It’s always difficult for employers when good employees leave. This is especially true in the real estate industry. You put a lot of work into training somebody, you think you have a great working relationship with them – and then they leave their job.

You’re upset, shocked, even offended. You take it personally. What was their reason for leaving a job? Perhaps they just weren’t a good fit?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average employee turnover in the real estate industry was 28.3% in 2021. This is one of the highest rates of employees leaving their jobs in the country.

Why are employees leaving?

Leading Australian recruitment site Seek, conducted research on the reason for leaving a job. The most common was mediocre management. This was followed by a lack of opportunities for career progression and then people wanting a fresh start. The fourth reason was poor working conditions or being in a negative environment, and the fifth reason for leaving a job was being unhappy with the salary.

Following the multiple lockdowns in Australia during COVID, people have become more concerned about their work–life balance and health. According to the pandemic ‘had a big impact on their decision’ to change jobs. Other reasons included career limitations, mental health concerns, poor pay and a ‘lack of personal fulfilment, purpose or meaning’.

Recent research from Elmo Software found that 40% of Australian workers are planning to find a new job in 2022. This post-COVID trend is an issue of concern for employers because recruiting and training workers is expensive, unsettling for current staff and disruptive to the workplace environment.

Property managers reported in 2015, via a survey, that they were underpaid and overwhelmed. They said their salary didn’t align with the level of responsibility they had in their roles. While this survey is several years old, it appears property managers still have a high frequency of job dissatisfaction, with an average lifecycle of three years in the job.

Exit interviews are a good way to discover the reason for leaving a job. Workers are often more comfortable sharing their feelings and views after they’ve resigned.

The reasons to quit a job can be distressing when departing employees are talking about a business or company you manage, or own. But it’s still wise to ask for feedback because it’s likely to deliver valuable insight that will assist your business in the long run. It will also help to inform and improve your employee retention strategy, which is an essential item in your managerial toolkit.

Reasons employees leave their jobs

What is an employee retention strategy?

Job satisfaction and good organisational culture are the foundations of a happy workplace. If workers are leaving when you thought they were settled and happy in their job, then you need to develop a strategy for keeping them.

How do you retain top talent?

One of the best ways to retain staff is a strong employer brand. This can be difficult for newer agencies, but it’s also an opportunity to build a new type of workplace culture that focuses on collaboration and transparency.

Here are five ways to increase job satisfaction and stop employees leaving.

1. Orientation and assigning a mentor

Ensure there’s a comprehensive and useful orientation package for your new employees – and don’t rush it. When you treat staff orientation as just a box to be ticked, that’s exactly how your new staff feel. But, if you invest in workplace orientation, they’ll feel valued from day one.

Another way to demonstrate your commitment is to provide a personal mentor for each new employee. This will ensure there’s a friendly colleague available who can answer questions and show them processes and procedures. Remember how you felt on your first day of work? Help them bypass newbie jitters by giving them a helping hand.

2. Stress management advice, yoga classes, boxes of fruit – show you care

One of the best ways to show staff that you value them is to provide support for their emotional and physical health. These types of activities and wellbeing offerings go further than on-the-job training. They show staff that you care about their health beyond the office.

They come in the form of onsite yoga classes, weekly or monthly fruit boxes, time out for staff events and after-work drinks. Contributing or raising money towards a charity that staff have selected is also a meaningful way to show you care.

3. Maintain communication

There are lots of ways to communicate with staff. Talking, listening, writing, emailing, Zooming and simply checking in, are all great ways to keep the lines of communication open.

Consider an open-door policy for managers, so staff feel they can say hello or ask a question at any time. Also encourage greater transparency across your company so workers feel connected and part of the bigger picture.

Connect with each employee on a one-to-one basis and keep up to date with their workload, as well as any issues they might be having at work. The more information employees provide to you about their life at work, the greater your capacity to resolve any problems that might arise in the workplace. It will also appease any reason for leaving a job they may have.

4. Build an open workplace culture and involve employees in decision-making

McCrindle Research published a report ‘Understanding Generation Z’ in 2019, which heralded a massive generational change in the way we conduct business. The upcoming generation (born between 1997 and 2012) is already 15% of the workforce and will populate 30% of it within seven years.

We’re also knee deep in the gig economy, and contingent work, freelancing and entrepreneurship are accepted ways of earning a living. The Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsman describes the gig economy as individuals providing ‘services to consumers for a fee via digital platforms or marketplaces’.

According to McCrindle, the world has become incentivised, and employee loyalty is achieved by motivating staff through reward and recognition strategies. Times are changing!

Important qualities in a workplace for younger staff are work-life balance, flexibility, flat structures, fun culture, collaboration, managerial transparency, variety and social environment. And working out how to be the employer of choice is more important than ever.

Building a successful real estate agency for the future requires an acknowledgement of the worldview of younger workers and not inadvertently providing any reasons to quit a job.

5. Offer career development opportunities

In 1959, people stayed in their jobs for an average of 15 years. Today the average amount of time we stay in a job is less than three years.

Enabling staff to cross over to another role can increase employee retention and demonstrate flexibility. Move an unhappy worker to a role they find more satisfying and you’ve made them both happy and grateful.

Promotion also builds confidence and encourages staff to stay around.

By providing an inclusive culture and implementing a collaborative, transparent and caring environment, the reason for leaving a job may well disappear.

There’s more than one category of employees and more than one way to retain staff

So what can we garner from all of this? Clearly, different generations of workers have different expectations. There’s nothing surprising about this, and the answer is the same as it’s always been. Your employees are unique people and each of them brings their own set of values, needs and expectations to work.

Get to know your staff on an individual basis. If you value them, show them and provide more than a good salary. People spend the majority of their life in the workplace and enjoying our work is important to all of us.

At the Entry Group, we’ve worked hard to create an energetic and happy workplace environment that our employees love. Our staff retention is close to 100%, and we treat them all like valued family members. You can read about our recruitment success in this article: Entry Education: the happiest workplace in the world.

At Entry Recruitment we recruit real estate professionals for roles across Melbourne and Victoria. With our sister company Entry Education leading the way in real estate education, we’re able to find star candidates for real estate roles and ensure they fit the job description optimally.

If you’d like to talk to us about your recruitment needs, we’d love to hear from you.