workplace mental health

#60 From homeless to winning industry awards – Robert Jurcec, Founder and CEO, OneKloudX

Feb 29, 2024

Robert Jurcec, Founder and CEO, OneKloudX, who came home very late every night drinking and got kicked out when he was 18, made his way out of this crisis through education, and now celebrates every success and encourages a recognition culture where people describe Robert as kind, thoughtful, and supportive. Now committed to building a culture of trust and wellbeing, Robert attributes his success to asking lots of questions to understand people’s individuality.
    
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"It’s very important to me to make sure that my employees’ wellbeing is cared for, and they’re taken care of in every possible way, in the ever changing environment."
- Robert Jurcec

DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE

  • What caring means in the workplace for Robert
  • How education can become people’s way out of crises
  • Building a culture of trust and wellbeing

RESOURCES

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Transcript from the interview


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SPEAKERS

Graeme Cowan, Robert Jurcec

Graeme Cowan  00:02

It’s a real pleasure to welcome Robert Jewess, sick to the caring CEO. Welcome, Robert.

 

Robert Jurcec  00:24

Nice to be here. Thank you, Graeme.

 

Graeme Cowan  00:26

What does care in the workplace mean to you?

 

Robert Jurcec  00:31

Ah, it’s, it’s a very important topic, especially in this day and age. Because change at work, how we work, the places we work, coming out of COVID It’s, it’s constant, changing environments and, and trying to keep the employees happy. And stimulated. It’s getting harder and harder. So it’s very important to me to make sure that their wellbeing make sure that they’re, they’re cared for, they’re taken care of, in every possible way, in the ever changing environment. So yeah, so it’s very important to me. And

 

Graeme Cowan  01:09

how do you make that happen? You know, when you get together with them, I guess physically as well as remotely, how do you keep tabs on people’s wellbeing.

 

Robert Jurcec  01:21

So I do my best to come to the office as often as possible. To see the team I do travel interstate to see the other team members as well and catch up with them. Majority of them to stay through work from home compared to the team in Melbourne that do work from the office, or there is a hybrid sort of environment. So catching up with them one on one, or in a group P I think it’s very important to not just talk about work, but also talk about what’s going on in their life and, and even just have a laugh of them at a personal level, while still having that still boss employee relationship intact. That’s also very important. Because you know, want to move in the lines as well.

 

Graeme Cowan  02:00

Yeah, but it really works, doesn’t it? You know, if people like coming to work, like interacting with their colleagues, it just makes a much better formula for well being and success of the group, doesn’t it? It

 

Robert Jurcec  02:14

does, it does, especially when they begin to make friendships between each other, and also catch up at work. So that also helps as well. So yeah, hiring people, I think, in knowing who to hire is probably the most important job for me in my role.

 

Graeme Cowan  02:31

And we will talk a lot about, you know, how you work with your team and how you, you know, increase engagement and support and results. But you have a really interesting backstory, and I think our viewers, and listeners would be really, really interested to know about it. So would you mind just sharing you a, you know, 18 year old you’re hoping to play competitive soccer. So that is a Korea and six plane? What happened after that?

 

Robert Jurcec  03:06

Oh, basically, I had a career ending injury at 18. Ankle, numerous operations later, never repair or, or get back into it in full vigor. So I had to make a conscious decision, what do I do? In my career? I wasn’t going to play internationally, I wasn’t going to professional soccer player. So I thought, Okay, what do I do and, and it took a long time to get over the fact that I wasn’t going to be what I wanted to be, especially when you work your whole life, you know, from the age of nine, playing one sport, and that’s all you did, and everything else was secondary to that. So I went through a bit of a turbulent time in my life at that stage, father kicked me out at home and living out of my car for six months and a couple of friends when I worked at a bar in town, up with me, the commission of black Bolivia and which I did for nearly a year and a half and, and still trying to work out what I want to do with my life whilst I was still doing hospitality, working from you know, one nightclub to a restaurant to you know, and like the few years and then ended up meeting meeting somebody and they helped me kind of get back on track and, you know, build a relationship back up with my parents again, and, and then I just thought, okay, how am I going to stay up? You know, how am I going to stay on the straight and narrow and then I decided that the only way to do that is to study and keep my mind active. And then it just went from one degree to a great degree, and then getting a full time job and then grow my career from there and just keep moving forward. And then, here, here, here I am today.

