November 2010 13
So here’s the bad news: your employees are feeling a little burned out these days. But here’s the good better other news: it’s not just your employees. A recent study by international HR consulting firm TowersWatson shows that fewer than 21 percent of employees surveyed described themselves as “highly engaged” at work, down from 31 percent in 2009. Nearly one-tenth of workers indicated that they were fully disengaged.
In a scandal of Bristol-Palin-on-‘Dancing-with-the-Stars’ proportion, CareerBuilder’s most recent survey reveals that 27 percent of workers plan to spend at least one hour shopping online for holiday gifts during office time on Cyber Monday. More than one in 10 will spend at least two hours.
The survey of more than 2,400 employers and more than 3,100 workers also revealed that nearly half (47 percent) of companies act like total Scrooges monitor employees’ Internet and e-mail use, and 5 percent have even fired someone for holiday shopping online at work.
CareerBuilder Leadership Series: Spotlight on Martin Rueter, President of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
In the following excerpt from CareerBuilder’s recent interview with Martin Rueter, President of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., Rueter discusses the importance of empowering people to succeed and how a little empathy never hurt anybody.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE WEICHERT’S CULTURE, AND WHAT ROLE DO YOU PLAY IN REINFORCING THAT CULTURE? The culture of Weichert is one of unified thinking. It is one of high expectation on performance. I believe NAR (the National Association of Realtors) states that 30 percent of agents who are brand new make it past the first year. At Weichert, 70 percent make it after the first year, because we provide them the structure and unified activities. We can measure and monitor the activities and track the trending. It is very structured, which is somewhat contrary to the real estate business, where you have a lot of high-flyers doing their own thing. We have a fine balance between empowering people to succeed and at the same time saying, "And here’s the way to get there."
WHAT ARE SOME KEY LEADERSHIP QUALITIES THAT YOU LOOK FOR IN PROSPECTS WITHIN YOUR OWN BUSINESS? I tell my owners and managers that their job is to paint a picture—a future picture that the prospects can see themselves in. While we have a very clear, consistent way of doing business, it is much more collegial, circular and artistic. New people need to be told what to do, and experienced people need to be applauded for what they are doing. There is a big difference, and having that flexibility is an art form. Different strokes for different folks. I have always believed that people drive the systems, and great leaders drive the people. But systems are what make our company succeed. Great people working new systems makes it even better, and great leaders keep that steady flow of people in there.
ARE THERE ANY KEY LESSONS THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED IN YOUR TENURE AS CEO OF THIS ORGANIZATION? I am absolutely convinced that all the good ideas are not centered in this company. One thing you have to do is go out and hear what other people are doing. CareerBuilder helps us locate potential new customers who are not really in the business yet. An example is the idea about new agents, possibly, or existing agents when you buy a franchise. I really believe in having a mixed bag within your company: ages, generations, cultures and languages. I think the company needs to be a snapshot of the community that you are serving. Particularly in real estate, there is a tremendous age gap. I consider myself probably the oldest realtor around here. This is my 51st year in real estate, and yet I consider myself pretty cool because I realize that we need a lot of young people in here, and we need some young ideas.
While you were busy picking the absolute worst time to cut away from a live television feed, making every bride-to-be in the world slightly less excited now about every detail of her own upcoming wedding, or figuring you’ve cornered the market on everything else online, so why not move to e-mail?…here’s what was happening in the world of workforce management this week…
Top talent doesn’t come cheap…anymore, at least.
Does the fact that you cringe at the sight of your neighbor’s 20 cats and prefer the company of your trusty Lassie companion mean you’re more likely to have a job as a police officer — or a CEO? Does your love of slithering reptiles mean you spend your days as a salesperson or a social worker? Does your strange obsession with your foul-mouthed parrot mean you’re more likely to be in construction or public relations?
We may never have the technology that enables us to truly read job seekers’ minds (if only Steve Jobs would channel some of his energy into recruitment and human resources, right?), but darn it if we don’t keep trying…The latest attempt comes courtesy of job aggregator SimplyHired, which recently released a survey profiling today’s job seeker – where they go to look for jobs, what they look for in employers, and what they’re willing to negotiate.
I recently attended a brunch linner lunch seminar hosted by the Business Marketing Association of Chicago which featured the findings of a study called Talent 3.0: Solving the Digital Leadership Challenge -- A Global Perspective. This seminar was particularly interesting to me, because while it's common to hear about the importance of employees learning about new technologies to stay relevant in a changing workplace, it's not as common to hear about how the efforts to do so are actually playing out in the real world. The clashes of technologically adept employees versus those who are having a difficult time embracing new technologies are real, and it's vital that we talk about them now in order to figure out how to move forward.
So, Digital Walks Into a Workplace...
With more and more consumers and clients embracing new technologies, companies across the board are investing more in all things digital -- including their platforms, media and employees. And this is great, right? After all, employees adapt to changes in the workplace all the time: that water cooler with 10 confusing options, the new guy who sings Scorpion tunes in his cubicle, the announcement about the new office and the new (huge) commute. So why should adapting to technology be any different?