Agents should be given longer induction periods to avoid mistakes and retain staff, an industry trainer claims.
Charlotte Jeffrey-Campbell, director of The Able Agent training platform, said many companies continue to operate two-week induction periods, which is “simply not enough” when it comes to socialisation, building working relationships within their team and getting to grips with daily operations.
Writing for Estate Agent Today, Jeffrey-Campbell argues that agency owners and managers need to really focus on their induction programmes and ask themselves whether they are serving the best interests of the new starters, but also the business.
She said: “Neither does it help them to become embedded into the business and the processes, nor to begin demonstrating loyalty to their employer. The concern being that we are seeing many staff leave within their first three months, which is a huge cost for employers.
“I’d argue that a lengthier, and therefore more comprehensive induction training period is vital, for example, one which lasts for three months or right up to when a staff member’s probation period is due.
“To be given the strongest career foundations, new starters need comprehensive business introductions, to cover everything including guidance on operations to meeting the rest of the team, and handling clients.
“Such a programme will inevitably be time-consuming, with manpower and resource needed, but it is guaranteed to pay dividends. Because – ultimately – a short or poor induction not only reduces the ability of new starters to become fee earners earlier on in their career, but it will also have an impact on the loyalty they demonstrate for their new employers both in the medium- and long-term. It’s a case of getting out what you put in.”
She suggests the time has come for the introduction of induction packages, enabling new agents to learn at their own pace or in bite-size, manageable chunks.
Jeffrey-Campbell said: “This type of approach will encourage retention because information will be more easily absorbed and understood – with less pressure placed on the new starter.
“Whereas, in the case of a short induction period opportunities will be missed and mistakes more easily made, which could lead to a high rate of new starters leaving. In some instances, compensation because of poor service to clients may also be sought, where customers feel they weren’t provided the right levels of advice from the business.
“New agents given the right type of training from the outset can also be offered the opportunity of working towards qualifications. This will help to support them on their career journey and give them the motivation not only to succeed, but also to remain loyal to their employer – as they work towards their next career goal.
“Where time constraints impact managers when it comes to providing induction training, then they could instead look towards online resources, in order to ensure new starters aren’t held back.”