How Workplace from Meta is driving rapid decision making and easy knowledge sharing across a dispersed and transient workforce
Established in 1888, Harcourts International Ltd is the largest Real Estate group in New Zealand and the fastest growing Real Estate group in Australasia. With over 10,000 team members working together across nine countries, Harcourts provides a full range of real estate services across the globe and is proud to deliver award-winning client experiences.
Like many Real Estate groups, Harcourts operates within a franchise model and has a large workforce of frontline agents who are always on the go at open homes, private inspections and property appraisals.
Harcourts needed a tool to:
- Connect with their frontline staff quickly and easily, especially with rapid changes to regulations during COVID-19
- Share knowledge and learning, including market trends and content from external parties such as Queensland’s Chief Auctioneer
- Build a sense of community and ‘One Team’ between frontline and head office
- Amplify culture through more visible recognition and shining a light on the company values
- Automate work processes to create a more seamless employee experience for their people
Real-time updates while on the road
Reaching everyone and sharing knowledge in this environment can be a big challenge, which is why Harcourts turned to Workplace from Meta to connect their people. Workplace has taken on a new meaning for Harcourts during the recent COVID-19 pandemic when they were deemed an essential service but had to continually adapt to changing rules and regulations.
Before Workplace, Harcourts relied heavily on email, face-to-face meetings and phone calls to communicate important information. With Workplace, agents receive critical information as it happens, and can look at it anytime, even if they’re on the go.
This became even more important as COVID-19 saw the Harcourts team struggling to keep up with the ever-changing government guidelines. In one instance, the Queensland Government announced changes to restrictions with less than 24-hours notice. Agents were already out of the office at open homes and there were group auctions planned for that afternoon. Office teams had to get the message out quickly and work with agents to bring buyers and vendors together in a way that complied with restrictions but also enabled successful auctions. The Harcourts Ascot and Clayfield team used Workplace to get the message out, and their agents quickly responded and adapted accordingly. As a result, they were able to hold multiple successful auctions that afternoon.
Collaboration and knowledge sharing with Workplace
Harcourts are incredibly dedicated to learning and development for their people. Alongside weekly face-to-face meetings and virtual training sessions, sales agents are able to connect with training and education material and access informal learning and development opportunities anytime, anywhere.
Using Workplace Groups, information from subject-matter experts and speaker notes from around the organisation are regularly posted and shared for all sales agents to see and ask questions about. This creates valuable two-way learning and development opportunities. While on the go, many Sales Agents use Workplace on their mobile to share new listings, as well as property sales updates. They also participate in property and market trends discussions and receive third-party commercial partner updates, all via Workplace.
Workplace is also helping to build a sense of community among operational leadership and Franchise-based sales teams, connecting people at Harcourts Head Office with those ‘on the ground’. Harcourts Chief Auctioneer Queensland & Academy Trainer, Christian Hamilton, uses Workplace Live Video to arm sales teams with real-time auction updates, formal training on topics such as prospecting, listing presentations and delivering buyer feedback to vendors. Marketing, branding and leadership updates from the Head Office team can also be found on Workplace, ensuring that each Franchise and Agent has the tools they need to work as one team.
To automate their daily ‘standup’ meetings – a large time investment and only accessible to those in the office at the time – Harcourts have implemented a Workplace bot. The bot allows each team member to log their individual focus areas for the week, record any blockers or support they need, and call-out any tactical discussion points they wish to talk-through before the meeting. As a result, team members know what people are working on and what the priorities are. Involving all team members, whether they are present at the meeting or not, helps to maintain strong team connections and corporate engagement from Head Office.
While culture is one of the best things about Harcourts, they found that it was not consistent across all areas and wanted a way to add measurability, accountability and structure. To achieve this, the team implemented a ‘thanks’ bot which facilitates recognition, provides reminders about important milestones and anniversaries, and shares insights with administrators to drive improvements in the process. By structuring their peer-to-peer recognition on Workplace, the team is able to deliver consistency in the reward and recognition experience for their people and publicly celebrate the amazing work their people do every day.
“Culture has always been a point of difference for us at Harcourts, but it’s not something that is experienced by everyone in the same way. We have teams who are spread across lots of different countries. Real Estate can definitely be a lonely job at times, but Workplace gives us a platform where we can bring our culture to everyone at the same time and allows everyone to participate in it. Workplace makes it easy to crowdsource our culture”.
Mitch Green – Human Resources Manager, Harcourts International
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