Ensuring staff feel valued, allowing flexible working patterns and providing small rewards for good work are key to a happy workplace and good staff retention, according to the ABA Residential Broker of the Year 2020.
Smartline franchise owner Cathy Anderson has owned her business for 15 years, servicing clients across Adelaide, South Australia.
According to Ms Anderson, having a strong and dedicated team is key to her success. She went on to reveal that most of her employees have been working in her brokerage for a very long time, while even those who have left worked at the brokerage for a seven- to 10-year tenure before they departed.
Speaking to The Adviser, the key to good staff retention is ensuring staff feel valued, allowing flexible working patterns and providing small rewards for good work, Ms Anderson said.
“You have to realise that they’re real people and they have families and lives,” she told The Adviser.
“I’ve always been of the opinion that people should have a flexible working environment.”
To facilitate this kind of working environment, Ms Anderson said she likes to employ staff on a part-time basis, where they can work either seven-day fortnights or nine-day fortnights so that they can balance their work with their personal lives.
She said she has also made a conscious attempt to reward staff for their work by remunerating them well and offering rewards such as weekly lunches, cheese and wine platters, or birthday cakes.
She added that she cares for her staff and ensures that “they feel needed and they feel respected and they’re also empowered to do their job”.
“As an employer and especially in this industry, you have to trust and empower your staff to act in the client’s best interests and your best interests in processing an application,” Ms Anderson said.
“They have to own their role. I feel that I have been able to give them that opportunity.”
According to Ms Anderson, as well as making her team feel happy, the trust and flexibility provided to them also boosts productivity.
“I’ve found that then they’ve been more focused on when they’re at work, they’re really present at work,” Ms Anderson explained.
She added: “I have built a business where I have tried to be a circle of influence around my clients, cultivating their needs and cultivating the relationship I have with them so that the business has then naturally grown because people have felt that they can trust me and trust the decisions and guidance that I’ve given them over the years,” she said.
Growing through challenges
Ms Anderson said the greatest challenge she has had to overcome in her career is fear of whether she would succeed in her career and her business.
“I think we actually hold ourselves back more than we should,” she said.
“Every now and then I have to re-energise myself and make that next step forward. I think it’s the fear of the unknown and overcoming that each time.”
She concluded: “I think the biggest challenge now is also an opportunity. So, try and see all these current changes as opportunity for growth and opportunity to become more important in people’s lives.”
Tune in to this week’s episode of the Elite Broker podcast with Cathy Anderson to learn more about how she leads her award-winning brokerage.
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Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.
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