Ray White has always been famous for its face to face training.
Back in the early days of franchising, more than one franchisor was known to tell new agents keen to join them to “go join Ray White and get trained, then come back”.
But in the last six weeks the real estate group mobilised its 400+ strong corporate staff and moved its entire training calendar online in response to the lockdown in New Zealand and Australia.
The combined group has already held some 200 sessions and had almost 15000 attendances, including 5000 in New Zealand alone.
Ray White Head of Performance Adam Downes said the online training program was yet another innovation born of the COVID-19 period.
“I think it’s here to stay too in some form. Obviously the convenience of live-streamed training is a big one but we were able to unlock our talented national trainers too. Our members have always had a big appetite for training and development but we turned it on in a frequent format – one the hour, every hour.
“I am also really happy with the numbers tuning in. There’s no expectation or requirement that people log in but we are here if they need us.”
The best sessions by way of attendance and engagement were the ones held by the group’s in-house Profit Team, Property Management plus every session with chairman Brian White and managing director Dan White.
It’s been a challenging few months but Ray White’s corporate team of 17 accountants have provided a life-line to many hundreds of franchises during this stressful pandemic period – another popular series for on-line training.
Led by Chartered Accountant Luke Richardson, the team quickly drew up cash flow templates for all businesses who needed support.
“Our first webinar had 400 people on the session and we handled hundreds of calls. You could say I am ‘JobKeepered out’ now as a lot of people have now lodged, and are in the middle of that process,” Mr Richardson said.
“We worked out what we had to do quickly and we’ve become experts in working with the ATO.
“But some people may never know that we have our own specialist tax expert in Rebecca Everingham – our tax manager in Ray White Corporate – and that she helped many businesses apply for support on an unconditional basis. To have an in-house tax expert at Ray White has been gold.”
Ray White Canberra CEO Ben Faulks said many real estate operators had been operating “from a place of fear” in the last six weeks which created inertia.
“If the head goes in the sand then many people, just stop. But this period has been all about opportunity for us. We run a sales business and our energy has been all about finding buyers for our vendors.
“We are not ATO tax experts or HR experts, so the support and guidance from Ray White has been invaluable.
“I work with a lot of other principals in the industry and something that has stood out for me is the dealings we have had with corporate generally, and Dan White and our CEOs were fast out of the blocks with high quality information.
“On the back of that, our relationship with the profit team helped us to tick all the boxes to help us forecast our cash flow position to see if we’d be eligible for JobKeeper. These were worries that were literally keeping me up at night.
“Ray White Corporate had the answers which helped us to focus on listings and auctioning and run our real estate business.
“We have a team of 10-15 JobKeeper experts now across the company.”
Ray White Frankston principal Ashley Weston said he’d never felt closer to his franchisor corporate team than ever before.
“In the last six weeks, we have had so much support and more training than ever before. It’s been great to catch up with my peer principals and weekly catch ups with the Victorian state team too,” Mr Weston said.
“Everyone should get on and take advantage of the online training calendar. In a way, our technology has brought us together.
“Ray White has always been famous for its events and training but in a normal world I would only attend training two or three times a month and now there’s sessions daily with support team members from other states which I have loved.
“Many other agents that I have been in touch with at competing agencies have communicated that they’re receiving a total lack of direction and not enough training.”
“For me personally I love it. If I have a two hour session at our corporate office normally I have to get up extra early, drive an hour to the CBD to beat the traffic and then I am back by 3pm. It’s a long day.
“So for me, online learning is convenient and I have loved hearing from Adam Downes and different trainers from other states.”