The real estate industry is a dangerous one. Even for agents who feel capable, even in areas that seem safe, there is always the possibility of a life-or-death situation arising during the many long hours agents spend alone, often in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Follow these four steps to “Lead with Safety” and protect yourself as you work.
- Establish a Strong Safety Culture
Safety culture starts at the top. If agents, staff, teams, and vendors know that safety is important to you, it will be important to them, too.
The benefits of a safe work culture include reducing liability, increasing morale, and the ability to recruit and retain agents.
Implementing Psychological Safety principles ensures not only a safe workplace but an innovative and positive environment.
- Have a Safety Plan
Considering past litigation regarding an agent’s murder while working and the family’s lawsuit against the brokerage for neglect, prioritize safety education to be proactive.
Consult with your risk management and insurance representatives regarding discounts based on your safety practices.
- Schedule expert-led safety training regularly, at least once a quarter. All agents should be encouraged to attend and be awarded a certificate of completion. Those who choose not to attend should sign off acknowledging that it was offered.
Do your homework when selecting an educator/trainer. Get a subject matter safety expert with credentials should there be litigation regarding an incident or crime against an agent.
- Create a safety committee and empower them
The committee should consist of management, staff, and agents. There should be at least one representative from each group.
Tasks of the committee should include a weekly report at all sales meetings. Safety topics, including expert advice and an action item. This information should be reshared in agent communications and posted throughout the office to reinforce the message.
- Implement Cybersecurity and Cyber Safety Practices
“Cyber Crooks attack REALTORS(R) because real estate transactions involve a lot of money. All devices used in real estate are virtually safe from all cyber-attacks. However, your agents must be trained in IT safe practices, on proper handling of emails and text messages.” Burton Kelso, Chief Technology Expert at Integral
Expert-led cybersecurity training should be offered regularly. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), Business Email Compromise (BEC) crimes cost U.S. Businesses more than $2 billion annually.
Since most small and medium-sized businesses have limited resources, they are the most vulnerable to BEC frauds. However, expert training is a great equalizer.
- Create a Crisis and Disaster Preparedness Plan
“Having a resilient mindset regarding safety is important. To be resilient, create a plan, follow it, and practice, so it becomes automatic and does not require thinking.” Coni Meyers, Crisis Management Strategist, CKM Solutions.
Meyers recommends that brokerages have a disaster preparedness plan that deals with natural and man-made disasters. The plan should include what to do in the case of a disaster in the workplace, how to protect personnel, client information, equipment, and securing the office.
She goes a step further and advises the real estate community to be a resource to help protect the community in times of crisis.
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