This year’s Top Places to Work roundtable brought together executives from three very different industries: residential real estate, grocery, and Internet security. But Carol Bulman, chief executive of Jack Conway & Co.; Gary Pfeil, president of Roche Bros.; and Mike Tuchen, chief executive of Rapid7 do have something very much in common: Their companies have made regular appearances on our Top Places list. They recently met at the Globe to share insights into hiring and retaining employees, as well as where the economy is heading. Below is an edited conversation with Globe business editor Shirley Leung:
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.
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