Onboarding New Agent Team Members

It’s a very exciting time when new agents join your team. You now get to share with them your team’s culture and set them up for success.

Whether your new hire is brand new to real estate or just new to your team, it doesn’t really matter. You want to make sure they grasp your systems and models before being allowed to work on their own. It’s imperative that the new agent hire understands what is expected of them and equally important, why you expect it of them.

Then, you’ll train them on each program you use for contract generation, digital signatures, database, marketing, action plans, lead generation, etc. All of those programs can be overwhelming to a new hire because it can be difficult to remember which program does what until the agent actually needs it.

Here are some things you’ll want to be prepared to do when you want to get a new agent hire up to speed:

  1. Build out your onboarding checklist in your database (CRM). That way, the agent will be forced to use the CRM in order to get up to speed. Most CRMs include a way to build out checklists. They are usually named something like Action Plans, Workflows, SmartPlans, or something similar.
  2. In your onboarding plan, you’ll want to identify each item your new agent hire is responsible for and the date you want them to do it, or the deadline for getting it done. These are items like “Call our photographer Molly at 555-123-9876 to arrange a portrait photo session” or “Meet with Elizabeth to set up your Google account for our company.” You’ll obviously want to identify the items that you need to do as well such as “Order 10 sign riders from buildasign.com”
  3. When creating your onboarding plan, create it as though the person is brand new to real estate. If someone with real estate experience joins your team and doesn’t need training on certain things, don’t let them just skip over those things. Check their knowledge before allowing them to mark those things done. Your new hire is used to doing things their own way; not the team’s way. Make sure they are doing it the team’s way. For example, we like our contracts to close before noon. So we don’t just write in a closing date on our contracts, we write in “8/25/19 before noon” so that funding can take place that same day. Making sure your new hires understand these types of nuances will prevent frustration down the road.
  4. Include links to all the websites your new hire will need and instruct them to bookmark those links on their computer. Better yet, help them create and organize those bookmarks yourself. This way, you won’t get questions like, “Where do I find the legal description for a property in Jackson County?” or “Can you send me the form I need to fill out to request listing documents from you?” If their bookmarks are clearly marked, you’ll save yourself so much time in the future!
  5. If your company has videos or you’ve created training videos of your own, make those part of your onboarding tasks in the CRM. Include links to anything you want them to watch. Create a short list of questions for them to answer and send to you so you be sure they’ve actually wanted them.
  6. Typically new agents are hired as independent contractors. Because of that status, it is illegal to require them to show up and work at any specific time or in any specific way. What you can do is create a list of things that need to be done in order to be eligible to receive leads on your team. For instance, you can ask that agents participate in a morning huddle at 8:00 AM every morning either in person or by phone and if they don’t participate in at least 4 of every 5 huddles, then they are out of lead rotation for a day. Again, being very clear about what “participation” means is important. 
  7. Onboarding new agents takes time. When you’ve already got a to-do list a mile long, it can be frustrating to take time out of your schedule to get new people up to speed. And yet, it’s important that you do. Understand that this new person is just as important to the team’s success as you are. Your relationship with this person will be established during this onboarding process and you’ll want to make sure that relationship is solid if you want to work in a peaceful, cooperative environment. Time block your weeks carefully to include time with the new hire and time completing items on your to-do list so that you can visually see that you have time for both.

Retaining top talent means setting them up for success in the beginning. Establishing standards and work rituals will help that process. If you see that your new hire isn’t grasping something, plan to spend more time with that person. You’ll be glad you did.

What’s your best advice when onboarding new agent team members? Leave a comment.

What’s been your biggest frustration when onboarding new team members? Leave a comment and I’ll respond.

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