FuturePlace recently interviewed Andrew Young, Associate Director (Innovation) of Sino Group where he shared his insights PropTech Innovation and Sustainability in Real Estate. Andrew discussed Sino Group’s innovative approach to transforming the real estate industry in Hong Kong and beyond. Discover how this forward-thinking organisation is nurturing talent, investing in innovation, and driving sustainability initiatives while maintaining a global perspective.
“Innovation is the foundation for a more sustainable future. We invest in innovation to develop new ideas for the real estate industry that can positively impact our business and our communities.”
FuturePlace:hat is your role and responsibilities within Sino Group?
Chris Omeissah: My current role is focused on helping Proptech companies grow by placing the right people in the right seats. My clients are purely Proptech businesses looking for leadership talent. For a lot of people, Proptech is still a relatively new sector, however, Proptech is really just a tech-based business that impacts the built environment. My view on the industry is that there are a lot of skilled people who can add a lot of value to the industry. So I see my role as the connective tissue that helps transition senior technology, business and property leaders into Proptech businesses to give them the best chance of success long-term.
FP: How would you describe your business ethos?
CO: That’s a good question. I think our ethos is really about being proactive and rising by serving others, especially those in the start-up industry. I have always supported entrepreneurs who have a long-term vision and that’s how I’ve positioned the business.
Proptech360 operates as a headhunting firm for fast-growing businesses, and the reality is were an intermediary focused on sourcing and assessing the suitability of candidates for our clients. Our business is there to support founders and senior leadership teams who need an alternate perspective and who may not necessarily know what to look for. We take a proactive approach to find the right people for the right seats.
FP: What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing right now when it comes to recruiting talent?
CO: The biggest challenge is understanding the needs of the role for the company looking to fill it. There are companies that think they need someone when they don’t because there’s deeper issues in the businesses, such as company culture or lack of product market fit. The reality is a lot of startups are fast-growing businesses, so companies just hire for the sake of hiring to grow their footprint based on a range of internal or external factors. The truth is that hiring ‘anyone’ is not a quick fix because people are not commodities. Further to this, it is certainly a candidate market at the moment, which is a good reminder to businesses to double down on their ‘why.’
FP: You have stated that you are passionate about empowering people to “positively disrupt” the built environment. How do you define a positive disruptor?
CO: Someone who is willing to challenge the status quo and establish a new way of doing things. A positive disruptor is someone that’s proactive, someone who always thinks with the end in mind, and is focused on the actual problems facing the industry as a whole. This could be people focusing on the positive influence of technology on automating menial tasks, improving the health and wellbeing of the workforce or providing solutions to solve the current climate crisis.
FP: Why are you drawn to entrepreneurs and innovators?
CO: Something I’ve always been passionate about are people who have a different view on traditional processes and take action. Entrepreneurs and innovators are the ambitious change makers who drag the industry forward bit by bit.
FP: How do people fit into the digital transformation of the Proptech sector?
CO: Digital transformation can only be propelled by leaders who embrace it. I’ve always been passionate about people who have a different view on traditional processes. Without leaders trying to destabilize antiquated influences, you end up with the same laggard industry, and that’s what has hindered construction and property for so long.
FP: What is the biggest issue that you’ve seen PropTech leaders your clients struggle with?
CO: Not finding the right person is one of the most expensive mistakes PropTech companies can make, so a key problem that I see PropTech leaders facing is the fact that they wish they had more time to select the right people or they compromise on getting the right people to fill seats. While that’s probably the biggest issue facing leaders in all businesses, it’s particularly difficult to source people for the emerging technology sector due to the rapid pace of the business’ growth and the injection of venture funding used to fuel its operations. Other issues facing our clients is the constant battle to poach talent and rising salary pressure for senior leaders. The need for good talent means some of our clients have been willing to offer salaries 20-30% above similar roles in other industries or pre-Covid.
FP: What are your expert tips for Proptech companies seeking to identify and hire the right talent?
CO: Get clarity on your internal process and ensure the right people in the team are involved throughout the interview stages. The best clients I have worked closely with are clear on their process, set specific timelines, provide take-home tasks for candidates to present and assess not only the skills they have but also the skills they want to learn. Companies need to focus on candidates who always show a can do attitude, openness to continuously learning and have high levels of integrity.
Real Estate Innovation Festival
Proptech360 is proudly supporting the Real Estate Innovation Festival, taking place on 9-10 November 2022. Bringing together the game changers of the real estate industry for exclusive insights, business and networking opportunities, and to showcase the most innovative PropTech solutions to unprecedented challenges.