A message from the CEO: Stay up to date to stay compliant

Compliance. It’s a word that strikes fear into the hearts of many employers. But it goes hand in hand with running an agency – and now with the start of the new Real Estate Industry Award, it’s never been more important.

At REEF, we try to spend as much time as possible out and about, talking to members about their employment responsibilities. And during our presentations, we often reflect on the diversity of questions our Workplace Relations Advisors field via 15,000 calls per year to our Helpline. From simple requests to complex problems and everything in between, the breadth of advice our team offers to real estate employers is quite astonishing.

The common theme that comes through in all these calls is that managing people is hard. It’s not an exact science and there’s no magic formula that will ensure you get it right every time.

Real estate employers operate in a fast-paced and stress-filled environment – and are often faced with inflated egos. So keeping the employment relationship on an even keel can be a daily challenge and mistakes are inevitable. I can’t help but think back to my own experiences running an agency for 18 years in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. I certainly have battle scars!

One of REEF’s key objectives is to help real estate employers minimise the mistakes they make and therefore lower the inherent risk stemming from the employment relationship. I say ‘minimise’, because even the most outstanding bosses make mistakes.

In my experience, great bosses rise up from their mistakes by:

  1. Acknowledging they made a bad decision, seeking professional clarity and then making a new, better decision quickly


  1. Acknowledging a blind spot that needs to be addressed and then, after informing themselves, doing something about it without procrastinating.

At REEF, we work hard to keep the advice we provide via the Helpline and the information we distribute as uncomplicated as possible. This is despite the myriad of complexities that exist in the employment relationship, and the heavy burden of employment legislation and over regulation that confronts our industry. I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has said to me: “Who would want to be a real estate employer?”

Smart employers stay up to date with their employment responsibilities and work within the laws as they apply to our industry. It’s no surprise that the ones who regularly cut corners and remain blissfully unaware of their obligations as employers, are the ones that trouble seems to follow.

Bryan Wilcox