Estate agent morale damaged by falling property prices

Employers in the property sector face a difficult time boosting staff morale as house prices continue to fall, according to one HR chief.

It follows a study which claimed that at least one-third of 12,000 estate agents would close by next year as the global credit crunch began to bite. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said prices were falling at their fastest pace since the records began in 1978.

Julie Webbe, HR director at London estate agency Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, said the economic downturn had unquestionably affected the housing market and her organisation. “Over the last six months, our sales force has reduced by 10% through natural wastage and a limit on recruitment.

“One of the key challenges we face is maintaining the motivation of our sales teams difficult market conditions can manifest in unrewarding days, but there is business to be done and it is important that sales teams remain focused,” she told Personnel Today.

“During times where there is uncertainty, communication across the division is vital to reassure employees of the company’s strengths and position,” Webbe added.

However, Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, remained bullish. He said: “As the market slows and agents have to work harder for their money, it is likely that we will see a few of the more inexperienced agencies showing signs of strain.

“However, agencies that rise to the challenge will not be disappointed a combination of business sense, and solid training for younger members of staff will see them through,” King said.

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