Globe: Gary and Carol, you’re not rapidly growing like Mike’s company, but you have a lot of turnover. How do you handle that?
Pfeil: Roche Bros. hires about 1,000 associates a year. Probably 90 percent of them are part-timers and a lot of them are for summer jobs — the high school kids working as cashiers or baggers, and a lot of those kids come in, and they work for probably six months for us, and then they go on.
About 10 percent of them are full-time associates, management people. And those people tend to stay with us for 20, 30 — we have some people with 40 years service with us.
From no experience to lots of experience, it’s still the same thing. Friendly people are going to be good with customers.
Bulman: We have just over 600 sales associates right now, and to keep that number up we have to bring in about 100 people a year. It would be wonderful if they all stayed. But real estate is a unique business. It’s not suited for everyone. People sometimes will come into it thinking that it’s something that’s very flexible, that it’s easy money. They show a house, they get a paycheck. There’s so much more to it, especially today, with short sales, foreclosures, a lot of complications.
A lot of real estate today is tools and technologies, and people come in with different skill sets when they join us, so we need to match our training with their skill sets.
Globe: Mike, your hiring is just pure expansion, right?
Tuchen: We’re going from about 200 at the end of last year, and we’ll be about 300 people by the end of this year. For us, it’s about hiring really great talent so we can continue that kind of growth.
Globe: I know it’s difficult to hire certain kinds of tech workers. You even hear about $10,000 bounties to find some talent.
Tuchen: We haven’t seen that. What we’ve seen is that we have a great story to tell. It’s one of the fastest growing places in Boston. It literally is an almost, an electric atmosphere — just full of passionate, high-energy people. You feel it as soon as you walk in the door. And so the right people walk into the environment and just say, “I want to work there.”
Globe: What about retaining talent?
Bulman: Success really comes from a feeling. I hear my agents say that they love working with Jack Conway Co. because there’s a family feeling, so much so that I’ve started to ask them to define what that means. What I’m getting from them is that working for people who care and are willing to take the time to listen to how to get better from their perspective. Honestly, if my agents aren’t happy, then our company won’t survive. Our agents are our front line.
Tuchen: We’ve focused on making sure that we have a great environment for people to learn and grow. Because, particularly for people early on in their career, that constant sense of being challenged and learning to do something you couldn’t do the year before and really making sure you’re growing at the fastest possible pace is just so critical to your ultimate success and satisfaction.Continued...