“Here’s your desk, there’s a phone; now get to work!”

Oct 18, 2023
the essential elements of a successful onboarding process

Here’s how the first day at work in many commercial real estate businesses used to go:

“Here’s your desk, there’s a phone; now get to work!”

And because that’s some people’s experience, they often don’t strive to do much better.

Day one is an opportunity to make a great first impression and nurture a new employee into becoming a successful member of a cohesive team.

No matter how big or small a firm is, how a new employees’ first day unfolds reflects on the business and is a reflection of the leaders within it.

Investing a small amount in onboarding can pay huge dividends in future growth, so let’s unpack the onboarding process in episode 161 of Commercial Real Estate Leadership.


Episode transcript:

Okay, picture this: It's your first day on a new job. And you're filled with a sense of maybe anxiety, also a bit of nervousness, but also excitement about what the day might hold.

And whatever unfolds next is really going to be a reflection of the leaders in that business.

It reflects on them, but also, it's a reflection of them.

So, as you have a think about what it's like for new employees who are coming into your business, well, how does that reflect on the latest?

Maybe you're not sure. Maybe you're thinking not too well?

Well, if that's the case, then this episode is for you, because we're going to be talking about what I think is one of the ultimate leadership litmus tests, and that is the onboarding process.

Hello, welcome to the show. I'm Darren for Krakowiak. It's episode 161, this is commercial real estate leadership.

I help commercial real estate leaders to really pump up the growth in their business and really glad that people are enjoying the new format, where we're focusing more on leadership and growing a business.

And I wanted to just acknowledge someone who sent me a DM on LinkedIn. So, it's not a review or a rating on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

I suppose it's more of a personal message. But I'll say, we'll call this person Frank.

Frank says, "Hey, mate, just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the podcast, especially on leadership mindset."

And then he talks a little bit about football, and also about how he's keen for a couple of his agents to do our course for agents that we have available.

So, look, if you want to get in contact with me, just let me know about what you think of the show or some feedback.

Or maybe you need some help for your team, then you can DM me on LinkedIn.

Really easy to find me. If you google Darren, and then see our CRE Success, you'll find me.

Click on my LinkedIn profile, if we're not already connected, then let's get connected. And then send me a DM and I would love to have a chat.

In today's episode, we're talking about onboarding.

And have you ever seen on LinkedIn or maybe on Instagram, when someone takes a photo of the first day in a new team, or in a new business?

And they show, "This is what I got. This is my new desk. This is the cool notepad and blah, blah, blah, blah." And you're like, "Wow, that looks pretty cool."

That person must have had a positive impression on their first day of work. And I think that's the type of impression that we want to leave with our new employees.

But what I've noticed is that particularly some people who haven't personally had the best onboarding experience themselves, they either don't have the context around what a good onboarding experience is.

Or they think that it's not important, because you know what I did okay, in the end, so why would we want to spend our time and attention in that.

In fact, I can remember one commercial real estate leader that I worked with saying to me, "Well, you know, when I started, all I was given was a desk and a phone. And I was just told to get on with it. So you know, what is it that you want from me?"

Basically, when I was asking him for a bit of help on something; really poor attitude, and I guess, it's sort of like if your parents weren't perhaps the idol versions of parents at all stages, that doesn't mean that you don't aspire to perhaps be a little bit better than they were, right?

So, what we're trying to do here is go on a path of continuous improvement.

Ever think about, if you had had a better onboarding experience, then maybe you might have gotten to where you are now a little bit more quickly.

Because you had that support, you had a bit more guidance, you had some kind of pathway towards improving your performance and settling into the new role.

So that's what we're talking about today. And I want to sort of preface this by saying that I was going to do an episode on recruitment, onboarding and retention.

And what I realized was, there's enough to talk about just in the onboarding stage.

So, we'll do this episode about onboarding. And we'll come back to recruitment. And we'll come back to retention at another time.

Because recruitment is something I think that ultimately as a business as a leader. The people who you attract is a reflection on you, as the leader, just as the onboarding process is a reflection on you.

And I think spending some time on the onboarding process and being committed to improve in this area is a sign of good leadership.

So, by being committed to actually improve the onboarding process, and being committed to getting better results, that means that you're committed to being a better leader, which will ultimately improve this process and make you a better leader who was capable of attracting better people.

There are three main reasons why we get to the point of having recruited someone and having them start there for this day either.

There's somebody who we see who can have an instant impact from a revenue perspective.

There might be someone who we see as a rainmaker, so if you think of the find mine and grind, they're probably in that find category.

We could be hiring people have the potential to become that person.

Also, we hire people to add capacity to the business to free up more time for our rainmakers to focus on greater production and growing the business.

So, this is all about growing a business. And we want to make sure that the first day goes as well as possible.

I was just thinking, what are some of the things that we can be doing before the first day to make sure things go?

Well, I think that we should be contacting the employee before they started just making sure that they know that we are ready for them, and then making sure that all of the things are ready.

So, they're IT access, their security pass, making sure their email address is set up.

Business cards, if you have business cards for that position, do they know who to ask?

