those employees in turn will be more invested in the company. Employees who feel like their leaders are invested in their success are more engaged (and can make your company up to 21% more profitable). In-house coaches and mentors are an excellent way to ensure employees feel this accessible, collaborative support. Designating these specific support-focused roles also shows prospective talent that you’re committed to their success from the start.
- Never stop learning. Retention rates are as much as 50% higher for companies with strong learning cultures, and 86% of employees say it’s important for employers to provide learning opportunities, which means they’ll be looking for a company culture that values and fosters continued education. A learning-based company culture is a win-win-win: in addition to attracting top talent, ongoing training strengthens your team’s skills and having a deep well of knowledge about your industry makes clients trust you more. You can even use educational events as recruitment tools by opening some of them up to people outside of the company.
- Focus on the client. No matter what industry you’re in, you achieve your goals by helping clients achieve theirs. You must empower your team to truly focus on the client in everything they do, which can mean anything from marketing support to streamlining how work is divided. Make sure everyone on your team has the tools, time, and support needed to be an expert in their field and an expert at creating ongoing value. Don’t just enable them to be a salesperson, a real estate agent, or a manager; help them become consultants, collaborators, and trusted advisors. That’s how you can deliver the value that keeps clients coming back and the reputation that keeps candidates lining up to join the team.
- Value partnership. True expertise means that people can turn to you for all things related to your industry. That doesn’t mean you have to be the expert in every single detail of your niche, it means you need to build and rely on partnerships that let your team create that ongoing value that brings clients and candidates to your door. Potentially meaningful connections are everywhere; build mutually beneficial partnerships with vendors and you can simultaneously bring new value to clients and team members and show a propensity for trust-building that gives prospective talent just one more reason to join your team.
- Be human. At the end of the day, every business transaction boils down to one thing: an interaction between people. Focusing on the human factor – from team members to customers to job candidates – has positive ripple effects at every level of your company. Take a people-first approach to your employees and help them do the same for their clients. Give them the support and resources needed to thoughtfully nurture relationships with clients over time, from training courses on network-building to strategic guidance on permission marketing efforts. The way your company interacts with clients is a reflection of the way you interact internally; if prospective candidates see an approach that’s genuine and personal, they’ll feel encouraged about the employer-employee relationship as well.
Focusing on the Long-Term
The pandemic changed the way we think about most everything in life; for many, that includes the role that their career plays in their long-term happiness. People have never been hungrier for connection and support, and as business leaders we can provide workplaces, careers, and cultures where those are the characteristics around which success is built. Focusing on the long-term and the relational makes both emotional and business sense; it will help you attract top talent, give them a job they’re eager to bring their best to each day, and build long-term success for your entire company.
About Jill Butler
After holding executive and team leader positions at high-profile real estate agencies, in 2012, Jill Butler founded RedKey Realty Leaders St. Louis—an independent real estate agency created on a foundation of love, service, and fun. RedKey is now one of the largest independent real estate agencies in St. Louis. Jill was named 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by the state of Missouri and St. Louis Chapters of the Women’s Council of Realtors. She has held an Officer position for the Women’s Council of Realtors and serves on the St. Louis Association of Realtors Board of Directors. www.redkeystlouis.com