How to build and keep GREAT teams

As I go around speaking to agents from all across the country, I keep hearing the same thing, where are all the staff… from city centre, to rural, from northern to southern, the same problem exists everywhere, it’s very hard to find and hire good staff to work in agency and right now, harder than ever and made me think, what makes a good recruitment strategy?

If finding good staff is getting harder, probably not helped with the current attack on our industry from all sides, making the environment tough, then it’s time we all look at becoming better at staff retention, coming up with solutions to make our teams feel more involved, part of the team and success of our businesses, and in with us for the long haul, but having a “happy Staff” policy of some type.

Talking to many agents, there are so many ways to do this, of course, there are incentives such as bonuses, commissions and pay, even providing lunch… but as we all know, humans are emotional beings and if we REALLY want our staff to stay, we need to connect with them emotionally somehow, to make them part of the story.

So how do we do that? How do we make the staff members feel part of the team, part of the family, part of the success, how can we show them what their individual success will be when the company achieves what it sets out to achieve? Because surely if your dream and their dream is the same, then you have a much stronger chance of achieving it by way of the team pulling together for a shared goal and vision

So right now, more than ever I believe in our agencies, we need to look at ways to engage our teams and bring them into the vision, give them purpose and work together, and I believe there are 3 main components to doing this.

  • Nurture
  • Development
  • Reward

HOW to keep and build GREAT teams - Nurture

Nurture- Work on the person, and their REAL needs, just like family would…

Work on the PERSON and their personal development, so they can see themselves GROW and become better for having worked with you and feel supported, this is how you foster real LOYALTY on steroids!

It sounds soppy, but sometimes as employers we forget the challenges that our staff may be facing and their lack of resources to solve their issues, so help them.

In the past we have paid off nursery debts, short term rented accommodation for them, replaced blown tyres, paid for adult education, driving lessons and even bought cars for stuck staff, but all in all it is about talking and identifying problems that they may have and being FAMILY, helping them.

That would costs a fortune I hear many say… Just think about the cost of recruitment, gaps in staffing, loss of business from downtime, trust me, this pays dividends, and your staff will be singing your praises about how wonderful you are as a boss too. They apologise if they have to leave!

If they are not in need of some sort of support then work on them personally, give them opportunities to experience things they would never normally experience, to broaden their horizons, new restaurants, types of food, theatre, ballet, motor racing… whatever gets them excited.

HOW to keep and build GREAT teams - Develop

Develop – Work on their career plans WITH them, so that if they leave, they leave more than a JOB

Over the years, I’ve really focused on this with my teams, using something I call a Staff Goal Planner, meeting with them every quarter to review progress on them achieving THEIR goals.

We share with them the vision for our company and the department they work in and then ask questions like, “what’s your life plan” and “where do we fit in” “what would you like to achieve here” and then every month work with them on THEIR plan, help them develop the skills, they need to become whatever they want to be. This means that they can see that you as their employer are invested in their future, and they can see how their future fits into the future plans of the company too and what their career path looks like, and so do you!

HOW to keep and build GREAT teams - Reward

Reward – Build in exciting, achievable REWARDS that get them striving to succeed.

Once a team has achieved something, they can never again say it cannot be done… so WHAT would you DREAM of your team doing… well how about setting that BHAG goal with a WOWZER reward attached to it?

If we secure 50 lets this month, I’ll take you ALL to NEW YORK for the weekend!

For our Liverpool team of ladies, the one thing they all wanted for some reason, was to get ME on a NIGHT OUT in LIVERPOOL with them, so I set the target, ok, 30 lets next month and I will take you out for a swanky cocktail evening and dinner in the Pool, and they worked their socks off that month to achieve it… and did. What an interesting night that was, for both them and ME!

By having a policy such as above, as we have had for many years, has really helped me build a core team of loyal, experienced hard working senior team members, who now work to develop the guys under them, which I love to see, as the system develops and grows, and new success stories emerge.

I’m happy to hear any other solutions you may have, so please connect with me on social media, and tell me, how you create a “Happy Staff” Policy… you can find me on:


Sally Lawson