THE HIRING SQUAD: HOW CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD MERGED TWO TEAMS INTO ONE

The recent Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ merger proved to be a game-changer in the industry. The merger created one of the largest commercial real estate services firms in the world – and they’re hiring.

Marla Maloney

In this Executive Q&A, Jana Turner, principal at RETS Associates, a leading search and staffing firm that focuses specifically on the real estate industry, sits down with Marla Maloney, President of Asset Services for the Americas at Cushman & Wakefield to discuss the recent merger, the combining of teams and the senior-level searches that are currently in progress.

Jana Turner (JT): Please describe what the recent merger has meant for the growth of your Asset Services division.

 Marla Maloney (MM): The closing of the DTZ and Cushman & Wakefield merger, and moving forward under the Cushman & Wakefield brand, is a notable achievement. The assimilation of 43,000 employees from two cultures can be an exciting and daunting challenge. With the merger, our Asset Services platform has grown to more than 590 million square feet of property under management in the United States, creating a market-leading platform.

 JT: We are currently in the process of multiple senior-level searches for your team. Please discuss how you’re searching for and hiring employees who fit into your culture and the roles that each new hire plays.

MM: A team member that is a strong cultural match has an immeasurable value to our firm. I believe in the phrase, “culture eats strategy for lunch.” During the interview process, all real estate firms look for expertise when filling a position and each has tools to test those skills. However, if we secure a cultural misfit, we will be making a hiring mistake. To avoid this, we ask questions to uncover the candidate’s desired pace of environment, ideal degree of structure, whether or not they give back to their community and how much they value quality of service. We’re in the service business. In fact, I refer to our culture as having a “servant’s heart.” We give more than we’re asked, and do it in advance of the deadline. This is the Cushman & Wakefield culture we are trying to match.

We are currently searching for three senior- or executive‑level candidates who are strong, innovative and positive leaders. Two of these new hires will lead existing teams, and the other will build-out a new one.

As we build out the new Cushman & Wakefield, we are taking the best of both legacy companies, bringing in key senior leaders and moving forward as one. It’s a historic moment in the industry because these two companies have created one special place where we can serve our clients in a way that we couldn’t before.

JT: What do you feel was the biggest driver(s), aside from compensation, that is attracting candidates to your team?

 MM: We are in the midst of building something special. People recognize that we want to make a difference in the communities in which we operate, and they want to be a part of it. We’ve learned that people leave bosses, they don’t leave companies – and we want to offer people the opportunity to join a talented, energized team of professionals.

This is a unique time to join our team as we shape the future of our Asset Services business and the new Cushman & Wakefield as a whole.

JT: Tell me a bit about how RETS helped to manage the process for you.

 MM: The RETS team really did its homework – before the hiring process began, its representatives spent more time than I expected to get to know our organization, needs and culture. They involved our key senior team members and other stakeholders to define the success of the positions we are trying to fill.

After the initial download, RETS presented a detailed summary of what they heard and believe we valued. They developed an organized and methodical roadmap that set expectations for the entire process. As a customer receiving a service, especially for something critical to our future success, understanding what resources RETS is applying and their timeline proved to be essential to finding the best and brightest candidates. RETS executes each search with a sense of urgency and has become a trusted partner of ours that continues to deliver great results.

JT: Did anything occur during the searches that you found surprising or unexpected?

 MM: Throughout our search for candidates to fill these national positions, I have been continuously surprised by the amount of highly qualified candidates wanting to be a part of the new Cushman & Wakefield team. I was very pleased with the caliber of talent that RETS presented to us – any one of them would be a fantastic asset to our organization.

JT: What are the results of the placements and new team today?

MM: We are still in process of three of the four searches. Our first placement was a senior managing director who is a proven industry leader and a great cultural fit. She has thought leadership-style expertise, significant experience integrating teams and is laying the framework of our business moving forward. It takes a focused and thoughtful leader to take two teams and turn them into one. Her charisma, understanding of the industry, listening skills and client-focused approach brings a valuable dynamic to Cushman & Wakefield. I’m very excited to see where she and the other yet-to-be-hired leaders will take this company in the coming years.