 

Graeme Cowan  04:45

And just jumping back. Why did your dad kick you out of home?

 

Robert Jurcec  04:50

It’s an interesting story. And it’s quite it’s quite silly to be honest. Because I work in hospitality. I’d always come home at one 2am In the morning, and I’d be running include a fridge and rummaging through your wardrobe and, and he thought I was using his house as a as a halfway home and and I was only there to take some food and sleep in the bed and never seen any time after that. So you know, what if you’re not consuming his household out, you guys, and then at 3am in the morning, he kicked me out and I’m like, Okay, what do I got out? And that’s pretty much what happened?

 

Graeme Cowan  05:23

Well, well, and that must be really tough thing, you know, out of the car. Do you ever think back on those times and think, how did they do that?

 

Robert Jurcec  05:35

It’s, it’s interesting, because when you put in a position, when you put in that sort of position, you have no idea what you’re going to do. You’re like, Okay, do I consult my friends? Do I, you know, who do I talk to, and then some what is a little bit embarrassing, as well as the person to be telling someone I don’t have anywhere to go, I don’t have enough money to even go find a place to rent or find a hotel or a motel for the night. So it’s actually quite an embarrassing thing. So you keep those sorts of things close to your chest. And until you, you know, until someone you connect with gives you the opportunity and headsail ended up getting into a commission flat, whilst I was taking care of that for them once they went overseas for a period of time.

 

Graeme Cowan  06:21

And you mentioned that education was your pathway out. And you have a interesting combination of degrees. What did you do first?

 

Robert Jurcec  06:30

I did a Bachelor of Science at Monash. So yeah, that was that was my first degree. So I started university at 17, just just before the career ended, so I was lucky to also have that to bounce off. But then that kind of fell away to the wayside after three years and one okay, what am I, this is not going to give me a job, it’s not going to do anything. So then I move on there, into way into into hospitality. And then from there kind of just moved around from restaurant to bar and the like, because it paid more money than working as the researcher at Royal Melbourne Hospital. You know, researching type one diabetes, it was a lot more, there was a lot more monetary, you know, beneficial than, than that. So. So yeah, so that’s, that’s how that happened.

 

Graeme Cowan  07:26

And then you worked your way into the IT area, how did that door open?

 

Robert Jurcec  07:33

So after, after I, you know, decided hospitality was enough for me in the late nights, I had a friend of mine who, who I’d given a job with me in a restaurant who just finished his accounting degree. And he ended up working for Amcal through a scholarship program. And he said, Oh, Rob, you know, there’s a, there’s a job on the notice board as a customer service rep. But, you know, for Australian paper apply for it. And, you know, I’ll be I’ll be your, of your spokesperson, where you kind of be referenced to to get you in the door. So then I ended up doing that. And that kind of jumped from one job to the next getting promoted along the way. And then I got thrown into a project implementing SAP within the whole business and, and as part of that they offered whether or not they wanted to pay for my schooling and tuition that month for my masters of it, which I which I did as well. And that’s how I kind of created a pathway to, you know, work in work in that industry, working it and also get the opportunity to travel overseas for a few years rolling out systems across Europe as well.

 

Graeme Cowan  08:38

Yeah, that must be an amazing move to be in Europe working in a number of countries. What did you come away from with big insights that you had during that period?

