Harju KEK AS is a privately owned company in Estonia that deals with real estate development, administration, investment management and international transportation.
We asked from the CEO of the company, Janek Lehtmets, what are the most important skills and knowledges for him, that he has gained from working at Harju KEK. „Some of the most important things include putting together a functional team, motivating and keeping people result-oriented; building a reliable relationship with clients and partners. The keywords would be initiative, analytical mind and developing cooperation on all levels. Working at HK has given me an unique opportunity to learn from the best and to use this new knowledge together with my previous experience.“
Working at Harju KEK has been more challenging than he first expected, Janek adds. The company’s long lifespan, in addition to its business goals, has created many different layers and aspects that must not be ignored. In addition to that, the long common history has created a strong social connection between people. Intergenerational change, renewal of working methods and processes, monitoring and modernization of different contracts and forms of cooperation, new strategies, coordinating different objects – these are only a few of the things you have to do every day parallel to each other. It has been really exciting!
What is your marketing strategy? Or are the customers finding you by themselves?
Marketing and sales are pretty new terms in our company. At some point of time our customers really did find us on their own, but now, as the competition is really heavy, that is not quite the case. We are using all of modern marketing channels and methods if needed. In our case, the regular communication, professional and operative service with our existing clients are more important. This is the most effective marketing form for us.
A really hot topic in the labour market lately has been „how to motivate workers“. Is the main motivator the salary or do people want something more?
Janek said: „ Of course salary is really important. We appreciate the contribution of the employees and we reward them accordingly. Working shouldn’t be unpleasant, the environment has to be supportive and enjoyable. Here are some examples of how to motivate the team: result-based salary, flexible schedule, corporate events, sports grants etc. In addition, we involve employees in making strategic decisions and we also set collective and individual goals. We support and encourage our employees’ personal growth.
Harju KEK has great plans and goals for the future, but they are really realistic. Every company’s goals include improvement of economic indicators, development of new objects and geographic enlargement. 5-7 years’ perspective is to increase the value of the company’s’ assets to 100 million euros, he says.
What kind of advice would you give to a beginner entrepreneur? What is the secret to success?
Do I really know the formula to success?! At the same time, life has shown me that everything that comes easy, goes easy. To be successful, you have to be always curious and discover the world with eyes wide open. To succeed, you have to work hard, be persistent and not to fear some setbacks. If you are only a starting entrepreneur, the goal for you should definitely not be to earn your first million. Choose a field that you love, learn, develop, grow. Then you will succeed and the first million will come to you too.
Overview of the company
Harju KEK AS is a company founded on private Estonian capital, involved in real estate development, real estate management, investment management and international transport.
The company was founded in 1956, thus having a lot of experience in the field of real estate. We focus on investments which primarily centre on industrial and commercial real estate. Harju KEK owns about 100 hectares of production and business land of which the gross area is more than 120 000 m2.
The company’s mission is to create value for customers by providing a comprehensive environment which creates all prerequisites needed for a successful business.
Harju KEK began its activities in 1956 as a cooperative undertaking in the field of construction and manufacture of construction materials. In late 60s as production volumes grew, the company’s management structure was improved and various specialised production units were formed. Building and developing production facilities planted the seed of an industrial park in Keila. In 1988, the first foreign relations were formed, later developing into cooperation with internationally acclaimed companies such as ABB, NOKIA, GLAMOX and ENSTO.
The restoration of independence of the Republic of Estonia in 1991 came with changes in the law. Harju KEK was reorganized as a business association and its sub-units became subsidiaries. Various joint enterprises were formed in cooperation with foreign companies.
In 1995 Harju KEK became the member of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 1997 the shares of the subsidiary Harju Elekter were listed on the Tallinn stock market. In 1999 the company was reorganized as a public limited company Harju KEK.
Harju KEK concern:
Editor: Liisa-Maria Lillepea
Translator: Marlen Kuusk