The water cooler is dead

As the owner of an appraisal firm or appraisal manager of your department, you can no longer manage with the Ronco Rotisserie oven slogan, “Set it and forget it.” Your people need something different to be productive.  

The rules of the race have changed. 

If you surveyed your people, I’m betting 90% want to work remote. The reasons are obvious, less commute time, more control of their schedule and generally happier.  

Chatting at the water cooler is officially dead. Replaced with numerous Zoom, Google Meet or Teams video chats. Is it here to stay? Yes. 

Start a new race 

Does it matter to have almost everyone working remotely? What about collaboration? What about productivity? Should you push back against this trend? 

Will a FTE (full time equivalent) employee need to be augmented with a part-time/project based add-on, maybe a 1.25 FTE instead?  

The timing of the great resignation makes sense coming out of a worldwide pandemic. Many have re-examined their lives, personally and professionally. After all, the 8-5 has been around in the US since 1866, I think it’s time for another look.  

Race to professional growth 

We might try to take cues from MasterClass who produce online classes with well-known instructors in their field of expertise. In the valuation industry, we have plenty of masters but few actual teachers. We need these masters to come forward to inspire students to continue to pursue our subject matter.  

The new normal will include a focus on adaptive learning, sharing information, customized work, use any device and a reliance on collaboration technologies. It also involves cultivating new leaders. 

Run in your lane 

A lot has been said about the appraisal shortage, but it’s more eye-popping when you do the math. For example, in my Tampa Bay market there are about 15 commercial appraisers under 30 years old. Let me repeat that, 15. I personally have more project based employees (though they’re all tech related). Appraising is a growing market and backfilling it is in need of a solution ASAP.  

Huge talent upside 

Employees want the power to dictate who they work with, when they work and how they work with each other. From an employer perspective, remote workforce allows you to obtain talent from all over the country. You’re no longer limited to just your city or have to relocate folks. 

Be a solutions person 

Our valuation industry seems to struggle to hand the baton to the next generation. I think the solution might be to provide what people want. We need to fix it. 

“You can make a million excuses for why something didn’t go well, 
but ultimately, just fix it and get on with it. Be a solutions person.” 
Emily Weiss 

OK just a few more quotes 

“Most people prefer a problem they can’t solve to a solution they don’t like.” Lee Thayer 

“The most accurate solution is a combination of many approaches.” Sukant Ratnakar 

“Today’s problems come from yesterday’s ‘solutions’.” Peter M. Senge 

Here’s what people say 

  • “I feel more productive working from my home office. It gives me a better work/life balance.” 
  • “I can focus on what needs to be done without being interrupted, and since there’s no commute time, it means more hours in front of a screen.” 
  • “I am able to work extra hours without having to go too far to access the systems and software needed to produce appraisal reports.” 

Educate your folks on the importance of collaboration and ideation, but also provide flexibility in their schedule. Consider cloud technology like DataComp Suite at your appraisal firm or YouConnect in your bank appraisal department to be productive as the workforce changes.   

It’s OK that the water cooler is dead and replaced by technology.  

As the firm owner or manager in your bank; you’re not in charge of the business outcome. You’re in charge of the people that are responsible for the business outcome. 

Install a new water cooler.