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Placed Australia

Inside the Mind of Top Real Estate Talent! Why Real Estate Agents Leave & the Retention Battle...

Updated: Apr 9



If one or more of your top Real Estate Agents are about to leave your business...usually the Agency Principal or Manager is the last to know. Sure you might have a hunch they are unhappy about something...but what can you do right? You have a business to run and you can't please everyone...


The reality is, most Agency Principals are stuck between the fine lines of running a business, keeping the staff they have, and attracting more to help grow the business!


The saying coined by Sir Richard Branson, when asked about some of the contributing factors to his success in Business, came down to this lesson: "Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of your Business!".


It's a reasonable saying right? ...but what if you do look after your staff, and they still leave? What if you thought you were doing all the right things, but you just can't seem to plug the hole of staff leaving the business?


It's always super hard to simply recruit your way out of bad company culture. You need to address what causes the culture to form in the first place or it just keeps happening, no matter how many people join the team....


It simply comes down to one saying. "People don't leave companies, they leave people"

Do some leaders simply ignore their staff retention issues?



It has been demonstrated by HR professionals around the world, that instilling a company culture of listening and implementing changes based on the feedback from staff is one of the single biggest contributing factors to changing the culture of an entire business overnight...


We have learnt over the years, addressing concerns immediately goes a long way to ensuring staff stay. Some companies have even implemented open forums with staff once a week to bring up and address concerns & ideas. Some of the best innovations in company culture has stemmed from these types of forums, but it takes a strong leader to hear it and act on staff feedback...


5 Key Reasons Top Agents Leave:

#1 - Team Culture (or lack of)

#2 - Internal relationships (their not getting along with the team)

#3 - No clear progression plan for their future

#4 - Unachievable targets

#5 - Low commission splits (compared to others in the business)



Some top Agents even tell us they have brought up concerns with their Agency on several occasions but nothing changes. They start to become unhappy with the lack of action and feel that their contribution somewhat ignored or unimportant, especially if they know they are contributing to the business success consistently through their sales.


Listening & Actioning demonstrates to your staff that:

1) You care

2) You value their opinion

3) You are giving them some ownership in the process


These 3 things are all key ingredients to happy people at work some would say, but leadership is leadership...and making the entire team aware of the goals, restraints & financial commitments of the business can highlight key reasons why the company does things the way it does...and, if delivered the right way, people are more understanding that you would expect.



Find the Moles:

Most business's have moles. It's that person or people that keep feeding contempt, spreading rumours, talking smack and essentially creating doubt in the minds of the rest of your staff about the leadership or direction of a business. If you know who that person is or people are, no matter how good they are...you need to let them go yesterday!


These types of people are "the rotten apples" who will systematically implode your business from the inside out no matter what changes you make. You're honestly better off without them in your crew.

You will never plug the holes if you ignore these individuals. Once their out, you need to fill the gaps with good people who ooze positivity and are working as part of the team, not against it.


Leaders that don't act on this...and forge ahead regardless, can find themselves driving the Bus with more passengers jumping out than getting on...



Set the tone:

If things can't be changed...an open forum gives the Agency Principal a chance to explain why, and gives some reasoning around why things are the way they are. This can typically squash water cooler discussion between staff, that would otherwise allow conclusions to be drawn, regardless if you provided input or not!


Some Principals may even resign themselves to the fact they are going to have staff turnover. It's simply one of the pains of running a business right? Wrong! Ignoring staff retention is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it. You will never fill the first bucket let alone add a second one. You need a staff retention process inbuilt into your business growth strategy!


Getting the balance right is a very tricky thing...and it's different for all Agencies, but one things for sure..."Team Culture" can make or break a business and it is high on the list of reasons Top Performing Agents stay or go...



A good team culture will create staff advocacy for your Business. It's the very best marketing tool for attracting new talent you can get! When staff tell their peers, outside your business, how interactive and wonderful it is to work in your Agency, somehow attracting talent becomes a whole lot easier, but it works the other way around too...


It's a fact...most Top Agents are attracted to team culture before money!

Most top performing Real Estate Agents we speak with all have similar attributes. They are focused on success, they push their own limits and the limits of the people they work for. They know what works through experience and doing the work...and they know how much effort it takes to do well at it...


When we ask Top Agents why they are looking to leave, it's usually a good time to boil the kettle and settle in for some eye widening insight to the inner workings of an Agency and surprisingly enough...it's never really about money! 75% of the time, it's about the team culture...


Different Comm Splits for different Agents. Why this breeds contempt:

Some Agencies have different Agents on different commission structures. This is a sure-fire way to breed contempt within your organisation and create moles.


Most Principals think that negotiating a bigger commission split with unhappy top-performing Agents is the answer to keeping them happy...but we can safely say it's not. It might keep them around a little longer...but if nothing changes, nothing changes...and that top performer will more than likely leave anyway. You may simply be delaying the inevitable...and creating an air of resentment in other staff that aren't given the same split...


A solid, unwavering progression plan for all staff within any Agency is key. Laying out the performance guidelines for everyone, openly, gives everyone in the team a sense they can progress if they perform.


If someone performs, there is no doubt they deserve to be moved up in the chain to the higher commission split or the chance to build their own team etc. It makes it super easy for everyone in the team to rationalise.


When you're very clear and open with your entire team about "Hit this target, move up to this bracket" or "Don't hit it...and stay where you are until you do"... stops any animosity in it's tracks. All of a sudden, their future, earning potential & progression at work is in their own hands...



We all know that growing and maintaining a team of top sales performers in any Real Estate Agency is the goal for almost every Agency Principal. It doesn't matter if your just starting out in your business or you have one of the biggest brands in the country...the thirst for quality sales people is never-ending!


It goes without saying...the more people you have selling, the more sales you will make right? Sure, but maintaining the team you have is just as important as attracting more Agents to your brand. Top Performing Agents leaving brands sends ripples across the industry. Their peers immediately question why and draw their own conclusions...so the next time you approach someone to join your team, they may already have a pre-conceived idea of your brand or agency culture...good or bad!


The biggest Recruitment attraction tool any Agency has is their culture! If it's fostered correctly, you should have people calling you asking for Jobs all the time...


Teaming up with a specialist Recruiter that understands the market, the objective and the end game is quite valuable in establishing market awareness and attracting the right Agents.


A good Recruiter can change the game for your business and, if you let them in and explain your vision, goals and current issues...you can build an ally that can carry your message directly to other Agents throughout the market and have persuasive influence over their decision making process.


If you would like to speak with us about your Real Estate Recruitment needs, or you might be looking to join a new Agency... please contact Placed Australia Real Estate Recruitment today.


We are specialists in Recruiting all things Real Estate across Australia.







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