Culture is a word for the “way of life” of groups of people, meaning the “way we do things.” Real estate culture is represented in our language, values, traditions, relationships, goals, beliefs, and behaviors. What happens when the “way we do things” changes with remote working?
The morning commute is now down the hall at home rather than to the office. Team members are now alone, isolated from their tribe. As a brokerage or team leader, how do you maintain the culture – the language, values, traditions, relationships, goals, beliefs, and behaviors in this environment?
A recently published research report by Seth Mattison, Founder of FutureSight Labs, and David Allison, Founder of Valuegraphics and author of “We Are All the Same Age Now,” offers a template for leaders wanting to maintain connection and culture in a world of remote work.
During the pandemic, 67% of employees were working from home at least part time, and 44% full time. Going forward, 74% of employers plan to keep at least some of their workers remote. As a result, the “way we do things” has changed.
When physically working together is no longer an option, having the ability to influence, communicate, and create shared visions across digital landscapes becomes an indispensable skill. Here’s a template:
What we value determines what we do.
If we know what people value, we can influence their behavior. Responses from a half-million surveys mapping 436 metrics on what people value provides three themes.
- Relationships. Employees are now feeling isolated and starved for connection with others. Your response: Leverage both digital and analog solutions to reaffirm your real estate culture.
- Set aside five minutes at the start of video meetings for open dialogue and connection.
- Amplify your personal notes, phone calls, and face to face interaction. A CEO of a large real estate company has committed to 10 phone calls or personal notes a day to his people. He calls them his “daily deposits” into his relationships.
- Create events that encourage your people to connect.
2. Improving + Ownership = Security. The margins between these values are so small it’s best to think of them altogether as a trifecta of values. In other words, being better every day, holding oneself accountable, and feeling financially secure are all equally important and deeply valued. Your response:
- Tie financial security to clearly defined expectations.
- Define what success looks like and show them the activities (a road map) to get there.
- Let them know, “You got this! If you need help, I’ve got your back.”
3. Acknowledgement. Some 86% of those surveyed said they do not feel acknowledged. The isolated virtual environment has left them starved for recognition. They are star athletes playing in an empty stadium. Your response:
- Your most powerful acknowledgment tool as a leader is your presence. Show up! In a world of cheap celebrations and easy virtual high-fives, nothing beats the feeling created when busy leaders make time to truly see and be with their people. It creates a solid real estate culture.
- Your “daily deposits” of personal notes, emails, and phone calls are critical here. Commit a minimum of one-hour a day to this important task and you will see dramatic results in your culture. Implementation of simple but powerful strategies to say I see you, you matter, and your efforts are appreciated drive performance.
- Create digital scoreboards so your team can see their results – both individually as well as for the entire group. In the remote world, it is impossible to over communicate.
- Find any reason to celebrate – both the individual and the group.
The three themes described above (and your actions in response) are what top leaders have been doing all along. These actions are even more critical now in the era of remote work. Follow this template and you will not only influence your people’s behavior, you will build an even stronger culture.