Avoiding HR Issues

Growing your team is an exciting, yet challenging time. It’s important to stay on top of the key elements of building and maintaining a successful team to ensure its longevity. 

As your real estate brokerage grows, you might notice a few things will need to be done to up the professionalism around your team. You might develop weekly meetings, institute a few new rules, find a bigger office.

A common mistake in a growing team is not addressing its human resources (HR) needs. 

Although you want to keep the atmosphere warm and friendly, it never hurts to have human resources information available in case conflict arises. That’s why we’ve created an introduction to developing a brokerage HR guide. 

Craft an HR plan 

The recruitment process can be done through social media, including LinkedIn, and more traditional methods, like word of mouth.

However, make sure your HR plan includes guidelines on how to recruit, develop and keep new employees. This is a crucial aspect of avoiding HR issues that will save you time and money in the long run. 

We all know that hiring can be a tricky process but do your best to avoid hiring mistakes. 

Take your time through the recruitment process. It might take more time, but it proves worth the efforts in the end. Do a thorough screening of candidates, check references and make sure they are a good fit with your company’s culture.

Here is our advice on how to develop an HR guide and introduce you to the most important terms to become familiar with. 

Brokerage culture inclusivity

Building brokerage culture is already a lot of work and you need to make sure you’re doing it within guidelines and regulations.

Part of your workplace culture is to foster inclusivity. This means everyone will be included, especially those who might be excluded or marginalized because of physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups.

If not, you could have a serious problem, both ethically and legally, on your hands.

There are a number of factors that contribute to a workplace environment. Certain personalities can clash and create problematic behavior that can lead to a form of harassment. According to a survey on Inman, some have expressed their discomfort in certain circumstances. As a leader, you will need to stay vigilant and address any and all concerns. 

Here’s how

  1. Create and communicate your company’s policy. 
  2. You need to properly train management, yourself included, and staff on the policy.
  3. If you receive a complaint, investigate it thoroughly. 
  4. Remember, harassment isn’t’ just in the office. It can occur outside it, too.
  5. Make sure you prevent harassment. Do not encourage it. 
  6. Learn about new types of harassment and share information with your staff. 
  7. Make your zero tolerance policy known and enforced.

On the plus side, most leaders in the industry act professionally. In the same Inman survey, when asked if leaders within companies engage in inappropriate behavior, a resounding 88.2 percent said “no”. 

The survey also showed that over half, 55.4 percent, of respondents said that leaders at their company were “very committed to diversity”. While this is the slight majority, it’s something to be keenly aware of when looking to avoid HR issues. 

Creating your own policy manuals

Writing and putting forward your own HR guide is a challenge, especially with your real estate business still going on. 

However, it’s one of the key elements to keep your real estate brokerage running smoothly. 

It’s absolutely crucial these days that you have written documentation about your brokerage’s policies and procedures. That way, there’s no confusion around it.

You will need to complete an understandable guide that your team can refer to in order to solve disputes, prevent disputes and ensure the overall success and reputation of your team.

Pitfalls of not having an HR plan

Not being organized in this area of business leads to some major issues that range from low- to high-risk. 

For example, if the hiring process is not part of the HR plan, it could be inconsistent and inefficient. It will end up wasting your time, money and could potentially lead to discrimination claims. 

You need to think carefully about the skills that are required for the position and be able to justify why you hired the person you did. You can do this by having a checklist through the interview process and use it consistently with every potential new hire.

Once hired, make sure you are clear about the employee structure. Inform them, on paper, whether they are an employee, a worker or self-employed. This is very important for them and for yourself when dealing in paperwork down the line.

You must also protect your own company interests from the beginning. This includes your client connections, staff and intellectual property. This is sensitive information and needs to be protected.

Another thing to remember, you don’t need to know everything about employees’ rights, but you need a basic understanding of them. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a human resource professional and get any advice or guidance when you are unsure about something.

For example, if you dismiss someone incorrectly, the situation could escalate. An unfair dismissal could mean compensation for the former employee. 

If someone has been off work sick for several weeks, take the time to understand why. You may discover that the person has a broader, underlying issue. 

Don’t forget, this isn’t a comprehensive HR guide. Instead, think of it as an important introductory guide to avoiding HR issues at your real estate brokerage. If you need more information, you should consult an HR professional. 

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