Category Archives: Real Estate Financial Services

Maslow Helps Us Shine a Flashlight on Your Team’s Motivation

Happy New Year! Yet again another spin around the sun completed!  We humans have long honored this annual celestial journey through space. It’s become a tradition for many to look for a starting line for tackling a New Year’s task or initiative. Frankly, there’s no time like the fresh turn of the calendar page to strive for change and personal adaptation. To help accommodate, we may utilize various psychological theories to assign meaning and find new ways to create efficiencies, communicate more effectively, sell more homes, close more files, appraise more properties, etc.

When it comes to better understanding personal and personnel gains, we might turn to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for a little extra guidance on how human psychology factors into one’s professional growth.

A psychology class presentation at Valdosta State University, cited from Educational Psychology Interactive, (Huitt, W. 2007) deals with Maslow’s theories and his work with the hierarchy on human motivation. As the study highlights, Maslow worked to show that humans have a psychological hierarchy of needs, and to achieve the next level, more basic needs must first be met in ascending order.

The five levels proposed by Maslow are:

1. Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts, etc.

2. Safety & Security: out of danger.

3. Belongingness and Love: affiliate with others, be accepted.

4. Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition.

5. Self-Actualization: to know, understand, see beauty and realize one’s full potential.

As we evaluate the five levels through a career based lens, we realize that many of us have an intrinsic motivation to climb this hierarchy. Some of us naturally reach higher levels. Others may require some extra help from those that have already achieved.

The goal here (with an assist from Maslow), is to get you thinking how to best leverage human motivation to achieve the next levels of personal and organizational development.

Level one, Physiological, is needed for basic functioning and is, for the most part, a given for America’s professional workforce. Fortunately, most of our colleagues in the settlement services space are able to secure food, clothing and shelter. Given that, there is no need to focus here for this piece.

At level two, Safety and Security, an individual may ask; “am I in constant fear of losing my job despite adequate performance?…Will my company pay me for the work that I complete?” This again falls into the standard operating category for most folks. They are able to pay for basic necessities and hold a stable job…enough for some people.  However, an employee at this level is potentially disengaged. They might come in, punch the clock, do their work with a blank stare, void of connection with their job and their coworkers. A team stacked with those operating at this level is obviously suboptimal, and as a leader, you may use Maslow’s hierarchy here as a guide to help motivate your team to take the next step for their professional growth.  Maybe help them connect with coworkers and build meaningful work relationships to further engage and strengthen their relative perception of safety and security. It may be beneficial to build these bonds in a nontraditional setting. If you address the exercise of establishing deeper connections only in a work setting, the team may not buy into the process. Instead, you might attempt to facilitate a more personal and social experience without the typical work dynamics involved, so that relationships can form more organically.

Speaking of connecting with others, this leads us into level three: Belongingness and Love. In the title insurance and appraisal workforce, this is where you will probably find the majority of gainfully employed and seemingly happy individuals. They enjoy relative security in their position, likely produce adequate results and feel a true sense of connection with their coworkers and work environment. They participate in teambuilding activities, actively engage with superiors and direct reports, and willingly socialize with teammates outside of the office environment.

To help foster level three and above, it is advisable that leaders strive to build a culture that welcomes and encourages a meaningful connection between team members beyond the necessary minimum for business function and productivity. These bonds provide a greater sense of meaning and can help someone change their way of thinking of their Monday through Friday to the glaringly disparate mentality of “I have to go to work today” to “I get to go to work today”. Establishing and reinforcing the latter comes with numerous organizational benefits such as increased productivity, higher retention/lower turnover rates, and therefore a better chance at sustained profitability.

Level four, Esteem, is where you will most often find your real movers and shakers in the financial services sector. The top producers. The “Rock Stars”. These are the folks that are adept at gaining recognition and perfecting their respective craft. They take pride in their work, consistently achieve goals, and essentially make the first few levels an afterthought. Other people want to connect and establish relationships with these types. Their roles are secure because, barring unforeseen circumstances, no employer in their right mind would risk losing them. To the benefit of themselves and also your organization, their time and energy is focused on being the best version of themselves. Getting to level four in the professional world may take extra individual effort and also strong support from your organization and leadership team. That said, if you like winning, it is advisable to develop, recruit and populate your team with the highest percentage as possible operating at this level.

