As so many business owners and operators have unfortunately discovered firsthand, a pandemic introduces a host of complex new logistical and financial challenges. Even beyond the immediate and obvious public health concerns, running a business and managing a team of professionals isn’t easy. Remote work, site changes, and other technical hurdles are all issues that businesses have had to adapt to and overcome.
What might be even tougher, however, are the personnel difficulties: the mental health challenges, the dips in morale, and connectivity and continuity from a disconnected and potentially dispirited team. Keeping your squad motivated and inspired is critical at any time, but it’s especially important during a global pandemic.
Farbman has relied on a few key programs to stay in touch with team members. This way we ensure every employee has the resources and support they need to stay positive, productive, and engaged during these challenging times.
Back to school
Farbman has always been a big proponent of continuing education. Our team has worked hard to make sure employees have plenty of opportunities for continued growth and professional development. Our resolve to prioritize professional growth has, if anything, grown fiercer during these challenging pandemic times.
Our innovative program, Farbman University, provides a structured forum for employees to continue to grow, learn, and stay connected. Despite all of the logistical and professional challenges that the COVID pandemic has introduced, we have redoubled our efforts to make sure that Farbman University is a forum and a resource that team members can rely on. Farbman University classes have continued remotely and increased in number and scope thanks to the current virtual format. We’ve been able to bring in timely speakers, special guest instructors, and topical experts to address emerging and highly relevant industry issues to keep our team informed.
All aboard the mentor ship
Farbman has made proactive communication standard practice during the pandemic. We recognize that the social and personal ties that bind a team together are under extraordinary new pressures—and reaching out to make sure employees are doing ok is critically important. We’ve also benefited from our remarkable mentorship and training program, Farbman Guides, which pairs newer employees with experienced employees. Consciously bringing together youth, enthusiasm, passion and energy in conjunction with a strong group of knowledgeable and experienced mentors was one of the best decisions we’ve made as an organization. The program has been in place since 2018, and it has been especially valuable during the pandemic.
Currently, approximately 15% of all employees are benefiting from the support and guidance of an experienced mentor. The program creates a unique professional relationship that continues for as long as both individuals are invested. Participants even have the chance to change to a new mentor every 6 months to get new perspectives and insights if they so choose.
Farbman Guides isn’t just a one-way street: youthful enthusiasm is ideally suited for sales and client outreach, while experienced brokers can be leveraged to usher potential new clients into the fold. The result is a team dynamic that creates a mutually beneficial partnership and a high success rate for converting new opportunities. Bi-monthly group meetings with all mentorship program participants allow us to share experiences and best practices for all mentors and mentees.
Joe Carter, a Farbman Guides program participant who has worked closely with a mentor for some time now, says “Farbman Guides is a fantastic program that gives employees a chance to learn from other colleagues. I love being able to bounce questions off of my mentor and pick his brain on things going on within the company or the latest real estate news.”
For Joe, and for so many Farbman team members, “it’s really nice having someone to reach out to for help or advice when you need it.”
The bottom line is that pandemic pressures take many forms. Equipping your team to deal with those pressures and respond positively isn’t something you can or should take for granted. Having formal programs in place to make sure employees are supported and have the personal and professional connections they need to keep moving forward—even during times of great stress and disruption—can be a difference-maker for an organization. Those programs, when designed and maintained with diligence and care, will ultimately yield a stronger and more flexible, resilient and connected team.