The following Q&A was completed as part of our conversational Commercial Real Estate FAQ Interview Series, we hope you find it helpful.
It’s not only about attracting the best talent, it’s about keeping and nurturing that talent that you do have. Cross-training employees and really allowing them to grow while embracing their strengths keeps your team strong, while ensuring your employees feel challenged and satisfied in the work that they do. Looking for an entrepreneurial spirit, and encouraging that spirit, is key to building a team that will be a true asset to your company.
Richard Wilson: Well, related to team, one thing that people know of that followed our events over the years is just that everyone says that quality of the team is most important. So much so, I think some people kind of ignore this advice because everyone’s heard it, they heard it in their MBA program, they heard it in books they read, on podcasts, et cetera. So, in your case, what specific actionable takeaways do you have on attracting the best talent and keeping them that are maybe not so obvious to listeners?
Leonard Way: Yeah, compensation is easy, you can always attract people with compensation, but that only goes so far. We at Beach Company have been quite blessed a lot of long term tenured associates. In fact, this year we had two gentlemen retire with 50 and 51 years of tenure with the company. Our management team has a tenure of over 15 years. People refer to working with us as being part of a family, and really all that means is we’re really just trying to bring out the best in the individual person, and give them room to grow. The company overall is relatively lean, and there’s not always a straightforward path of progression upward, so what we strive to do is encourage our employees to progress laterally. You may be an expert at one item, but you could pick up more responsibility in other areas of the company as well. Over my 22 years, I’ve been in 6 different aspects of the company. So as we see a strength, we go to it. One of the things I tell people when we’re interviewing for a job is we’re looking for an entrepreneurial spirit, and we like for our employees to challenge themselves. We want to keep those employees engaged and we try to do so in a numerous number of ways outside of just their direct day to day responsibilities. That might be an ad hock committee, that might be being part of the overall strategic planning process, what have you there. Our result is that the employees truly embrace the company and they do choose to stay with us for 10 years greater than the industry norm.
Richard: Great. Great, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Just this morning, because yesterday we got notice of one of our team members leaving our company, or switching over the department they’re working in, just like you said it’ll end up in them being cross-trained and a more well rounded employee without leaving a gap on our team. So I can definitely relate to that in real time.