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Understanding and Addressing HR Challenges in Real Estate

A look at three common HR roadblocks in real estate and how they can be overcome

Anna Coucke

by Anna Coucke - February 27th, 2023


With the uncertainty of the current real estate market as interest rates climb and house prices remain high, it may come as a surprise to hear that real estate agents are some of the most satisfied employees in the country, with a study by U.S. World News & Report showing that job satisfaction among those in the real estate industry remains well above average. Overall, the real estate profession gets high marks from those who value flexibility, work-life balance, and professional growth – all key to employee satisfaction and retention.

However, just because real estate professionals might be satisfied with their jobs overall, the industry still faces some unique challenges when it comes to HR. Let’s look at three of the most common HR roadblocks in the real estate industry and how they can be overcome. 

Common HR Roadblocks in the Real Estate Industry

Lack of Resources 

With the competitiveness of local real estate markets, smaller boutique real estate firms are rising in popularity. Although smaller agencies often have an edge when it comes to local expertise, customer service, and collaboration, it also means there is a large amount of paperwork and compliance to juggle among only a few employees.

Due to a lack of resources, small real estate agencies may also struggle to compete with larger companies that can offer more benefits, making it difficult to retain talent. Real estate professionals working without a large dedicated HR team can also find themselves saddled with handling administrative tasks on top of their normal duties, adding undue stress and taking time away from their clients.

Increasing Employee Turnover

Statistics from Zippia found that the turnover rate in the real estate industry was 49% – a significant increase from a rate of 35% in 2016. While the turnover rate among real estate professionals is still lower than the overall national average, this increase reflects The Great Resignation and the recession-fueled layoffs that many other industries are facing.

Although the flexibility and perk of “being your own boss” attract many to the real estate industry, these can also make it difficult for employers to find and recruit talent. On top of this, the rise in hybrid work has further complicated talent pool data that is used to determine how many agents are searching for work, are currently employed and satisfied in their roles, or may be searching for better opportunities.

Staying Compliant

Real estate is a complicated business, with a vast range of compliance challenges related to taxes, licensing, law, and the industry itself. HR professionals within the real estate sector have to not only stay on top of the compliance challenges that all HR departments face, but also the regulations that come along with running a real estate brokerage. Keeping track of so many regulations can feel like a full-time job in itself, with dire consequences if recordkeeping falls behind. 

With the rise of remote and hybrid workplaces, recordkeeping and compliance are quickly evolving in order to adapt. It’s critical that real estate HR professionals are up-to-date with current legislation and requirements and their workplace’s status.

Overcoming HR Roadblocks in the Real Estate Sector 

Those tasked with HR in the real estate industry are often bootstrapped and don’t have the support of a full HR department. They may not even be full-time HR professionals themselves and are juggling HR in addition to other tasks. However, there are solutions that even the smallest HR team can leverage to solve the roadblocks they may face.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

In order to attract and retain talent in today’s competitive market, HR professionals must ensure that they prioritize the assets that top real estate agents are searching for in their ideal workplace. 

Equitable Hiring

Focusing on equitable hiring and fair and inclusive hiring practices has many benefits for employers. Cultivating a diverse talent pipeline encourages a broader pool of qualified candidates to apply for jobs they may have previously felt excluded from. 

Real estate agencies can broaden their networks and better understand and serve their communities by creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Additionally, a study by McKinsey found that more diverse companies consistently have better financial performance.

Growth opportunities and training

Although the life of a real estate agent can be hectic, there are many options for flexible online education that can allow employees to grow or fine-tune their skill sets. There are benefits for employers as well, with a study by EdAssist finding that 80% of employees stated that tuition assistance makes them more likely to remain with their employer, and 76% of employees who took advantage of tuition assistance or career training did so to advance their careers at their current company.

Offering courses or tuition assistance to your team free of charge will enable them to advance their careers and move up within your organization. It has been proven to boost employee retention and reduce turnover.

Performance management

Employees want to know how they are performing and how their work is making an impact. Utilizing performance management tools such as SMART goals within your organization can ensure that employees are able to set achievable and impactful goals. 

Implementing a performance management process like GoCo’s into your organization can make it easy to set and track goals, open up communication channels, and keep your team in sync every step of the way. 

Going Digital

In today’s workplace, going digital is one of the best ways to save time, remain organized and compliant, streamline processes, and be prepared for changes in a rapidly evolving market. 

Utilizing a modern HR platform like GoCo can save small HR departments precious time and resources, helping you to consolidate tasks into an easy-to-manage system that allows employees to readily access their own information in a user-friendly, trackable platform.

With GoCo’s all-in-one HR platform, you can:

Manage Compliance Challenges: Limited resources can make compliance challenges even more arduous. GoCo can help with storing and filing employment documents, state and federal tax withholdings, sending automated reminders, and much more.

Streamline Payroll and Tax Calculations: GoCo’s payroll solution not only makes benefit deductions and reporting easy but also helps with tax calculations for voluntary compensation and other sector-specific challenges.

Simplify Onboarding: Using paperless documents equipped with built-in e-signatures, automated onboarding workflows, self-service benefits enrollment, and intelligent payroll setup, GoCo can ensure a unified onboarding experience for your organization.

Manage Your Workforce Virtually: Standardize your workforce, whether they are onsite, remote, or hybrid with digital time clocks, self-service benefits, and the ability to track time to specific labor groups.

Automate Workflows: Ditch outdated processes and streamline everything from onboarding checklists to employee requests.

Stay Ahead of the Curve With Data Analytics: Easily define, organize, and visualize data to gain valuable insights into your workforce trends and leverage them to improve employee performance, satisfaction, and more.

Final Thoughts

HR professionals in real estate often work alone or with the support of only a few colleagues, which means they have limited time and resources to manage the challenges they may face in addition to serving as a resource for employees. Because of this, adopting HR software that can automate workflows, answer questions about compliance status and requirements, and allow employees to access their own data is one of the best ways to navigate these challenges.

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