By Kathleen Black

The most popular question circulating about teams is: How do we compensate our team members? We have talented, self-directed, motivated, top people, but how do we make sure we aren’t training the competition? How do we help them to stay? We have admin roles, field agents, buyers’ agents and partners. How do we compensate for the roles on our team?

Working hands-on with top producers across North America over the past several years, I have seen how creating a structure for compensation opens up teams for long-term growth. We are looking at the term “compensate”, which does not mean, “How much will we pay them?” or “What will the commission split be?” It does mean, “How will we enable growth, happiness and balance?” Studies have shown us that there are three pillars to a high-quality working environment: compensation, opportunity and security. These three pillars are how we help the top talent to stay, thrive and grow.



You are building a team and creating a people-first environment. In this ideal working atmosphere, there is more than money on the table for compensation. This team creates a family, a business and a caring environment. It consists of encouragement, training and leads.

Compensation is more than offering up to 95 per cent per deal. There must be finances in place to support team members in reaching their goals, in growing with the company and continuing to develop with the team and the vision. Absolutely, people need to be paid fairly for their role on the team, but that cannot be the only way people are compensated.

Opportunity is the second pillar in creating the ideal quality in work-life balance. When creating your compensation structure, you are continuously looking at the vision of the business’s future and you are taking your team members to that vision. They need training and support so they can see the opportunity for growth in themselves and their own skills. They need to be able to see where they will continue to grow within the company and understand the opportunities that will be made available to them.

Finally, your compensation structure needs to have security. Not only will your top talent team members have a job tomorrow, but they will have leads next month and then in another two months and next year. With the ongoing training, encouragement and team finances to support the growth, there is security in the direction the company is taking.

If you create a system based on only some of the pillars, the structure will be unsound. This will lead to higher turnover, even on teams that may pay dramatically more per transaction, because their team members won’t actually have any transactions to do, or very little.

Ultimately, the most successful teams will see a distribution of the pillars and this maintains the top teams for optimum growth. It’s essential to look with the end in mind. It’s not where you are today; it’s where you want to go.

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