Even prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the residential real estate brokerage industry, like many others, was gradually evolving toward more remote work. The pandemic, as we know all too well, greatly accelerated this trend, by immediately forcing tens of millions of Americans to work from home.
As many as 50 percent of the workforce could continue to work from home after the pandemic passes, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. Remote work is poised to become the new normal. This means real estate companies will have to become adept at building and operating remote super teams.
The good news is building a remote team is a skill that can be learned. There are five key skills that, once mastered, can help you build a remote super team; they are: learn who and how to hire, create a powerful communication plan, set clear expectations, document your processes, leverage tools and systems. These skills are explored below.
Learn how to hire
Learning how to hire in the context of building a super remote team requires refining the practice of hiring virtually and knowing how to hire the best people who excel in a remote environment. The skill of virtual hiring requires creating a process that can be implemented via Zoom and with online tools.
Hiring the right person becomes easier in a remote situation because the option for remote work increases the talent pool. This means real estate leaders have the opportunity to hire professionals that better fit their needs.
Evaluating potential successful remote hires involves looking for professionals who are self-motivated yet collaborative, trustworthy, have excellent writing skills and who like a social workplace. Those who like a social workplace will seek engagement with others regardless of the environment.
When assessing candidates, look for a track record of excellence and passion for the work and the industry. People that require little or no supervision and yet still want to collaborate are ideal for remote work. Hiring those who have already demonstrated high levels of performance for a specific role and have a track record or remote success reduces the hiring risk.
Create a powerful communication plan
The effectiveness of spreading company culture revolves around the flow of information. Everyone in the organization needs to feel like they have access to the information, tools and support they need to be successful. Information needs to be written or recorded and available for people to consume when they need it.
Transparency is a key to success in a remote work environment and this often feels uncomfortable at first. This requires a commitment to inclusion at levels that might have been off limits before.
One of the keys to building a remote super team is over-communication. This requires a communication plan to ensure that cross team collaboration and communication happens regularly.
Set clear expectations
Setting clear expectations begins in the hiring process. A thorough job description includes the top three key performance indicators (KPIs) for a role. These KPIs should then be translated into action plans in the first 90-days and a weekly one-on-one ensures action taken is effective and will ensure fulfillment of the overall objective.
Translating KPIs to action plans with a weekly call helps produce a culture of accountability while establishing a framework to support the employee's overall success in the role.
During weekly meetings, structure the agenda to personalize communication (ask questions to find out how the employee is doing personally and professionally), state the desired result, define and report metrics, check for understanding, monitor results, and then provide feedback. This ongoing feedback loop is a way to stay connected and action-oriented while moving towards goal completion.
Documenting processes has always been important but in a remote work situation, they are imperative. If processes are not written down, it is impossible to transfer knowledge from one person to another without an immense amount of time, energy and resources.
These days, there are various ways to document processes that can be nimble and agile. Short videos with screen capture to record how to do something can be used or Zoom can be used to record a training session and then use Otter.ai to transcribe it.
At the end, you would have the training video and the written process for future use. Best practice as a remote team is to record and document processes and systems on a daily basis and store this information in Dropbox or a learning management platform.
Leverage tools and systems
Leveraging tools and systems means equipping your team with the right tools to support their success. Some of the fundamental remote super team tools include instant messaging, CRM, video equipment and software, password storage, document storage, document collaboration, e-signature platform, proposal software platform, scheduling software, dictation tool, and planning and project management tools.
Some of the tools that the T3 Sixty team uses are: Slack, Zoom, Last Pass, Monday.com, Dropbox, Salesforce, Otter.ai, Gmail, Drive, Evernote, Schedule Once, and BombBomb.
To begin building a remote super team, start by making an assessment of your company’s current skill in each of these five areas. Once you determine how well you are doing in each of the key areas, then you can decide what you want to do to improve.
As a leader, growing and building your team is critical to your overall success. Additionally, a strategic by-product of growing your team, is the personal growth you will experience from becoming more skilled in the key areas of success. Reach out to Kelly White, head of T3 Talent, for perspective or help in building a remote super team at firstname.lastname@example.org.