 

Robert Jurcec  08:52

Ah, for me, it was about learning who I am as a person, especially living in a country because I lived in Germany was the first port of call for me in a little town outside of Munich called Altberg. So 20,000 People town, no one spoke a word of English. And I didn’t speak a word of German. So that was interesting to be able to communicate or not communicate and do hand signals and you walk into supermarkets you have no idea what the food is because you can’t read the labels. And you’re just trying to work with all that and and my partner at Sam and I were just like, trying to work out how do we fit into here? How do we migrate and then you know, just interesting stories of just getting my pay slip and and back then there was no Google to translate. You know what the pay slip was? And I’m like looking at my pay slip and I’m looking down and there’s little word in there. It’s called curse Goya and like, What the hell is cookie store? So back then it was babel fish if you do recall, you know, the early days of internet translating, you know, it was babel fish start putting code store and it came out and said church tax cuz I’m like, What the hell? How am I paying church tax? And so I ended up going to the HR and I’m like, our big bosses does, you know, what’s this. And she’s like, when you fill out the immigration forms you, you said, you’re, you’re, you’re Catholic. So because you’re Catholic, you have to pay taxes to the church. And I’m like, but I don’t speak a word of German, like how to work. Even if I was to go to Mass on Sunday, like, I wouldn’t understand why they’re saying bad luck, you have to pay. So I said, How do I stop being Catholic? Because this was a fair chunk of coin, we’re talking like, you know, five, 600 euros back then. And she goes all back to go to City Hall. And you have to announce yourself as a Catholic and, and I said, no worries, have denounced myself tomorrow, like, and we go to City Hall and, and I remember, you know, she gave she spoke to the lady behind the counter, I told him that I want to announce myself that the Catholic and and all these, like new cap popped up come who don’t want to be Catholic who does want to be Catholic, and they looked at me Oh, like so embarrassed. And I’m like, so I said, Can we just pay and leave and and then I felt so guilty afterwards. Because, you know, in Germany, the system is set up where the actual churches paid for the social system. So all the public housing and all the retirement villages are all churches. So I ended up feeling extremely guilty as a result of not being Catholic. So I apologise for any. Yeah, so that was one of the stories of living in Europe, which I thought would be good to share.

 

Graeme Cowan  11:35

Very good. And you obviously felt that you had a good aptitude for, like tea and systems and processes. How did that evolve and maybe just give people a quick overview of, you know, how you’ve progressed from Aramco to other places you worked until where you are now in your own business?

 

Robert Jurcec  11:59

Yeah, so So Amcor, I started customer service. And then I moved into managing orders coming on paper machines that Mary Val down in the Latrobe Valley of Victoria, where they build where they make reflex paper and a lot of packaging papers. So I was responsible for managing orders. And then I moved into more of a process role of helping the business rollout new technology system for their whole business. So I became the manufacturing lead for that. And then from there, they established an IT group to support the business for new requirements. So as business, the new functionality in the tech stack in the ERP system, then I was responsible for translating those into into system solutions for for the team to implement. And then one day, there was an opportunity in Europe and I said, Well, we’re rolling out an ERP across 90 countries in Europe, you want to be part of that. So then packed up my bags and had the lovely opportunity of moving there for a few years. And then we moved back to Australia, after my wife at the time, her mother had a stroke. So we packed up and she was pregnant time just about to give birth to our daughter. And then at that point, I ended up becoming a project manager for an ERP vendor, you know, so So I had gone from being on the business side of this of the of the coin to be now on the vendor side of the coin, helping them helping businesses, you know, have these ERP systems implemented for them. And then from that I ended up got promoted as a professional services director. And I had a team underneath me and then from that I ended up moving and said, I can’t do this anymore, because I didn’t have a team in Australia anymore. So I had to use US and European team members I was working quite late hours trying to you know, manage it manage this, you know, the whole team and what we need to do here and then that then translate translated into moving and working for another ERP reseller doing precepts. So I was setting up systems and showing the organisations how they can utilise it and and how it works in their in their organisation and, and then that then moved into a sales role. And I thought and then went to KPMG. And then I ended up becoming a sales role again, and then one day, all these customers started ringing me up one of the wanting support with the old company I used to work for and that’s how this whole business started. So went from one client to to five to 10. And here we are five years later and you know still going

 

Graeme Cowan  14:34

Yeah, wonderful. How big is your team now?

