Specifics of the HR sector in the real estate industry
1. In your opinion, what are those factors that crucially impact employees’ engagement and retention in Real Estate industry? How do you measure or assess them?
I don’t find the answer to this question easy because I joined the real estate industry in the middle of the first wave of Covid, so it certainly wrongs the picture I would have had if a normal year had been behind us. What I can say with certainty is that, whatever the last year was like, what is very important to people in the real estate industry is what kind of company they work for, what are the opportunities to participate in serious projects, what are the company relationships and culture and ultimately what is important to them is to be adequately rewarded for their work. In fact, there is not much difference compared to other industries, except that participation in serious projects stands out, since in some industries that is not as pronounced as in the real estate industry. How do I see that? Well very simply and on a daily basis, my colleagues simply talk about our buildings as if they were talking about people. That kind of connection to property, in which most people here simply live every day, is something that really becomes an informal culture. And simply put, after a few months in MPC, Ušće or Navigator can no longer be just buildings for you, but they become a part of you in some unusual way.
2. How do you overcome, as a company, the lack of formal training and experience in property management when hiring new people? What are criteria for assessment of candidates in selection process?
The lack of formal training in this area is not so problematic for us because we, as a large real estate company, have the opportunity to hire people from other industries or people without experience who with us really have someone to learn from. Professionals in the real estate industry who work in MPC are people who, above all, perform their job in a great way, and in addition, which is extremely important, have a very positive attitude and collegiality at a high level and accept new colleagues without hesitation, so that they share their great knowledge and experience with them. I can say, from my own example, that when I joined the team I knew almost nothing about the industry itself. After less than a year, I’ve had a pretty good insight into business and trends, which shows that people here know a lot and share a lot. Bearing in mind that we are a company that runs its own properties and that we also provide quality asset management services to others, I can freely say that our strength is the accumulated knowledge and experience in the industry that is the basis for everything that we do today and that we will do in future.
3. The employees are brand ambassadors externally but value ambassadors internally – how often do you check the pulse of your employees when it comes to their satisfaction?
This year, for the first time, we checked the pulse of our organization regarding this topic after we had seriously reorganized and adopted new company values in the year of Covid. First of all, it was important to us that when we talk about what our company values are, we actively involve our employees in that discussion, which we did. In addition, our partners and clients have given us important input. After adopting the new values, we asked all our employees how they perceived company values through a carefully designed questionnaire. At the end of 2020, we presented the results to the entire organization and announced what awaits us, and that is our joint work in the company in order to stay at a high level, where employees said we already are, but also to fix everything we can in places where we have clearly seen that employees suggest that we can do better. At first, people usually do not have faith in such measurements. We have patience for that because trust is gained over time and we will try to show with the actions that follow after measuring the index of organizational culture, and not just to say, that the opinion of employees is important to us. We will conduct a new measurement in September 2021.
4. Different findings prove that knowledge sharing practices positively impact organizational performance through cost reduction, organization growth and intangible benefits. The influence knowledge sharing practices have within the real estate industry should be more intensive – how do you perceive the connection between companies operating in real estate have in this moment and what could be a continuous learning and knowledge sharing bright future practices?
I believe that exchange always contributes, in whatever form it is. It seems to me that the specificity of the real estate industry lies in the fact that the nature of the work that we do brings dynamics which is different from the nature of work in some other industries, so perhaps the exchange of knowledge and good practices is carried out more internally within the company than externally between companies. Also, the fact is that the real estate industry is not too open in some HR practices, which also shows us that in the earnings market research you will not find a real estate group for comparison, as you will find, for example production, FMCG, etc.
My nature may be like that, so I’m pretty optimistic concerning that matter. In fact, I believe that so far the real estate industry has simply been able to develop progressively without these things to a large extent, and that, right now, it is in a phase where it is gradually opening up to such things because maybe now is the time for something like that. I believe that nothing happens by chance and that there exists an optimal time for everything, even for a stronger exchange in the real estate industry at a more organized level, because at the individual level among experts in the field it certainly does.
HR Director, MPC Properties