2nd May 2019
An interview with Fisher German HR Director – Maria Hawley
It is well documented that there is a national shortage of skilled candidates across the property sector and particularly within chartered surveying. Nowadays there are many factors that candidates take in to consideration when it comes to choosing an employer, things such as flexible working, continued professional development, holidays, day to day duties and responsibilities and crucially – the culture of the business they are joining.
There are many firms that are getting this right, none more so than the nationwide property consultancy Fisher German who have grown at an impressive rate over recent years – Adding 100’s of heads to their team nationwide and developing no less than 40 Graduates over the past 12 months
To see what they are doing differently to stand out from the competition I spoke with the businesses HR Director – Maria Hawley, who is one of the people responsible for this growth and the firms leading benefits structure.
Fisher German have grown phenomenally in recent years, what do you put this down to?
“This growth hasn’t happened by accident. It happens by providing the right strategic direction, excellent financial management and above all, by having the best people in the right roles across the whole organisation. Through this we have attracted a top-quality client portfolio and our approach is to be trusted business advisers as well as property professionals. We help our clients achieve what they want and create opportunities they didn’t know existed”
What is it that you do differently to your competitors in order to both attract and retain the best people?
“For us, it’s about finding people who have a passion for their chosen careers, share similar values and inspire others. We are not looking to recruit clones or robots, we would not be the entrepreneurial and innovative firm we are today, if we did. At Fisher German we are not a faceless organisation so our approach to recruitment and retention is understanding what inspires and motivates individuals so that they can do the work they enjoy the best. Above everything, we recognise that everyone is unique and that they have a choice. All surveying firms are not the same. We hope that people will build a career with us that they love so they never have to work a day in their life!”
When people are engaged with their company and truly love who they work for they work better, how have you done this?
“We want Fisher German to attract the best, retain the best and help individuals be the best. I believe this is done through having a great culture. That culture means having exceptional clients, interesting and varied work, career progression and development opportunities. It is also about being supportive and having fun. Our support is via such things as training, coaching, mentoring, wellbeing programmes, employee assistance programmes, and sponsorship to name but a few. Fun is at the core of the business. Whether it’s on the sporting field, playing tag rugby or rounders, or summer social events or supporting our charity of the year or day to day working. I think its great when walking through the offices, I see teams interacting, sharing knowledge and enjoying working with each other. Its music to my ears when I hear them laughing.”
Graduates… Fisher German have had a 100% pass rate over the past 2 years, what do you have in place that has achieved this and have you had to adapt to make sure this continues?
“Graduates represent 10% of the business, so we have around 50 individuals at various stages going through the graduate process. Each graduate has an APC counsellor and supervisor. They are also given an APC doctor who is from outside of their office as an independent pair of eyes on the experience they are gaining. They will help keep the graduate on track to ensure they have the requisite experience to meet the levels of their competences. Before a graduate goes forward for their APC interview, they will have an APC mock interview. This is chaired by individuals in the firm who are RICS assessors. They receive valuable feedback on their case study, answering technique and paperwork. We also hold three dedicated graduate training days which help cover off APC topics but also other training areas such as presentation skills.”
So, as you can see, it is about more than just a leading salary and bonus scheme that enables businesses to flourish, it’s all about engaging with your employees, making them feel wanted and promoting collaboration, embracing change and implementing all of the above into your businesses attraction and retention strategy which will see your business grow.
Article by James Willis – Manager (Rural & Residential Surveying)