The One Thing You Can Do to Double Your Retention

Chris Heller,April 18, 2022

Onboarding,Symbol.,White,Note,With,A,Word,'onboarding',On,BeautifulReal estate companies do some things really well. We’ve become great recruiters. We work hard to give agents what they want and need. Yet, there’s one thing most companies don’t do well—and that one thing costs them big in retention.

Onboarding: Pretty Well Ignored in the Real Estate Industry

It’s my experience that most real estate companies don’t put much attention into onboarding—or, as we used to call it—orientation. In fact, when I became Vice-President of Education for a large regional franchise, I found there was no company onboarding procedure. From surveying various franchisees, it was apparent that few members had more than simple checklists—if that. They regarded onboarding merely as an exercise in getting the agent’s paperwork in place and showing them how to use the copy machine. True, but that’s really a small part. 

Conceptual,Photo,About,Onboarding,Employee,Knowledge,Skills,With,Handwritten,Phrase.The Facts about how Onboarding Affects Retention

Onboarding has become a really big deal, because employers/workers have more choices than ever. Businesses have discovered that the onboarding process holds the keys to greater retention and profitability. It’s my experience that we in the real estate industry all need to be really convinced before we will work on our onboarding systems as hard as we work on our training systems. To convince you, here are some hard facts.

Onboarding Survey Results from Various Entities

  • Gallup shows that just 12% of employees strongly agree their employers do a great job of onboarding new employees
  • In a 2018 Global Talent Trends Survey, only 30% of HR professionals think improving the onboarding experience is a top priority.
  • A 2017 Career Builder survey reports that 36 percent of employers lack a structured onboarding process, leading to lower productivity, higher employee turnover, lower morale and lower employee engagement

Magnet,And,Figures,Of,People.,Customer,Acquisition,And,Retention.How Onboarding Effects Retention

We in the real estate industry search for various methods to increase retention. But, we generally ignore the fact that retention is determined during the new hire’s first 30-180 days!

According to a research report conducted by Ultimate Software on emerging trends in the workforce, “New employees decide very quickly whether they can stay long term.” 

  • 33% of new hires decide whether they can stay long term in 1 week
  • 66% of new hires decide whether they can stay long term in 1 month

A study by analyst firm Aberdeen Group found that 86% of respondents felt that a new hire’s decision to stay with a company long-term is made within the first six months of hiring.

How a Great Onboarding Process Increases Retention Dramatically

The magazine HR Technologist found that organizations with an onboarding process “experience 54% greater new-hire productivity, along with 50% greater new-hire retention.”

Investing in a robust onboarding program is highly beneficial. Companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and boost productivity by over 70%.

Money,Bag,With,The,Word,Profit,And,An,Up,Arrow.Great Onboarding Equals Much Higher Profitability

The Boston Consulting Group released a report, From Capability to Profitability, which ranked onboarding as having the second highest impact out of all 22 HR Practices, second only to effective recruiting.

Have I convinced you to create an exceptional onboarding process? You will get the rewards of much higher retention and profitability.

Note: You can listen to my podcast for the Missouri Association of Realtors on my website at I’ll be discussing how to ‘glue’ your agents to do you so they never want to leave. Onboarding, of course, is a part of that solution.

In my next article, I’ll discuss the unused or underused components of onboarding that create the “glue” we’re all working to attain.

About the Author

Carla Cross, CRB, MA (Issaquah, Washington)

For more than three decades, Carla has worked exclusively with real estate professionals and affiliates to improve their skills, productivity, and profits. She is known throughout the industry as a trainer of trainers. Earning this reputation through  creating comprehensive training programs, she has written and implemented programs for most of the major international real estate franchises.

Last Updated: 4/18/2022



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