Well, when they walk in on their first day, making sure that they're not going to walk into at a time before the office is open and setting the expectation, this isn't a good time for you to arrive?

Have you got an agenda for their first day. So, they're not just sitting there wondering what to do a bit of a plan of action.

Now I realize, not everyone is a big business where you're going to have a set orientation process with lots of staff coming through every week or every month.

But we can at least create a plan, a process for our own business, which says this is what a typical first day for this position or in this department would look like.

I think we want to make sure that there is internal communication that has happened to our existing employees, so everyone knows that the new person is starting on that day.

Why not update the org chart with them on it? And also, that shows them that they're part of the team when they start.

But also having the org chart given to them, lets them learn more quickly the names of people, right?

You put a photo with their position. They can see who's who in the zoo, but also, they can start putting the face to the name more quickly as they meeting lots of people on that first day.

Do we have all the details to make sure they get paid, so they get access to insurance, superannuation 401(k) for in the US, but all the other employee benefits that they're entitled to.

I remember when I worked overseas, and I was heading up a big business, we used to have, I think a monthly orientation. (I think it was monthly or maybe once every second month)

Anyway, but it was 300 people business. So, we probably had 10 or 15 people coming through every month or second month.

And you know, I always made a point of being there for that orientation and of presenting to the new employees.

And actually, I took them to lunch on that day. And we had a group lunch because I thought it was really important to show that we valued them.

And that's something I think if you're on a smaller business that you've got a greater opportunity to do because it can be more personalized.

In terms of training, again, maybe you don't have a whole trading system for somebody to come into your team, but at least showing them your way of doing things.

Making sure there's some clear expectations, providing new hires with the tools that they need, so perhaps that's logins to external resources that they need to be using in their jobs.

Some of the systems and platforms and software that you're using.

Why not actually have somewhere for them to go and take a photo on their first day.

I think this is all about indoctrinating people into your business, because we've spent a lot of time like I said, recruiting them and getting them over the line making the offer.

And I think we want to finish the job in terms of maximizing the amount of time that they're likely to stay by making sure that this orientation is a great day.

And the way that we can check in and ensure that it is, is just to check in with them at the end of the day and see, "Hey, how is your first day been? How did you find it? What could we do better? You coming back tomorrow? (Maybe you wouldn't say that. If they're got a sense of humor, you might)

But you know, recruitment costs a lot of money. Retraining, when people leave costs a lot of money, or we lose a lot when we lose people's skills and know how.

I think also, if we've got high turnover, we have new people come into the business and then they leave quickly, clients lose faith in us and other people in the business, other staff are impacted.

So there are a lot of costs to not getting the orientation right, if people don't have a great first impression, and then they end up leaving.

And I think great onboarding also sends the message to your other employees, that this is a good place to work.

And even if you didn't get the onboarding right in the past, the fact that you're putting in the effort to improve the onboarding process, with the new people coming in, sends a positive message to your existing team members that "Hey, things are getting better around here. This is improving."

And if you did get your onboarding terribly wrong before, well, you've always got opportunities to re orientate your existing team members.

Whether that's through the communication of your vision or making some new strategic priorities for the business.

Or perhaps when people take on new responsibilities, you might want to rearrange them into that position and I guess attempt to make a fresh start.

I I hope that has been helpful in terms of just some simple practical ways that we can improve the orientation onboarding process for new employees in a commercial real estate business.

I hope I've sold the case for you around why this is something that you want to put a bit of time, focus and attention into.

It's all about ultimately growing your business.

And if you haven't yet downloaded our free guide, which is called 'Magnified growth'.

This guide is going to help you find some more practical ways that you can focus on to unlock more growth in your business.

When you grab this guide, you'll get a system with resources, including a customizable spreadsheet to project revenue growth in your business, and an instructional video on how to use it.

To grab all of that, go to cresuccess.co/growth for your free copy on magnified.

That is our episode for today. Thank you so much for listening, and I will speak to you soon.

About the author


Darren Krakowiak, Founder, CRE Success

Darren Krakowiak, the driving force behind CRE Success, brings over 20 years of hands-on experience and a legacy of success in Commercial Real Estate. His passion for the industry is matched only by his commitment to nurturing the growth of others. Darren’s vision extends beyond coaching; it’s about building a community of thriving professionals in Commercial Real Estate.

About the author


Darren Krakowiak, Founder, CRE Success

Darren Krakowiak, the driving force behind CRE Success, brings over 20 years of hands-on experience and a legacy of success in Commercial Real Estate. His passion for the industry is matched only by his commitment to nurturing the growth of others. Darren’s vision extends beyond coaching; it’s about building a community of thriving professionals in Commercial Real Estate.

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Sign up for the latest news and free training from CRE Success


CRE Success

Level 1, 10 Oxley Road
Hawthorn VIC 3122

+61 3 9005 8473
[email protected]

© CRE Success


Sign up for the latest news and free training from CRE Success


CRE Success

Level 1, 10 Oxley Road
Hawthorn VIC 3122

+61 3 9005 8473
[email protected]

© CRE Success