 

Robert Jurcec  14:37

Let’s say with 30 people in total, Australia in the Philippines.

 

Graeme Cowan  14:42

Yeah. And what’s what’s the unique offer that you take them to the market? You know, you’ve grown you’re obviously giving results. What do you think is unique about what you do?

 

Robert Jurcec  14:57

So I’ve had the luxury of implementing In ERP systems, not just one but different varying ERP systems throughout my career, so I’ve seen different ways of how organisations implement, I’ve seen the good, and I’ve seen the bad, and I’ve seen the indifferent. And as a result, I’ve kind of taken the best of each one I’ve been a part of, and just created my own implementation methodology that uses a bit of waterfall and a bit of agile stuck together kind of to help users feel and touch and get to play with the system from day one, instead of, you know, right at the end of an implementation, which is where most organisations tend to have their users play with the system before they go live.

 

Graeme Cowan  15:41

If they’re good, and for the listeners that aren’t familiar with it, what how do you describe the ERP what’s what, how do you describe that to them?

 

Robert Jurcec  15:50

So an ERP in a nutshell is enter win solution that manages your business process in your organisation. So whether it’s accounting functions, whether it’s your, you know, sales functions, your procurement functions, your warehouse functions, if you’re buying and selling products, or if you’re a services business, doing projects, where you have a team on the road, that you’re scheduling, and managing the service tickets, all of that is an ERP under one database under one solution. So all the data sits in one area that you can report on.

 

Graeme Cowan  16:24

Very good with your executive team, how do you keep them on track? How do you make sure that you’re focusing on the right things? Can you just give a bit bit of background behind that?

 

Robert Jurcec  16:39

Yeah, so we have a continuous catch up sessions. Like we have a catch up session every twice a week, usually Mondays and Fridays, the with the senior management team, and we go through, okay, whatever I’m working on what’s happening at the moment, what’s the pipeline looking like? What do we need to focus our time, and so on, so forth. So that’s within the actual senior management team. But we also do the same within the actual consulting team as well. So when every Mondays and Fridays management team, we’re also doing resource planning as well. Okay, so what products do we have? Which people need to be on it? You know, what activities need to happen? How do we kind of manage those with the customers and the consultants and making sure the whole plan of what we’re executing is Encino is on time and on budget.

 

Graeme Cowan  17:29

And you mentioned earlier that you also have people in the Philippines, how do you go about sourcing and choosing those people?

 

Robert Jurcec  17:38

So we’re very lucky, because the product that we that we sell and manage and implement, which is Oracle, NetSuite, their support team is that is in the Philippines. So as a result of that a lot of a lot of the Mueller team wants to explore new opportunities and get involved in implementations. And as a result of that, we ended up hiring off the back end of that. Yeah,

 

Graeme Cowan  18:01

that makes sense. And, you know, we have one person based in the Philippines and our team, and they’re a wonderful group of people out there with a very good hearted, very conscientious, lovely, lovely group. And also, you know, often quite well educated as well, you know, it’s quite extraordinary. It’s wonderful that, you know, we can offer benefits to them. Because if you’ve been there, you may have been, but it’s a very poor country, it’s a very poor group is so well educated. It’s

 

Robert Jurcec  18:43

I was there literally three weeks ago, for the first time ever. So just even coming into, into Manila, and the heat, and the humidity. It’s, it’s quite full long. But yet, you know, coming out of the airport, and just looking around and just seeing where you’re right. We are very blessed over here in Australia, that’s for sure. It is it is a beautiful country. I didn’t enjoy my time there. And even just getting on a plane and see some of the islands it’s like, it’s magnificent, how beautiful, you know, how beautiful the country is, there

 

Graeme Cowan  19:22

really is such a gorgeous place with your customers, how do you how do you work with them, you know, to really build ongoing value for for them and for you.