The Esteem level is perhaps the perceived goal for most of the working class.  However, the rarely achieved fifth level: Self-Actualization, would be a great accomplishment for you and your team in most any circumstance. Self-actualized people are described as “being problem focused, incorporating an ongoing freshness of appreciation of life, a concern of personal growth, and the ability to have peak experiences” (Huitt, W. 2007).  To some, this definition may come off as overly spiritual or as a description of the Dali Llama’s traits….rarified air.  However, these people do exist and often hold key leadership roles in their respective landscape. They tend to have an answer for every situation. Their demeanor is almost always calm, cool and collected. They are typically also looking to help others achieve their greatest potential, whether that means reaching the level of Esteem or Self-Actualization. They are the tide that raises all sinking ships. The challenge is that there is no magic bean that allows a human to grow to a self-actualized state. It is a combination of a multitude of characteristics that allow you to realize your full potential. You must accurately assess who you truly are without outside influence. Focus on solving problems for the benefit of others and not personal gain. Find enjoyment by seeing routine tasks and experiences through new perspectives to appreciate the world around you. Utilize your personal experiences in these exercises to continue to develop and build upon your current self. Tap into the newly found creative perspectives to further impact those around you.

To summarize, people at the lowest levels are seeking information to help them cope with their life position and to help meet their basic needs and securities for a happy life. By helping these folks reach the next level, this is probably where you, as a more developed leader, can have the biggest overall effect on your organization. People at level three and four are looking for more enlightening information to continue to build meaningful relationships, and more empowering information to continue developing. At this level, you can really take out the scalpel and employ a highly tailored, individually focused approach. For those of you that have reached level five, congratulations!

Huitt, W. (2007). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members will be happy to hear your thoughts.

The Book of Business Sale!

It’s officially the holiday season in the Settlement Services space. An exciting time of year for all! It’s also a time to evaluate the performance of your team and begin budgeting for 2019. Whether or not your goals this year were achieved, one thing is almost always certain, you would probably like to grow your market share next year!

Therefore, you might ask yourself, “how do I efficiently enhance my top line?” Logically, you might then consider recruiting someone to your sales or leadership team with a “book of business” in tow. This can be a great way to make an impact. Realistically, the challenge of immediately transferring a book of business, though far from impossible, is perhaps more difficult than it once was.

There was a time when the sales or operations rep was the point of contact for many needs in a closing or appraisal transaction. The customer didn’t know or maybe didn’t even need to know who else made the behind the scenes magic happen. The customer only knew that if they called their contact with an issue, said contact would take care of it…and that was the end of it! Technology has changed the game. Tools like email, mobile apps, modern and efficient workflow processes, 24/7/365 connectivity and vendor system integrations have drastically altered many customer relationships. But…someone still needs to develop and foster new customer partnerships. When looking to add or upgrade key revenue generating or leadership talent, focusing only on landing a book of business is easy to do. It can also be a costly mistake.

So, what do you do about this on the recruiting front when shopping for sales or leadership talent this holiday season?

Maybe instead of focusing on how much initial impact a new recruit can have on your organization from a pure revenue generating perspective, you should also think of the long-term impact of the individual’s fit with your organization. The key is to identify and validate sales and leadership aptitude all while confirming a positive culture fit. Verify their industry knowledgebase and market presence. Look for past successes and confirm, to the extent possible, that you will be fine sharing some eggnog together at the company holiday party.

In most cases, if the recruit has a nice, consistent career history, and an established track record of “winning” in previous positions, they have the foundation to continue that momentum. When armed with proper tools, they will likely recreate their prior success in your environment, perhaps even more so. Just don’t count on that book of business to follow right away. What you can count on is that you took strategic steps to welcome an impact player to your operation and achieve your newly set goals.

