Especially during purchase market cycles, title insurance is a fast-paced business with a lot of moving parts. Employees have to be empowered to make decisions and move things forward without fear of being taken to task for making a wrong move. This is true for every title agent or owner, and especially for owners who’ve recently acquired or merged with an existing title business.
How do you empower your employees in a way that brings optimum results for your business? Here are some tips to think about as we head into a busy real estate season.
Employees need to know what is expected. This not about rules. It is about making clear your performance expectations for them. What do you want to see accomplished? This can be tangible and intangible, from the amount of work that needs to be tackled, to the overarching vision and mission of the company.
Not every owner or executive is “in the trenches” on a daily basis, so you may not be as in touch with the issues as your staff is. Check in with them. Take time to listen intently. Ask for their input on how to resolve an issue. Brainstorm solutions together. This sends a clear message that you value their work and their creativity in solving problems. And tune in to their personal goals for advancement and encourage them to pursue training, education and taking on new tasks within the organization.
Define their Decision-making Role
Empowerment is not unbridled freedom. Employees need to know when they can make decisions to move things forward and when they must move the decision-making up the chain of command. This is especially critical in both the mortgage and title aspects of the real estate business where complex issues sometimes need to be handled by managers or attorneys.
Provide Necessary Tools
Make sure your employees have the tools they need to succeed. At AMD Enterprises, we believe companies are most successful when employees have the resources they need to do their best work. In addition to the many services we provide to our own clients, we are constantly collaborating with them to explore additional tools and scalable resources that may improve their ability to effectively serve their customers.
Compliment, Correct, Improve
Find opportunities to compliment your employees for a job well done or for the way they handled a tricky situation. Be specific, not general in your praise. Recognizing excellence empowers and motivates employees to try harder and do more. Where correction is needed, show empathy, patience and fairness in your communication. Let them know you recognize the difficulty they encountered and trust them to grow and improve.
Get Out of the Way
Micromanaging employees makes them nervous, ineffective and disempowered. If you do a thorough job of training, setting goals and defining boundaries, you can get out of the way and let them manage the work in a way that makes most sense for them. We think and organize our lives differently from one another, with a nod to the Myers Briggs theory, and it is important for managers to respect and champion the uniqueness of each employee’s approach.
Reward and Celebrate
Managers often think about rewarding employees when there has been a financial win – whether it’s a great month of sales or a year-end bonus bonanza. But sometimes it’s important to reward and celebrate getting through tough times. Don’t always make it about the money. Recognize and champion hard work, adaptability, innovative ideas, and going the extra mile in challenging situations.