In a recent podcast, I welcomed Recruiter Erica Lockwood of Joseph Chris Partners, a top executive recruiting firm in the homebuilding sector. Here’s a summary of our lively chat…
Erica has focused exclusively on the construction and real estate development industries for over 20 years, securing top talent for companies nationwide. While she has seen many shifts in the job and labor market over the last few years, one thing stands out:
We all want to be respected by our companies.
We want to feel fulfilled by what we do and how we contribute. When people are fulfilled and respected, their loyalty is strong – and looking for outside opportunities isn’t on their radar.
The Face of the Workforce Today & Beyond
On Goals and Plans:
Many people Erica talks to wonder what the next 5 or 10 years holds. “They are very goal oriented,” she explained.
But she warns that having your plan so set in your mind can limit other opportunities. “It’s great to identify goals, but don’t close doors from yourself,” Erica emphasized.
On Reinvention in a Post-COVID World:
As we all know, COVID caused many people to rethink what is important to them: they made life-changing decisions regarding careers, industries, and positions as a result.
Erica’s advice? “Don’t be afraid of change or new paths and possibilities for yourself. Be honest about what’s important to you in your personal life and career goals and choose based on that, even if it means changing course.”
Mentorship Matters: Why It’s So Valuable
Mentors are invaluable, Erica stated, including mentors both inside and outside of your organization. Those inside your organization can share with you what it takes to maneuver through the company, encourage and advocate for you. Those who have ‘been there, done that’ can add extraordinary perspective.
Those outside of the company can offer different, unbiased perspectives as you make decisions for your career – whether that be mentors from other companies, business or leadership coaches, or anyone who can offer unique, fresh wisdom. Having mentors who have different experience and positions can also inspire you to consider seeing yourself doing new and different things as well.
And don’t forget: Be a mentor to others! This adds fulfillment and allows you to stay focused, while also contributing, giving, and developing your own leadership skillsets. Mentorship can many times be far more valuable than taking a class or attending a webinar.
Be Honest with Yourself: Why Do You Want the Next Thing?
What is your goal and why is it important to you?
There is no wrong answer unless it’s not in line with who you are, says Erica.
She offers this practical advice:
- Know who you are and what your value is that you bring each day.
- What makes you light up?
- What are you really good at doing?
These answers will point in you in incredible directions. Doing something else that isn’t your most valuable contribution means you aren’t bringing to the world all that you have to offer.
Passion doesn’t come in a title or a position.
We think titles mean everything. In most cases, titles mean nothing.
Erica explains that getting hung up on titles is losing sight of the goal. Staying open and knowing the end goal that is aligned with your authentic superpower will define what creates contribution, passion, and fulfillment for you.
No title or position can do that. She sums it up: “Right company. Right Culture, Right Operator. Right Responsibilities, let the other stuff wash out.”
Insight & Advice for Leaders from a Seasoned Recruiter
Balancing a multi-generational workforce:
Erica says that being respected across all generations needs to be the reality – and it has to come from the top down.
Millennials and Boomers give each other a bad rap, but both bring great value to organizations, particularly together. She notes the biggest difference is the mode of communication and a careful balancing act of when and how to communicate certain things in the workplace.
“Educating ourselves to build an understanding of how each other thinks and outlining expectations is key,” said Erica. “Most people just want to know what is expected of them and what they need to do to get there. When we know that, it allows for some much more opportunity to build relationships toward success.”
Tenure is another big difference. It’s not a negative to the millennial generation to move around for what they want. They are willing to accept it as the way to get where they want to go.
Resume selection: Look Past the Words
Looking at a piece of paper is not nearly enough to make good decisions about a person, explained Erica.
“Discounting someone quickly could mean that you’ve missed out on high quality talent. Looking inside the human and past the words will allow more ability to create a strong team and culture of success for your company.”
Hybrid Work: Part of the “New Normal”
COVID forever changed the way we work.
“It’s a tough sell to go backwards after someone has been making it work productively for so long now,” Erica admitted. “Technology allows for it, and it has created an ability to function so much more efficiently in many ways.
Why are people leaving and making changes right now?
To achieve the work/life balance, explained Erica, noting that burning both ends to go, go, go without an end in sight is a big driver.
People are tired because they aren’t just doing one job, they are doing the job of 1.5 to 2 people. While most people want to be team players and will give it their all, there is a limit.
“If it’s a consistent thing across the board, it’s a sign that someone a few levels above is not considering how to support the people best,” explained Erica. “Consider the kind of culture that you want to build when your people are working 6-7 days a week consistently and not at home with their families. It’s a decision about how you are choosing to run your business and it’s a concern.”
On Mergers and Acquisitions:
When there are swift and vast leadership changes, it creates a fear of culture change and shock, noted Erica, explaining that there will always be the 20% who jump quickly for fear of what might happen, while the other 80% will wait and ride it out to see how things go before making a change. “Be aware of quick change and the effects it has on morale.”
The importance of culture has become an increasingly important aspect of the work environment for employees. As the talent pool becomes smaller as we have seen in the recent years, offering the benefits, culture and treatment to attract the best employees will be a huge distinguishing factor allowing companies to stand out from the rest.
One of my favorite analogies to offer my homebuilding & housing industry clients… is that they already do so much research, keeping up with changing trends in technology, design, and colors to offer what their buyers want.
“Appealing to top talent is no different. Understanding what people want and don’t want, how they think, what they want to feel and what drives their decisions can offer significant advantage to building a team and culture of success.”
My tremendous gratitude goes to Erica Lockwood. She is leaving a legacy in this industry. I hope she’ll be back another time to share more of her knowledge with us as we all continue to be a Work in Progress!
Come check us out at Strive Coaching Studio to see why we’re the #1 resource in leadership development for the homebuilding & housing industry!