Happy candidate shopping during this holiday season. Should you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members will be happy to hear your thoughts.

Two More Words: Follow Up! Fall Conference Recruiting Guide – Part Two

Okay, you’re back from the big conference. The business cards have been slung, the hands of been shook, the babies have been kissed. Now What? You might consider fostering your investment of time and energy by building upon the recruiting groundwork laid.

Targeted follow up can really make a difference when interacting with prospective recruits. You can start by simply sending a handwritten note or making a post conference phone call to a new or existing connection. These time-tested methods are a great way to stay in front of recruits. Maybe even set a monthly or quarterly calendar reminder to reach back out and say hello. In fact, if you went beyond the surface level conversations as we suggested in Part One, you can build upon what you’ve learned by referencing your new insights which will strengthen the candidate relationship.

For a slightly less traditional approach, you might also consider getting in touch on Social Media Outlets, i.e. following the recruit on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. These resources are a nice venue to help stay abreast of key life events and happenings that may be of interest to your new connection. Maybe they will even follow you back!

Most importantly to note in your post conference activity is that Recruiting is an Ongoing Effort. Think of recruiting in terms of long-term strategy with relatively short bursts of immediate action in times of need. The market insight and relationships you may have gained from the fall conference season should hopefully produce results in the winter months. If you need help…feel free to give us a call.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts.

Two Words: Quality Time. A Quick Fall Conference Season Recruiting Guide – Part One

If you described your typical conference experience, we’d be willing to wager that some of your key words might include: fun, food, refreshments, speakers, booths and late nights. These connotations are not groundbreaking, nor is the novel concept of putting on your recruiting hat at industry conventions.  Maybe we can suggest looking at conference recruiting with a specific concept in mind…. spending Quality Time with your recruits.

On the surface, recruiting at these conferences can sometimes seem trivial. You know, show face, shake hands, appease those up the corporate ladder. Do not fall victim to this mindset! Use these conferences as a rare opportunity to take advantage of quality time with your clients, vendors, peers, AND potential recruiting targets…. all in one place!

Listed below are some possible focus items to help maximize your conference recruiting efforts.

What motivates them…After a drink and an appetizer, you need something else to talk about beyond the pleasantries of nice weather and the fine financial quarter your group is having.  Maybe consider engaging in deeper conversations with your boothmate. Pick up on non-verbal cues and dare to go beyond the surface to better connect with your recruit and learn their true motivations. Begin to understand their interests and hobbies. What do they do for fun? Do they like to play chess or checkers? Anything but work. This can be a differentiator later when your competitor does not truly understand the candidate’s motivational mindset.

Gain strategic insight…What are your competitors doing on the recruiting front and how can you better compete? Sometimes the best way to find out is to ask the person in front of you. How are other companies impacting the recruiting landscape? What can your group be doing better to attract the best industry talent? We are not suggesting you do anything that does not align with your company culture. We are suggesting understanding what you’re up against and adjusting your internal recruiting strategy accordingly.

Plant that seed…Capitalize on your face to face meetings to help set yourself apart. Ideally you can spend quality time together offsite or at least create one-on-one contact away from the fray.  Be authentic. Be mindful of personal and company branding. Build and project your group’s marketplace presence.  Help that potential recruit understand that your group is THE destination they should be considering when the time is right for a move.

Look for Part Two of this blog coming to an email near you in Mid-October… In the meantime, should you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts.

Anderson|Biro, LLC Launches Staffing Division in Ohio

Anderson|Biro, LLC, a Cleveland, Ohio based Executive Search firm serving the real estate financial services sector nationally, has added a Staffing division focused in Ohio.  The division will service clients that have a need for contract and temporary-to-permanent placements.

“We are excited to add this new service offering for our clients based here in Ohio.  As the labor market has tightened over the past few years, the need for contract placements has dramatically increased,” said Anderson|Biro Founding Partner, Eric Biro.  “Ohio will just be the start of the operation.  As time evolves, we will add additional states into the mix,” Biro said.

