Tough HR Lessons For Real Estate CEOs

Public relations

Amazon’s HR practices have been the attention of a lot of headlines lately. Should this serve as a wake-up call to CEOs and business owners in the real estate industry?

Details of what it is like to work for Amazon have opened up a lot of eyes around the world. An in depth investigation by the New York Times reveals a variety of stark contrasts to what many initially believed. According to the media and ex-employees of the giant online retailer, Amazon is effectively the greatest place you’ll hate to work. So what can real estate businesses take away from this PR debacle, and glimpse inside one of the most successful sales organizations in history?

What Your Company is Up Against

Amazon is described as a churn and burn operation, which goes through thousands of employees. The only way to earn and keep your spot is reportedly to come up with a winning, bulletproof idea that generates great revenue. This is a ferocious environment and innovation engine which almost makes Google and Apple appear like tiny David’s with slingshots against a giant (Amazon). As a real estate business, you may not be directly competing with Amazon. In fact, you may be leveraging a number of Amazon’s features to propel your business. However, do not underestimate the fact that you are up against a massive army set on innovating and taking over all types of industries and sales of products. Don’t get caught slacking.

Just Because They Aren’t Complaining, Doesn’t Mean Things Are Good

People have been desperate for work over the last decade. Companies like Amazon have worked them extremely hard. It is no doubt a great honor to work for a company like Amazon. And while the conditions, long hours, and pressure workers have faced aren’t really that unusual, it is clear that just because they grin and bear it doesn’t mean it will end well. Now ex-employees are complaining of health problems, and that could mean expensive lawsuits. A similar story has been playing out in the real estate industry with at least a couple firms now having been found to have been illegally overworking staff, despite agreeing to terms in advance. This makes hiring freelance contractors, and outsourcing overseas even more attractive. At a minimum, it is a warning to hire extremely carefully.

There are Lots of Great Workers Out There

The amount of people that apply and go through the mill at Amazon shows that there are thousands of very qualified, innovative, entrepreneurial, and hardworking people out there. Many of them are going to be ecstatic about any position that isn’t as taxing as Amazon, and will certainly continue to work to the extreme if they feel appreciated and respected.

Sometimes We All Drop the Ball

Everyone makes mistakes. There are many great features in Jeff Bezos’ workplace culture, hiring system, and company. Many of them should be adopted by real estate companies. However, it seems that no one told Jeff that the workplace has changed; that there are other options out there, and that the job market is turning. Eight or nine years ago, you could snag a $1M a year executive and make them beg for minimum wage. That’s changed a lot already. Now, especially in real estate, good workers can demand a lot. After all, you don’t want them working for the competition. We are already seeing hiring and recruiting drives stepped up, and we’ll see a lot of poaching going on soon. This runs all the way down the line from real estate agents to title company reps, to marketers, sales people, and processors. How hard do you really think it’s going to be to poach staff from Amazon?

PR Matters

PR really matters. Too many smaller real estate companies overlook this. Make sure you are in control of getting a positive message out.