Franchise creates innovative agent retention fund

A Melbourne group is about to launch a staff incentive scheme designed to turn agents into shareholders who never want to leave.

Hodges will start its Future Office Fund on 1 January, with agents to receive $100 for every sale they make.

Agents will then be able to use the money to buy into their existing office as a director or to open an office of their own – although they won’t be able to cash out their account.

Chief executive Carmel Baker, who joined the 12-office network in September, said she came up with the idea while touring the franchises and discovering what she described as the high calibre of staff.

“I wanted to find a way to encourage them to be with our business over the long term. In this day and age, people tend not to stay with one organisation as long as our parents used to,” she told REB.

“It’s about saying, ‘If you’re good at something and you perform well, we want you to stay and we want to help you succeed’.”

Ms Baker said the Future Office Fund is designed to get agents to think about their long-term future and increase their financial security.

It should make the group more attractive to potential recruits, according to Ms Baker.

“Certainly from a recruitment point of view, it adds a very enticing component to joining the Hodges business,” she said.

Hodges also plans to make the Future Office Fund available to property managers sometime next year. “We’re just working through that with our franchisees as we speak,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Baker said she wants to increase office numbers by about 50 per cent next year, which would expand the network from 12 to 18 offices.

That is likely to include a new St Kilda office, after McGrath Estate Agents persuaded the existing St Kilda business to become the company’s first Melbourne site.

“St Kilda, having just left the group, enjoyed significant success while they were with us. There’s no doubt that the phones will be ringing now to snap up that opportunity,” she said.

“One good thing about our brand is that it attracts some top performers, so we’re anticipating that we’ll have a number of enquiries from people in that region.”

[Related: Employer of Choice survey reveals top groups]

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