Co-founder, Ryan Anderson added, “Since our executive search business primarily operates at the mid to senior level, the objective here is to build out our staffing division to help enhance our total service offering for our loyal customer base.  We will also look at supporting adjacent industry verticals eventually opening up opportunities for clients and contacts within our executive search division.”

Got Feedback?

The title insurance industry is currently running on all cylinders as underwriters, agents and investment groups alike set record quarterly revenue figures in the space. When the industry is rockin’ and rollin’, especially with the national unemployment rate hovering around four percent, it can be difficult to find quality talent to sustain and continue hiring growth momentum.

There are times when talent does surface and maybe is just not the right fit for a specific need. Maybe that same individual could be a solution for a future role and it can be important to position your company to again have access to this talent. As you may know, it is important to properly let recruits “off the hook” if not selected for your opportunity.

Candidates often spend hours of their time with preparation, commutes, and using PTO to participate in said interviews. Taking five minutes to provide honest and constructive feedback to finalist candidates at the end of an interview lifecycle can be useful to help bring along the next generation of talent, from production level to C-suite.

We are all guilty of occasionally giving a formatted rejection response that may leave a candidate with a bad taste in their mouth.  Even worse, not getting back with the recruit at all, thereby leaving them hanging and wondering what happened when it all seemed so promising! Honest and constructive interview feedback provides a candidate the opportunity to understand specific weaknesses in their game, and the chance to work on areas that may need improvement.

Providing a candidate the opportunity to grow professionally through transparent rejection feedback can help build long term relationships, foster an organizational reputation of improvement and growth, all while creating a positive buzz about the transparency of your hiring culture.  Ultimately, this practice may help you attract quality talent today and in the future.

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts.

It’s the Busy Season…Are You Well Positioned for Future Personnel Needs?

It’s busy season in the Title World! Even with many areas facing limited housing inventory, people are still out buying and selling homes, and closings are happening at a rapid rate. Consequently, it’s easy to get caught up in your day to day business this time of year, and possibly place future personnel needs on the back burner. Unfortunately, this practice has the potential to be costly down the road.

According to, the three best times of year to find a new opportunity from a candidate’s perspective are right after New Year’s, the spring months, and early autumn. As you are well aware, the spring seasonal hiring wave is currently in full force, and we will soon move into the summer recruiting “lull”. However, this does not mean that a business should neglect building a candidate pipeline over the summer months.

Engaging qualified candidates during the summer months may be beneficial, as it can position your organization to make hiring decisions swiftly and get new team members up to speed while the competition is still out there looking for talent during seasonal moments of panic! In general, candidates will soon be looking ahead to the fall hiring season and reaching them early to begin building a relationship could prove to be beneficial in encouraging them to join your team.

In summary, building a recruiting strategy, especially while you are caught up in the busy season, can be daunting and time consuming. This is one of the areas where a specialized recruiting team like Anderson|Biro can help. We will work to understand the type of candidate and personality that you would like to identify and assist in building your talent pipeline. In this way you can maintain focus on the direct revenue driving activities during these busy months, all while resting assured that you will be appropriately positioned when it comes to the next prime candidate motivation season.

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts.

First Rule of Making a Counter Offer: Don’t.

Tell us if you’ve heard this one before: It’s Monday morning. You’ve prepared for the week and ready to start the day. However, this morning doesn’t go as planned. One of your key team members has come to you to tender their resignation. They’ve accepted an offer with another organization and have offered to stay for two weeks to help transition.

As you know, losing a key member of your team is rarely an easy situation to handle. Your gut reaction is likely to find a way to keep them around, most commonly by matching their new compensation or exceeding it. While the fresh sting of losing an important team member may hurt, you could end up hurting yourself even more in the long run if you decide to counter offer.

Below are three points that outline why a counter offer may result in more detriment than benefit.

• A counter offer is essentially a band-aid for the role. If they decide to stay, you now have a short-term solution to a long-term challenge. Compensation is, often times, a secondary motivation for seeking another opportunity. By giving them more money, you may convince them to stay a little while longer, but their core reasons for leaving may not be remedied. Not to mention, you may have set yourself up for bullet point two.