 

Robert Jurcec  19:36

So so we have two types of customers, a customer that is either on NetSuite today or Salesforce today that wants to look at optimising what they’ve got. Because of these technologies, they’re always creating new functionalities and every customer reaps those new functionalities that every upgrade so it’s only one version so every every customer gets to see that so as a result, a lot of them don’t realise What functionalities have come out and, and how they can utilise that in a business. So, we regularly perform audits, where we come in, and just review how they’re operating today, and how they’re utilising the system and then come up with recommendations based on that, and an ROI and return on investment based on in terms of, okay, you know, if you do it this way, you could potentially save, you know, 40 hours a week or a month or, and that translates into this million dollars, and compared to what it’s gonna cost you to implement. So we do a full blown audit for those and then implement, whenever we recommended based on the kind of priority the customer comes back to us on so that existing compared to the new new customers who are looking at, you know, rolling out NetSuite or Salesforce in their business, they would either come from either my OB or zero or some accounting package, and they need to move up to obtain the additional functionality they’re looking for, because the add ons and the plugins that they’ve been using is now costly. And therefore, it makes sense to move to a one database solution, like an ERP. So they’re throughout journey, and we start off doing the discovery, and we engage and say, okay, you know, what, you know, when we analyse how they do things today, and then define user stories, and define solution design documents to kind of lock that scope in, so everyone understands upfront what they’re getting. And then from that, we then implemented a very agile sprint sort of methodology. So what that means is, you know, it’s like building a house, you know, in an ERP, it’s starts off with accounting, and then you make sure you’ve got your accounts all set up correctly, and then you move into the items. If you’re, then you move into purchasing, and then sales and, and then as part of all those individual sprints, we call them. We’re configuring, we’re training the team on the customer side, they’re testing the solution and signing off. And we’re moving to the next until we get to the last sprint where we do a full end to end and then go live and turn it on support them.

 

Graeme Cowan  22:02

Yeah, yeah, it’s, you know, long as to be long term relationship, I guess, to be on that journey, because it’s continually evolving, isn’t it? And I’ve got a friend who’s a futurist, and he’s been following AI for the last 20 years, but he reckons, in the last six months more has happened than the previous 20 years. Is it also impacting your business?

 

Robert Jurcec  22:27

Not much. So we have started seeing a lot more software companies investing a lot more dollars in the last couple of years in AI, especially around maybe some of the, you know, the accounts payable, accounts receivable functions to automate some of the accounting pieces, but I think, or, or ERP software, I think there’s still a bit of a bit of a bit way to go to get to that point of replacing functions in your organisation’s I think they’re still trying to work out how and what and what they can or cannot do with it, compared to the church. EBTs. And, you know, those elements of, you know, yeah, they incorporate a lot of machine learning into demand planning for products and, you know, defining what all paths look like and based on, you know, algorithmic, algorithmic machine learning algorithms,

 

Graeme Cowan  23:27

you see, the world of AI and catch up to it’s just changing dramatically. I saw the paper this morning that the former CEO and to ice have now joined Microsoft. Microsoft also writes for the iPad said, Nice so

 

Robert Jurcec  23:44

I’ve opened it I just came back saying way back

 

Graeme Cowan  23:52

try and follow that. It’s become a bit of a soap opera today anything. And when you think about reflecting on your past and the lessons you’ve learned, the people that you’ve worked for, what have been significant leadership insights you’ve gained along the way can you think of any examples

 

Robert Jurcec  24:17

I think if I was to look at myself, and, and where I’ve started to work towards becoming where I want to be, probably the most important lesson that I’ve learned is the bosses that actually embraced and actually allowed me to grow with the ones that left me to my devices left me to you know, do what I wanted, because I had the enthusiasm I had the I had the I had the I had the driver had the push I had everything and I just use them as the sounding board. And so see and not being controlling was very important for my my progression were the ones that They tried to control me, didn’t do well, with me. And it was a nightmare for them. And they ended up getting rid of me to somebody else who? Yes. So I suppose everybody needs different levels of management depending on, you know, the employee and how they are. But one of the insights for me is, is everyone can’t be managed the same. Everyone needs to be managed differently on the depends on their personnel and who they are and, and how they best can deliver their work.

