By Gino Blefari
This week my travels found me in Westlake Village, CA, to meet with Bob Majorino and the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Realty. Bob is the CEO and owner of California Realty and a dedicated real estate industry veteran.
In fact, just spending time with Bob and his agents, managers and staff at his brokerage, made me think about the idea of longevity and its power to create positive change and propel a business—and its loyal sales professionals—ever forward. What makes someone stick around? What makes someone leave?
Longtime students of recruitment and retention have been pondering these questions for years but no matter what your solutions are, the fact remains that there must be something about an organization that entices people to join and more importantly, stay.
The concept of longevity is so important that it’s part of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s core values of trust, integrity, stability and longevity. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we’ve adopted these values as our own core attributes because frankly, they’re just that important for success.
California Realty and more specifically, Bob Majorino, represents longevity at work. Bob is a Southern California native who began his business career working with the IBM Corporation in the field of engineering, education and management divisions. In 1978 he became a real estate agent and opened his own company within 24 months of being licensed. He joined the Prudential Real Estate brokerage network on Nov. 30, 1993 and his firm became Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Realty on July 1, 2014 … almost four years to the day that I write this post.
If you’re counting, he’s been a member of one of our networks about 24 years and many of his agents and staff members have been with him for about as long. For instance, Linda Kay, his manager of operations and career development, has been with the company since 2002.
Again, we ask the question: Why do people stay?
Well, in Bob’s case, a lot of it has to do with the culture he’s built, which is one characterized by deep empathy, collaboration and a willingness to help others achieve their goals. And that feeling of support comes directly from the top; Bob’s agents know he cares profoundly and genuinely about their businesses. He cares that they succeed, he’s on the forefront of the battleground, fighting it out with them when issues arise, celebrating with them when milestones are reached, and they know that completely. His agents believe in him and his leadership, and he believes in their ability to prosper. He might even see the potential in them before they see it in themselves, as any great leader should.
So, what’s the message? It may seem obvious but one of the big keys to longevity is to show the people who work for you how much you care. This doesn’t just happen through moral support; it also means providing the learning, tools and systems necessary to enhance their skills. Another way to care? Handwritten birthday cards—I write hundreds each year—and a keen ability to listen more than you speak. What do they like about their jobs? What can be improved? Because at the end of the day, your company is only as good—and as poised for the long-term longevity you seek—as the team members that make it thrive. Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. once said, “People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the company’s product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”