• A counter offer can be a gut punch to team morale. Think about the precedent set by giving a counter offer. Others in the organization have now seen firsthand that if they want a raise they can simply bring an offer letter to you and *voila*, an instant raise, whether it’s from you or the competition. Inadvertently, a counter offer may have just encouraged others to look to leave, or in a best-case scenario, only ask for the raise at their next performance review, potentially threatening your organization’s overall compensation structure.

• A counter offer often contradicts the concept of loyalty. Someone from your team has been hanging around with the competition looking for another opportunity, and when it is brought to your attention, you essentially reward them for it. This could be a bad look to the person leaving, as it was necessary for them to threaten to leave to potentially receive their full compensation value. Also, this may be perceived as a signal to the rest of the team that they may have to do the same to get what they want. This may be from a compensation, upward mobility, or schedule flexibility perspective. Either way, folks that are actually happy may get the idea that they are not being given full value for their efforts.

There are obviously exceptions and outliers for every situation. That said, it might make sense not to allow a band-aid for a departing employee set a precedent for others that loyalty means little. Instead of being reactive, consider being more proactive and have regular and open conversations with your team members about things that may be improved to encourage a collaborative and communicative environment. This way, hopefully the Counter Offer conversation won’t come up in the first place!

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts.

“Why” Should Somebody Choose to Work with Your Organization?

Let’s think about this for a moment. There are lots of reasons why an individual may want to work with your company. Maybe you offer a fun work atmosphere, a desirable location, or maybe it is because of a compensation plan and benefits package. Some companies even provide all of the above. However, we believe that these reasons, while important, should not be the root reason as to “Why” someone really wants to work with you.

At the end of the day, our experience suggests that the most satisfied employees will be part of an organization where they believe in the foundation of why the organization exists in the first place. Often in interviews, hiring managers justifiably focus on candidate skill sets and quantitative accomplishments. They frequently seek anecdotal stories to exemplify a candidate’s ability to think critically, or work under pressure. While we understand and support that evaluating an individual skill set and track record is important, we also feel that comprehending the behavioral piece around a candidate’s motivation for taking a position may be equally important.

Simon Sinek (marketing consultant and author) was quoted saying, “If you hire people who can just do a job, they’ll work for your money. If you hire people who believe what you believe, they work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.” Yes, people need to have the physical capability to do any given job. However, when someone is mentally and emotionally invested into the core reasons for your existence, then you have a much higher likelihood of achieving increased productivity and loyalty through the natural swings that business can sometimes take.

To be clear, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of “Why”. The idea is to put more emphasis on conveying your mission and evaluating if a candidate has the intrinsic motivation you are seeking. This is another one of the key areas where the team at Anderson|Biro can help. Part of our goal as an executive recruiting firm is to form an in-depth understanding of our client’s central mission and evaluate early on if the candidates we are presenting share a similar mindset.

If you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members would be happy to hear your thoughts.

Good Luck: When Preparation Meets Opportunity!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines luck as “a force that brings good fortune or adversity; the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.” We often apply luck to our day to day lives…sometimes in a negative light…sometimes in a positive one. You may use bad luck as a scapegoat for a lack of preparation in an unfortunate situation. Conversely, you may credit good luck when things unexpectedly go your way.

In theory, luck is great for the ‘ignorance is bliss’ crowd. As we all know, in business, ignorance is typically anything but bliss! This can certainly apply when building your team.

On this St. Patrick’s week, as you evaluate your luck, we suggest that you don’t get caught behind the eight ball with your company’s personnel strategy. Ergo, a few helpful tips in that department:

• Take the steps necessary to consistently engage and interact with the external candidate pool.

• Periodically evaluate your existing team to look for needs and/or glaring weaknesses.

• To help with future recruiting and bench strength, make sure that you are actively promoting your company brand and culture at all times.

These types of actions may help when the next hiring opportunity presents itself. This way, you’ll be praising your luck instead of cursing it!