Why real estate offers a flexible and rewarding career

The world of work is constantly changing: globalization, big data, technology, talent shortages and shifting demographics. These pressures are influencing the way we work and what we choose to do as a profession.

As real estate professionals, you control your own success. From when you work to how you work, the real estate industry offers individuals a flexible work environment and opportunities to succeed.

<h2><strong>Flexible culture experience</strong></h2>
Working in real estate has offered <a href=”https://www.realtor.ca/agent/1419501/cherie-y-myre-1542-dundas-street-west-mississauga-ontario-l5c1e4″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Cherie Myre</a> a career filled with flexibility.

“I have raised two boys while working as a real estate sales representative and I am happy to say I haven’t missed one soccer game, pizza lunch or vacation because of work,” she said. “I even took a year off to move to the Middle East with my family and, of course I missed out on a couple of sales, but most of my clients were there when I returned home. I kept in touch with them from afar on Facebook and sent them holiday cards and personal notes throughout the year.”

<a href=”https://www.realtor.ca/agent/1384035/ralph-fyfe-360-mcmillan-avenue-winnipeg-manitoba-r3l0n2#firstname=Ralph+&amp;lastname=Fyfe&amp;page=1&amp;sort=3-A” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Ralph Fyfe</a>, who has worked as a real estate professional with <a href=”https://www.century21.ca/ralph.fyfe” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Century 21 Bachman &amp; Associat</a>es for close to four decades, <a href=”https://www.crea.ca/cafe/real-estate-runs-in-the-family/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>echoes Myre’s sentiment</a>.

“I think the biggest plus of being in real estate is you get to define your own pay cheque and you get to define your own schedule,” he said.

More than ever, brokerages and associations are offering flexible, customizable options to make their office culture more attractive, such as:
<li>working from home;</li>
<li>flexible start and leave times;</li>
<li>paid time off;</li>
<li>volunteering days;</li>
<li>casual dress; and</li>
<li>innovative, open work spaces.</li>

<h2><strong>Priorities for the future</strong></h2>
While a career in real estate may not be for everyone, Myre says the feeling she gets every time she helps someone buy a home is priceless.

“Recently, I’ve been receiving selfies from my buyers when they pick up their keys and cross over the threshold of their new home for the first time. The joy on their faces is priceless and makes my heart really happy,” she said.

Myre said real estate professionals must decide early on what kind of agent they want to be and what type of clients they want to work with.

“It is imperative REALTORS® build and maintain deep relationships with their clients and within the community they work … The best source of clients are people who know and trust you. These are clients you can create loyalty with by building on that foundation,” she said.

<a href=”https://www.realtor.ca/agent/1935000/amanda-lirusso-200-101-st-andrew-street-west-fergus-ontario-n1m1n6#firstname=Amanda+&amp;lastname=Lirusso&amp;page=1&amp;sort=3-A” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Amanda Lirusso</a>, an agent with <a href=”http://redbrickreb.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Red Brick Real Estate Brokerage Ltd.</a>, is inspired by “helping people find their dream home.” For Lirusso, being in real estate is about getting people connected to a community and living a lifestyle of their choosing.

For <a href=”https://www.realtor.ca/agent/1416521/ann-e-bosley-290-merton-street-toronto-ontario-m4s1a9″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Ann</a> and Tom Bosley, <a href=”https://www.crea.ca/cafe/real-estate-runs-in-the-family-part-2/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>their agents are like a family</a>. With more than 250 people on staff, <a href=”https://bosleyrealestate.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Bosley Real Estate Ltd</a>. believes in treating all their agents the same.

“We actually know all the agents on our team. They come to our house parties and we try to offer a fun working environment,” Ann said, adding it’s been a part of their brand since the company started in 1928.

Roger Boutilier, CEO at the <a href=”https://www.nsrealtors.ca/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®</a> (NSAR), describes the renaissance taking place in his province’s market.  The cost of living in Nova Scotia is one of the lowest in Canada, yet there is a high quality of living. Being in “real estate is kind of sexy—you can make real estate what you want it to be,” Boutilier says.

In a recent <a href=”https://www.mercer.com/our-thinking/career/global-talent-hr-trends.html” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”><em>Mercer Global Trends</em></a> study detailing the top three priorities for the future, 61% of employees chose health, 23% chose wealth and 16% chose career.

<strong>Well-being:</strong> Employees are searching for a workplace that aligns with their personal values where they can build a sense of community with their peers. While real estate can be competitive, Lirusso finds “at Red Brick we work as a team where we help each other.” It’s this type of supportive, team-oriented approach that promotes a sense of community and overall well-being.

<strong>Wealth:</strong> Employees want to build wealth that can be customized to their needs—whether it’s contributing to retirement plans or matching contributions to a sabbatical leave.

<strong>Career:</strong> Employees want to continue to learn and develop for their current and future roles. Employees are engaged when they continue to evolve their expertise and add value. Boutilier has created a staff development fund for employees to attend conferences and engage in training so they can be better at their jobs. For agents, Boutilier describes the regulatory commitment to bring compulsory courses based on professional standards in support of agent growth and development.

<h2><strong>Performance coaching</strong></h2>
If your brokerage, board or association is planning to change their approach to performance management, below are four techniques you can introduce into your office.
<li><strong>Align organization, team and individual performance objectives.</strong> Discuss the organization objectives and key results with individual objectives and where they overlap. Boutilier describes how vision and strategic goals of the organization support the cascading of team and individual performance objectives. Each individual staff member creates action items aligned to the strategic goals. They are reviewed on a quarterly basis with a formal check in at mid-year.</li>
<li><strong>More transparency linking performance and compensation.</strong> Employees want to know how they are being rewarded for a job well done.</li>
<li><strong>Focus on coaching versus managing performance.</strong> Make continuous feedback and coaching the norm. Share feedback and ask for feedback. Lirusso appreciates Broker <a href=”https://www.realtor.ca/agent/1556659/randy-dickson-unit-201-56-111-farquhar-street-guelph-ontario-n1h3n4#firstname=Randy+&amp;lastname=dickson&amp;page=1&amp;sort=3-A” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Randy Dickson</a>’s coaching approach when she presents an issue to be resolved. She receives helpful feedback that allows for a positive resolution. For Boutilier, two-way conversations are key to being “successful in retaining employees.”</li>
<li><strong>Greater emphasis on “strengths” based development.</strong> Develop your employees’ strengths and potential rather than focusing on what they are not doing well.</li>
“You have to walk the talk and lead by example to earn the trust of employees,” Boutilier says, describing how to build a strong culture of engagement. When recruiting a new employee at NSAR, the hiring manager conducts the first interview and all 15 employees are involved in a second interview. The objective is to determine whether the candidate fits the culture of the organization. Creating a culture where employees are aligned to the same vision and values, where they feel a sense of belonging and where they can learn and thrive is key to successful management in the face of change.

What incentives motivated you to become a real estate professional? Share your story in the Comments section below.

Sandra Piccoli is a business and human resources leader with extensive experience and a diverse portfolio. Her consulting firm, Sandra Piccoli and Associates, specializes in organization culture, strategic planning, leadership development, talent management and general human resource issues. Piccoli works with multiple stakeholders to develop and execute strategic business-focused initiatives that contribute to employee engagement, operational efficiencies and business growth. Piccoli holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on organizational environments. She is also a certified co-active coach and is in the process of obtaining her Certified Human Resources Executive certification through the Human Resources Professionals Association.

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