Most estate agencies we speak with tell us it feels like staff recruitment and retention take up a disproportionate amount of their time. In today’s ever-changing world, it’s become much more common, and socially acceptable, for workers to consider moving jobs on a regular basis than in previous times.

Over the 29 years that we have been trading at Property Personnel, staff turnover within estate agency has always been high, but right now it seems to be higher than ever.

As estate agency is a service industry, staff turnover will invariably be higher than in other fields such as legal, accountancy, education and the public sector, but what can be done about it? When you find the best staff, how can you keep hold of them? Here are our thoughts on staff retention:

What’s the issue?

The challenge here is that recruitment is the temptress, while retention is the stable long-term partner. Recruitment woos a person, allows them to show what they can do, and frequently offers more money or benefits for doing so. Companies also tend to direct most of their resources and budget into recruitment, as it’s easy to measure its success.

Retention is much more nebulous. Having spent a great deal of time and money finding the right people, it is a shame that more employers don’t work harder at keeping them. Many of our clients now have Recruitment Managers, but we have yet to come across a Retention Manager, although such roles are starting to appear in other industries.

Is there a benefit to staff turnover?

Yes – replacing a poor performer with a more effective one has got to be good for business, as has bringing in ‘fresh blood’ which can revitalise the office environment and bring in new ideas.

Too much focus on retention and keeping everyone you have can potentially cause career blockages and lack of promotion opportunities, which could then lead to increased staff turnover. Staff retention is quite simple really- it should be all about keeping the staff you want to keep, without being concerned about losing the ones you no longer want, or those who don’t add something to your business.

What can be done to make the best staff stay?

Here are our top tips for boosting your staff retention:

  • Make sure you are realistic with prospective employees at the recruitment stage, and don’t offer them benefits or opportunities that won’t be realised. If they come in knowing what they are signing up for, including having a realistic understanding of pressures they are likely to face, then they are more likely to stick around when the going gets tough.
  • Ensure that the salary and benefits that you offer are competitive, and that there is room for progression. While it’s not vital for all employees to get a pay rise each year, it’s important that salary rises are aligned with industry averages, as this will stop people looking for more money elsewhere.
  • Similarly, it’s important to work with your staff to create career paths within your organisation, so that they can understand what the future holds and what development potential there is. Knowing that they could be promoted if they achieve targets is an incentive and is likely to encourage employees to stay and work hard.
  • Try to bring in some flexibility to the roles that you are offering. We appreciate that estate agency is a service industry and that means it doesn’t fit the Monday – Friday 9-5 norm, however people are increasingly looking to achieve a good work-life balance. Offering flexibility, particularly to long-term employees, can stop them looking elsewhere for a role which fits in with their lives more.
  • Provide as much job security as possible, as security and stability are highly rated by employees. If people feel like one lost commission could lose them their job, they are likely to jump and look for a new job before they are pushed.
  • Find the best people. At Property Personnel we work hard with you to find you the very best people to fill the roles that you have on offer. By finding the best fit we are then confident of providing you with someone who can do the job well and will be committed to your company.

Call us today to find out how we can help your business.