 

Graeme Cowan  25:34

And when you work with someone, do you go through that sort of process of how do you understand how they work best, do you have a way of doing that?

 

Robert Jurcec  25:46

The way I do it, is just by letting them speak. And just feeling their energy feeling, what they were how they, you know, how they conduct themselves, feeling their body language, feeling, you know, just just feeling really just just just the just the feeling of letting them be who they are as an individual, and then trying to work out how best to approach and best maximise their their performance, you know, based on where they want to go. But it’s also very hard, because a lot of people don’t really want to open up as well, there’s still kind of understand they’re very guarded. So you have to kind of get them out of the workplace a little bit and get him into a position where you can kind of have that opportunity to learn who they really are, and, and have that one on one with them. So that’s what I tried to do with all my employees. Yeah.

 

Graeme Cowan  26:34

And do you have, you know, regular off sites, is that something that you tried to build into each year.

 

Robert Jurcec  26:42

So we do catch up every quarter, the whole team, so, you know, one of us goes to Manila, for example, to see the team there. And then whenever we’re in the office, we always tend to catch up with the team members for a small team. So we’re going laughs together or wants together or, you know, we have a, you know, a team catch up every quarter as well with one of the senior director, one of the reps will go out and meet, see the team catch up with them one on one and like, have a beer or just just get to skip to hear and get to see what they’re all feeling and how they’re all going. But you can always, it’s always harder through zoom or teams to really feel how people are going. Because either they but we have a policy of you kind of have a camera off the camera on that and that way you kind of get to see who is engaged. And if they’re not engaged, then you can kind of work you know, work with them to find out okay, are you okay? What’s going on? Are you ever worked, okay, maybe take some time off, or you’re stressed out about this or what’s going on in your personal life and, and then try to work out ways to make sure that their well being is, is taken care of.

 

Graeme Cowan  27:52

Yeah. In terms of your insights, or learning new things, do you tend to do that? By listening to podcasts or watching videos already? Books? Watch? What’s your favorite way of keeping up to speed with what’s happening? I will say you choose.

 

Robert Jurcec  28:17

every spare moment, I’m either on YouTube watching watching a video of of something of light. You know, it’s been it’s been a lot of blockchain, Blockchain tech. You know, obviously, there’s, you know, the whole Bitcoin and all the other cryptocurrencies that keep coming in and out of the news, depending on how high or how low the price is going. But I think the actual technology itself and blockchain has, has has a lot of merit and a lot of use cases that we’re only just beginning to work out. So like you said earlier, Brian, you know, I advise is the flavor of the month, you know, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, it was cloud it and, you know, three years ago, it was blockchain and and the kind of revolves around that, and then, you know, another year or so it might be totally something else. It might be the brain chip that Elon Musk is wanting to put in and, you know, that’s the next labor. And it’s interesting to Yeah, so I watch a lot of videos on that, that and also try to understand what use cases we we could potentially be able to, you know, incorporate into into business tech.

 

Graeme Cowan  29:28

Yeah, it’s an extraordinary resource, YouTube, isn’t it less than volume, and there’s some amazing quality on there as well. Like really high quality stuff. I even do some workouts, you know, using dumbbells and stuff for probably a few people there. And I actually first learned through my son and anything Adam wants to learn about, he always went to YouTube and he obviously learned a way to you know, fine tune the selections to get the best ones and that sort of thing, but But every subject is just amazing. It really is. And, you know, we had the, you know, the Cricket World Cup, and I didn’t stay up big three cup of morning. So I go to YouTube and you know, find the highlights there. And then I guess, you know, because it has an algorithm, you get the feeds of things consistently with what you’re looking at, it becomes a never ending cycle does that? Yeah.

