Covid and ongoing lockdowns have made it more important than ever for real estate principals to support the mental health of their teams. Here are six easy steps every office and principal can take.
All principals and directors have a legal – as well as a moral – duty to care for the mental wellbeing of their employees and heavy penalties can apply in the event it is neglected. This issue was raised in an article in REB last month.
But how can you offer this care, and what structures should you have in place in your business? Chris Hanley, head of the Rise Initiative, and principal at First National Byron, recommends taking the following steps.
Make work a safe place
Every workplace needs policies that outline your commitment to creating a safe workplace, free from violence, bullying and harassment both physical and verbal. Even with staff working from home, poor behaviour can still occur. Make sure you are clear about how you handle complaints. Remember that the behaviour you ‘walk past’ – even if it’s during a Zoom meeting – is the behaviour you are judged by – so remain vigilant.
Normalise conversations about mental wellness
The pandemic has put mental health in the spotlight as many of us struggle with boredom, frustration, anxiety or depression created from the ongoing lockdowns and changes to our lifestyles and routines. If anyone in our teams suffered an illness or accident, we’d have no hesitation to check in on how they were feeling, and we need to normalise inquiry about mental health in the same way. Make time in your team meetings to check in on everyone and make sure you genuinely listen to the responses. Don’t be scared to share your own experiences. To support this, Rise has created a series of posters and resources to stick in the kitchen or about the office. You can access them here.
Provide tools that support mental health and encourage strong performance
Good habits – both physical and mental – are key to delivering strong performance and developing mental resilience. The Real Care app was developed by the real estate industry specifically to help agents and property managers relieve stress and anxiety, but also to support good habit creation and address issues around finance, budgeting, sleep and exercise. Download it from the iTunes or GooglePlay and make downloading it part of your onboarding processes for new staff.
Establish KPIs that reward team-driven outcomes
GCI is a one-dimensional way of measuring real estate performance and it frequently encourages one-dimensional behaviour. Financial goals tend to support bigger ambitions and ways we define ourselves – as good parents, partners and people. Real estate is increasingly a team sport so make sure your KPI – key performance indicators – reward behaviours that build the team rather than pitting them against each other.
Deliver mental wellness training that focuses on processes, not just outcomes
Not all training needs to focus on cold calling, scripts and dialogues, ways to achieve GCI or use the latest tech tool. Building mental resilience, good habits, and processes that support great customer experiences, team building and work/life balance can be extremely valuable and support a more rounded approach to real estate that is more emotionally rewarding and amplifies results. If you’d like one of our Rise members to present to your team at your next sales meeting, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Provide access to an Employee Assistance Program
An awful 12% of real estate employees feel they have no one to talk to when they are upset or stressed according to the Revive Research of 2017. An Employee Assistance Program provides access to counselling services for your team members for those times when they need to talk to a professional. All sessions are completely confidential and most feature access to up to three phone appointments. These can be expensive to put in place as an employer. But as part of the Real Care app, there is access to an EAP courtesy of our supporters, Domain, that is free to use as part of the app.
The Real Care app has been created with extensive consultation from the real estate industry and is free for all agents and property managers. To find out more and download the Real Care app click here.
Author: Kylie Davis
Promoted by: Rise Initiative