Sensei of real estate

Recruitment specialist Melissa Karatjas believes mentoring programs are the answer to staff turnover. Here’s how you can implement them in your office

PROVIDING APPROPRIATE mentors within the workplace has proven to be instrumental in staff retention. Thee training and development that workplace mentors provide can be vastly more effective, personal and specialised than other training programs.

Unlike traditional programs, which are often expensive and time consuming, mentoring provides a cost-effective alternative for expanding your employees’ skill sets and keeping them invested in the company.

Mentoring is effective at any stage, but it’s particularly important as part of the induction process. A strong induction program will include a mentoring plan that identities which types of mentor are likely to be needed at different stages and who would be most appropriate to _ fill those roles – making mentoring far less reactive in the future.

Mentoring can occur across all areas of real estate, and the range of positive outcomes is considerable.

One example might be a sales cadet working in a master or apprentice style mentorship with a senior sales agent. By clearly defining the mentoring program, strategies can be put in place for the senior sales staff to take an active role in developing the skills and contributions of the junior employee.

Creating accountability on both sides provides a training method for the broader company, while keeping the cost of training down and decreasing staff turnover as junior staff will have no need to look elsewhere for leadership.

A leasing consultant could be partnered with a property manager upon induction. Leasing consultant roles are usually _ filled by those entering the industry and often need guidance from experienced superiors.

An induction mentoring program will mean inexperienced staff are able to quickly gain skills and become ‘part of the team’.

As staff move through the property management department, they will move from mentee to mentor, continuing the process. The mentoring system should also be implemented to help induct receptionists, by having them meet regularly with senior administration staff.

Many receptionists take on the role as an entry point to real estate.

Developing a mentoring program can give receptionists the opportunity to regularly meet with more senior staff to develop a plan of action, creating a direct line of promotion.

However, for any mentoring relationship to be effective, both parties must be willing participants, happy to be accountable and to demonstrate mutual respect.

The key principles that need to be outlined and documented prior to the program beginning are:

• Relationship – While the relationship between the mentor and the mentee will be close, boundaries between work and personal issues must be clearly defined

• Focus – The purpose of the mentoring program must be identified

• Expectations – What is the goal of the relationship?

• Confidentiality – Things said within the mentoring relationship are confidential. Should any issue arise that cannot remain confidential, a clear strategy of dealing with the issue including bringing in a third party should be outlined

• Frequency and timeframe – How oft en do the parties need to meet and how long will the relationship last?

• Accountability – What will each party take responsibility for? How is that measured?

• Communication – How often do the parties communicate and how? How is negative feedback communicated?

• Evaluation – When and how will the relationship be reviewed to assess its effectiveness?

• Closure – Ensure the relationship is ended definitively but with the option for mentoring to continue in the future where appropriate

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