 

Robert Jurcec  30:25

And it’s great. If it’s, you know, you can catch up on the day there, you know, listen to whatever, whatever tickles your fancy, you just go to YouTube and say, How do I do this? And even like, you know, how do I put a tile? I think that a broken tile, how do I fix the tile? Whatever you want to call it? So it’s all there. And this is not a paid sponsor that.

 

Graeme Cowan  30:49

Yeah, that’d be Google radio sponsorship. There was, I saw you did a video, you know, supporting Food Bank? Would you like to just give a bit of background about why you chose that charity to support and what you’re doing to assist them?

 

Robert Jurcec  31:14

Yeah. So that’s probably why a few years ago, now, when we we did that thing with butech. It’s the reason why is is because of my past, and what happened. And I still remember, you know, even my father back in the day when he grew up in Croatia, after World War Two and not having any food and, and hence, he wanted to make sure one of his biggest things from coming to Australia was to never have any of his kids be hungry. But then I experienced that, ironically enough, because I was eating out of his cupboard. Right. So how ironic is that? So So yeah, so I thought we should do something for a bank. And that’s age, we will we will relatively small, we just started off. We haven’t done anything in the last few years. But I intend to pick that up again. And, and definitely contribute. I remember we did, I did go out there one day and saw their whole operation and, and how they managed to, you know, get the level of donations from large corporation that Bucha corporations, you know, they had everything there. And it was amazing the amount of effort the volunteers they have, and and it’s Yeah, yeah, totally grateful to see that and, and what they can do for the people who are in need, and it’s only keep getting worse as the day goes by. But yeah, I think we will definitely start looking at helping out boot back again, for sure.

 

Graeme Cowan  32:41

Yeah. What, what are the barriers for you of, you know, having a really motivated, enable workforce? What are the what are the things that prevent that happening, or will stop the optimizing?

 

Robert Jurcec  33:02

Think that it has to be a fine line, because when I first started, it’s I had a few friends be part of the journey with me. And mixing friendships with business isn’t usually a good mix for my experience, because there’s Blurred Lines. Because then, you know, what spreadsheet and what’s business and then you know, animosity and kind of things tend to so so I think having a having a proper structure in place where the boss is the boss, and the employees and employees, and everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, everyone’s pretty clear on, on, on what they’re here to do when and how they are meant to you know, conduct themselves and be professional in every sort of aspect. So, so I think that being yeah, having that having that understanding of roles and responsibilities in the organization is probably one of the most important things because if you start blurring those, then I think what happens is it also tends to create a not a great culture, because then silos of teams, get be able to, you know, gets started happening and then internal fighting, and you kind of like trying to work out okay, how do we stop this? And, and we had that happen a few years ago. So, so yeah, that’s one of the lessons from me.

 

Graeme Cowan  34:24

Yeah. Yeah. And it was interesting in that I read about Google’s project Aristotle, where they looked at, you know, what were the qualities of this teams and number one was was psychological safety. You know, people felt safe, they felt connected they felt cared for, and it’s obviously something that you really focus on. Number two is dependability. You know, people do what they say they’re going to do and make it happen. Clarity, and, you know, knowing what’s expected when what you just talked about, and then The next ones are about meaning and impact about, you know, adding adding benefit to clients, how do you help your team to, to tap into that meaning to that, that sense of making a difference.

 

Robert Jurcec  35:16

I’m a true believer of celebrating every success. Because if we don’t celebrate, then you’re not you’re not really kind of enjoying, you know what you’re doing at the end of the day to just work, work, work, work work, and there’s nothing at the end to, to show for it in terms of some level of recognition or some level of celebration, then then what’s like, really about so so if you’re, if you’re, if you’re in a team environment, like we are in a services based business and, and that team has worked pretty hard and long hours together to make things happen, then you better also enjoy it and go out and have fun doing it. And then we do it at our expense, because we want to make sure that they’re also having a ball all the time, and including the family members as well, because, you know, their family have been part of the journey, because I guarantee every single one of those employees go to their home tells their spouse or, you know, what they’ve done for the day, and how stressful of wolves and nada, supporting them as well. So having that be part of that is just, you know, it’s just as important. So, yeah, that to me is is is important.

