Today I read Kris Berg’s Inman article about Google and why their employees are so happy. It really got me thinking about real estate brokerage models. At Google, the employees are given alot of free stuff and perks, above and beyond the normal gym and healthcare discounts offered by most. Consider: free drycleaning and pick up (wow!), bring your dog to work days, free gourmet meals prepared by celebrity chefs, free on-site haircuts, subsidized massages, and…welll, you get the idea. It’s beyond “perks” (I’m really surprised the naming gods at Google haven’t come up with some other descriptive term for that level of “perks”. Sounds like a good contest idea to me). But here’s the kicker: while, sure, employees enjoy the perks that’s not the main reason why they enjoy working at Google. The more important reason for their content is that their colleagues are “really nice and freakishly brilliant”. Apparently Google has hiring standards. What if real estate brokerages adopted a similar tactic? I’m not suggesting they offer free dry cleaning, but what if they had….gasp!…standards? What if, instead of hiring anyone with a real estate license that can fog a mirror, they considered character as well as performance? What if that top-producer-who’s-also-unethical was NOT hired? What if there were an environment of sharing and supporting each other as agents, even though, and in spite of, the fact that we are independent contractors? It WOULD take longer to make a profit but can’t we think long term, ever? Wouldn’t we all be happier in our brokerages? Wouldn’t that in turn lead us to be better agents? I have to believe it’s true because I’m seeing it, to a certain degree, in my own office. We’re far from perfect (we have one of those unethical types, unfortunately), but we’re a pretty happy bunch. It makes me WANT to associate with my broker’s brand. That was never ever true at my former brokerage, who, by the way, happens to be the market leader in my area. Guess what? I don’t care. Their brand-centric culture sucked. Give me a brokerage that cares about my growth instead of what I can grow for them. THAT’s how you earn my loyalty. And, I daresay, that’s how we as [email protected] improve our collective reputation. If only the best, the smartest, the most ethical, the nicest agents get hired, the barracudas will end up in no-man’s land or be forced to change their ways. Seems to me Google knows a thing or two about big business. Perhaps the real estate community could learn something from them.
Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Bryn Mawr
July 07, 2010 02:05 PM