While not exactly a new concept in the real estate industry, working remotely is becoming more common. The lack of face-to-face interaction between colleagues can lead to concerns about an eroding company culture, but that need not be the case. Explore various ways to improve company culture for a remote workforce in real estate below.
Company Culture Is Key
Speaking to industry news site Inman, three real estate executives expressed their conviction that focusing on company culture is a key aspect of transitioning to digital work environments. That focus can extend to maintaining a healthy culture into the future.
Beth Marceau, senior talent acquisition recruiter for Knock, said that a company culture focus was essential for businesses to thrive in trying times, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. She explained that the company’s core values set the tone for all the team’s communications, decisions and tasks.
Marceau added that all staff members understand those values, thanks to efforts on the part of the company’s leadership. She elaborated that the core values get summed up in the acronym ‘POPSICLE’—Passionate, Open, People first, Simplicity, Impact, Courage, Learning, and Enjoying life.
RJ Jones, executive vice president of growth and finance at eXp World Holdings, said that building trust is an important factor when working remotely. It’s easier to do this when the company has strong core values all employees understand.
Jones added that all employees, the remote workforce included, should get encouraged to develop a sense of cohesion and interdependency. Employees should be mindful of their trust in, and dependence on, one another.
As important as it is to create a strong sense of awareness of core values, there is more to it. Chris Taylor, director of talent for BoomTown, said leaders should reinforce the company’s goals as well as what’s expected from the workforce on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. He added that clarity and conciseness are essential in those communications.
As seen from what these real estate executives said about company culture and remote workforce, there’s no single approach. Instead, it requires a combination of solutions.
Tips For Improving Company Culture
The following tips for improving company culture come from people that hold various positions in various industries. They all have something in common—they’ve all had experience with remote workforce. Use the tips that are most relevant to your employees’ and your real estate company’s needs.
Put Effort Into Communication
Karla Bylund of Soaring Bird Solutions LLC told Forbes magazine that you need to put real effort into communicating with employees, as company culture is instilled via daily interactions. You don’t have the opportunity to acknowledge employees in hallways or at the water cooler, so check in with them regularly via email, phone call, or video call.
Remember the principles of good communication in the workplace when doing so; principles such as transparency, respect, and approachability. Bylund also recommended including the remote workforce in all meetings they ordinarily would attend at the office.
Use Multiple Communication Methods
As mentioned above, use various communication methods to improve company culture for a remote workforce in real estate. Don’t limit yourself to email or phone calls. Take advantage of video calling platforms such as Zoom, and instant messenger apps such as WhatsApp for group and individual chat.
Ana Flor of ATTOM Data Solutions echoed Bylund’s words. She explained people like receiving information in different formats. If you limit your communication to one channel only, such as email, it may cause your remote workers to feel a greater sense of disconnection. Use different methods of communication to make them feel included.
Schedule Regular Meetings
Working remotely doesn’t equate to the absence of regularity. Remember this when scheduling virtual meetings with your remote workers. Besides setting a regular time and day for a weekly team meeting, set times and days for weekly meetings with individual employees.
Kristi Kaczarowski of The Certo Team said that her real estate company’s team meets bi-weekly to catch up on their professional and personal lives.
If employees have achieved high sales figures, are eager to improve their skills by studying online, or have excelled in any other area of the business, meetings are a good time to discuss these topics. Doing so makes employees feel heard and respected, and increases their motivation.
Remember The Human Side In Conversation
It can be easy to focus on business matters and to forget about the human side of employees. Especially when most, if not all, your communication with them happens virtually.
Make a point of allowing some personal space in your meetings and conversations with remote workers. Philippe Clarinval of Carlton Hotel St Moritz told Forbes that small personal gestures that are relevant to the recipient and that are well-timed can be meaningful.
Send Personalised Notes And Care Packages
Handwritten notes and care packages can be a powerful way to improve company culture for a remote workforce in real estate. The care packages can contain something as simple as a branded shirt, a coffee cup, or another small gift.
Along with a personalised note, the care package shows appreciation and is a nice reminder that you value employees who work remotely.
Connect Employees With Each Other
Water cooler conversations and office banter are part of in-office company culture. But remote workers don’t have the benefit of enjoying a quick catch-up with colleagues while making a cup of coffee. Solve that by creating intentional virtual coffee meetings and team-building sessions that include icebreakers and conversation cues.
The intention is to get remote workers talking to one another. Cat Colella-Graham of Cheer Partners said that creating connections can help in-office and remote workers deal with loneliness.
Celebrate Company Culture
In addition to improving company culture and instilling it in remote workers, you should celebrate it too. Adelaida Sofia Diaz-Roa of the Young Entrepreneur Council explained that her company, Nomo FOMO, uses Slack channels to celebrate its culture.
Diaz-Roa told Forbes that their #kudos and #failwall channels on the platform keep employees updated about positive reinforcements of the company culture. These are moments everyone can learn from. The #music, and #photos channels are virtual spaces in which employees can have fun.
We’re In This Together
Company culture, team spirit, and a sense of belonging within a real estate company are inseparable. Use the above tips to enhance the experience for a remote workforce in your company.