 

Graeme Cowan  36:22

Yeah, that holistic approach to thinking of the family as well. And I watched her a pretty dramatic example that and we’re on the HMS Adelaide, largest frigate in the Australian Navy. And we’re launching an IU Okay, event, you know, so that that could be part of their DNA going away. But then they also had a had a, like a morning tea or a celebration, they were promoting people, you know, people get, you know, rising up the ranks and what have you. But they had all their employees, or their family members of those people being promoted there. That is brilliant, you know, just because, you know, it’s probably even more dramatic in some of the Navy where, you know, people get away for three months, or four months or whatever. But yeah, you know, if you can really think about the benefit you make to families, it’s a really big thing. And one of the other people I interviewed was bob chapman, he wrote a book called everybody matters, a very, very successful American businessman, you know, grew his business from 20 million to a billion dollars. But one of his missions is to improve employees, families and relationships. And He does that by making work a pleasant place to be a place to celebrate. So when they get that don’t kick the cat, you know, the they can say about, look, we celebrate this day, it was fantastic. I think it’s very underestimated element of how we work. And there’s also a great book called The Progress principle by a Harvard lady called Therese Arbalet. And, you know, she looked at real detail about what energizes people and what doesn’t. And what does is knowing that you making meaningful progress on important work, and celebrating little things, you know, little thing, just, you know, thumbs up, it’s just as important as the formal celebrations. But, you know, it really matters now, doesn’t it? When it’s a competitive workplace, it has to be an attractive proposition for for good employees. Otherwise, I go, Yeah, exactly.

 

Robert Jurcec  38:37

And we had a lot of that in the past, like, during, during COVID, we had, we didn’t make anybody redundant, but we did have a few people come and go. And as a result, and I think it’s also the whole change factor, as well. And at that point in time, you know, we, we try to keep everybody but unfortunately, you know, to change and it also the fact that customers and then what they will go through as well and the changes that they had to go through because they when you when you change somebody’s routine that they’ve been doing for the last 20 years, and you change to a point where now you’re just having to stay home and not go anywhere. And especially in Melbourne where we have the worst lockdowns of all states in Australia. It changes people and it changes their moods changes how they are. And as a result that that also impacted did a lot of friction between our team and customers as well as a result of that and we had people leave as a result of some of those, those those those conflicts. And what do you do your customers pay your bills, but same time how do you kind of get a customer say sorry, you have to be a bit more nicer. Yeah, yeah, you know, so it was it was definitely a hard time but I think coming out the back end of that and and now Having some level of normality and some level of you know, people coming back to the office, despite having a hybrid approach, has has improved the attrition in our organization and knock on wood. We haven’t ever had anyone leave in the last year or so. So

 

Graeme Cowan  40:16

yeah, pay it pays off. It’s been an absolute pleasure catching up today. Robert really enjoyed our chat. And I always finish by asking the same question. Thinking of that 18 year old self getting into his car out of being kicked out of home, knowing what you know now, with the maturity and the insights you have, what advice would you give that 18 year old self now?

 

Robert Jurcec  40:44

Don’t be scared to chase your dream. Don’t be scared to try things out. Don’t be scared if you fail. Because if you don’t, if you don’t try, you’ll regret it. You will regret it. You may die in bed one day thinking of all the things that you could have done when you should have just done it. And if you fail, guess what? What’s the worst that can happen? Yeah, I

 

Graeme Cowan  41:08

really love that as a final message. Thanks so much for being part. Great to catch up.

 

Robert Jurcec  41:15

Thank you.

 

Graeme Cowan  41:20

It’s great. It’s great. This stuff, recording

 

Robert Jurcec  41:26

that okay,

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