THE WORD -- Are human resources and industrial relations a challenge in your job as a principal?

The Fair Work Ombudsman and industry bodies are cracking down on principals involved in ‘sham contracting’. This month we ask…


ARE HUMAN RESOURCES AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS A CHALLENGE IN YOUR JOB AS A PRINCIPAL?
ANDREW CHIU
Principal, Ray White Pyrmont, NSW
“Of all the professions, real estate is the ultimate ‘people business’. We manage not just properties but relationships. We need people with the right attitude as well as aptitude. Acquisition and retention of the right staff is paramount in our business. Real estate agents are the most flamboyant and egoist bunch of people. To correctly and not overly incentivise staff is already a lifetime challenge. The extra compliance burden on IR can, at times, be overwhelming.”

DES MCKEEVER
Principal, First National Albany Creek, QLD
“It doesn’t affect me so much now as I have a small office with two staff, one of which is employed on a commission-only basis. I don’t think there is enough freedom for business owners in our industry and in my opinion we wear too many hats as it is. The agreements involved with employment can be fairly complicated, lengthy and time consuming. However, if you have a quality staff member, in order to retain that employee you would be foolish not to pay that person well above award.”

COLIN KITNEY
Director, Barry Plant Dandendong, VIC
“Currently, with the many changes in industrial relations law, it is a great problem for principals to keep up with amendments. Most principals are not aware of their obligations in terminating employment or warning a member of staff, unless they speak with accountants or lawyers.
There is also the additional problem of staff getting incorrect information from outside sources. Fortunately, the Barry Plant Group keeps you informed with regular information workshops and email updates.”

RICHARD YOUNG
CEO, Caporn Young, WA
“Yes, particularly at present, as Caporn Young enters a growth phase. Sourcing and retaining quality talent is paramount to long-term success, so it needs to be addressed at all levels within an organisation, starting at the top. But it’s not an easy mission, especially when talent is being drawn to lucrative opportunities in the resources industry. One of the ways we are addressing the challenge is by developing the right training systems and team support to guide individuals through the potentially treacherous first few years in real estate.”

JOHN DRUITT
Director, Century 21 Morphett Vale, SA
“Being a principal and on the board of the Real Estate Employer Federation (REEF) has given me a glimpse of many of the issues real estate businesses face with employment. And, guess what: the same problems come up for everyone. The businesses with the best IR and HR outcomes are usually those that are members of REEF or a similar industry body, and have used their guidance to put a process in place when employing people. The biggest problem facing our industry in this area is the continued inability to find sales people who succeed in the job.”

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