Mentorship is a buzzword for a reason. It boosts employee engagement and loyalty and inhibits turnover. But with the constant demands on your employees’ time, it’s likely that without structured mentorship opportunities, it’s likely one of those ideas that gets excellent lip service but isn’t routinely practiced. Especially during the pandemic, mentorship was perhaps the easiest to-do list item to fall by the wayside, as your workforce struggled to keep up with the challenges of working from home while also caring for children 24/7.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, and the time for real mentorship to start is now. “The challenges we’ve faced as a nation unfortunately haven’t brought us closer together,” Midwestern real estate tycoon Kris Lindahl explains. “So as we see that light at the end of the tunnel, it’s important that we actively work to build stronger bonds in the areas where we can find common ground. Work can be one of those places, and chances are, no matter where your employees are on the political spectrum, they are longing for more connection.”
One way that Kris Lindahl has woven mentorship into his brokerage’s weekly routine is the all-company weekly meetings, which include hundreds of participants, and take place on Zoom. There are market updates, and the expected forecast of where the company is going, but then there’s almost always a specific call for those who have done well to sum up their strategies for everyone on the call. “I ask our top performers to spell out exactly what they’re doing when they interact with customers that they’ve found has boosted their conversion rates exponentially. They’re not all the same. But if the rest of my team can take even one nugget from that person and try it out for themselves…week after week, their results will improve dramatically.”
It’s also a way to offer his team members more than his competing brokerages might. In real estate, competing firms are notorious for aggressively poaching talent. But while Lindahl is offering them more ways to continually boost their own performance, that seems to be more of an incentive than a slightly higher commission would be.
Lindahl also has multiple Facebook pages just for his team to collaborate on deals, and provide quick feedback for budding realtors. And here and there, there are also opportunities for collaboration outside of work, including jokes of forming a Kris Lindahl Real Estate band. Don’t laugh. It might happen. But those are the organic bonding opportunities that form a strong, cohesive culture that employees find valuable, and hard to leave, and require very little extra time or direction from management.
And it’s better that way. When mentorship is encouraged to happen regularly and organically, and given space to do so, it feels more authentic–that other business buzzword of late. Younger generations Millennials through Z have an expectation of not only mentorship but also a degree of authenticity in their workplace relationships. And contrary to how younger generations are perceived by their elders, it’s not always about what’s in it for them.
In Lindahl’s brokerage, agents are encouraged to create video content to post on their social media, and one of their earliest assignments is a welcome video. “Time and time again what I’m seeing is new hires express a desire to be mentored, but also one day to be able to pass along what they’ve learned,” Lindahl states. Paying it forward is a large part of your younger employees’ mindset, and so simply giving them the opportunity to do that through one day sharing their knowledge gives them extra motivation to build their skills. It’s difficult to predict what these next few years will bring. But in some ways, making much needed change is easier when everything else is changing around you. As schools reopen, as more normalcy creeps into our day-to-day lives, it might be all too tempting to sigh with relief and go back to the hierarchical system that was associated with those relatively carefree days. But that part of normalcy was devoid of a lot of real human connection…and in hindsight, there’s nothing at all normal about that.