With talent now the most valuable commodity for a company, commercial real estate companies are exploring ways to secure top talent.
The fight for top talent has been a marker of this business cycle. It has disrupted the office market and changed the way that companies use space, and it has given way to new office niches, like co-working environments. Like all industries, commercial real estate companies are competing for top talent, and with historically low unemployment rates, attracting talent can be a challenge. We sat down with Kent Elliott of RETS Associates, to get a guide to hiring for commercial real estate companies.
“Today’s commercial real estate companies understand that the right talent has the power to significantly increase profitability,” Elliott, a principal at RETS Associates, tells GlobeSt.com. “With U.S. employment holding steady at near 50-year lows, these companies also realize that demand for talent is outpacing supply in many regions. This creates an employees’ market, where employers must act quickly to compete, not only to recruit the very best, but also to retain them.”
In the commercial real estate market, transaction volume and investment activity is driving the demand for strong talent that can support the workload. “Recent data from Ten-X revealed that 2018 was the second-largest year on record for U.S. transaction volume at an impressive $537 billion,” says Elliott. “Employment trends follow these transactional trends, as CRE companies with a full pipeline of projects seek out team members with the skills and experience to deliver the very best results for stakeholders.”
So, commercial real estate companies aren’t only competing for deals, but they are also competing for talent to make those deals happen. To find, attract and ultimately hire top talent, Elliott recommends that companies need to have well-defined hiring process in place. “In order to remain competitive, today’s recruitment process must be well-defined by employers. Today’s best candidates are typically attracting multiple offers, and companies that provide an efficient yet thoughtful interview experience will be best positioned to win the candidate,” he says. “We are recommending that CRE companies focus on a short selection process that integrates a personal touch from interview all the way to offer letter.”
While compensation is important, attracting top talent is a mix of competitive compensation, supportive management, flexibility in work hours and location, as well as impressive workspaces, according to Elliott. Most notably, the workspace is playing an important role in the hiring process. “ The physical work environment plays a much larger role than it once did, and companies are racing to deliver. We are increasingly seeing companies—especially third-party real estate services firms—invest in stunning, hotel-like lobbies and amenities that turn heads not only for their clients, but also for recruiting prospects,” says Elliott. “Today’s candidates are also seeking flexible work locations and hours—a benefit that can often become the deciding factor for talent.”
In addition to workplace, other important factors in a prospective employees decision are fully paid medical benefits, extended paid time off and 401K plans. “The combination of these benefits, when coupled with flexibility, upgraded workspaces, and management that is committed to employee growth, produces the best results for CRE companies that are recruiting in today’s market,” says Elliott.