U.S. unemployment rates have reached a record low – currently at 3.7% and expected to fall to 3.5% by the end of 2019. As a result, companies across the nation have struggled to fill key positions from entry and junior-level to executive and management roles. Identifying, recruiting and retaining qualified candidates has been challenging across many industries, but especially for firms operating in the real estate sector. Panels of candidates have become leaner and the pressure for firms to expedite the hiring process has become greater. Today, real estate firms are seeking actionable solutions to cope with the nation’s tight labor market.
From a recruitment perspective, we’re seeing a year of change for real estate professionals, and by change we mean structured, focused movement. Candidates today are more likely than in years past to leave their current positions and explore a new opportunity – but only for the right reasons. With that said, real estate companies should rethink their employment strategies and consider the needs of today’s workforce if they want to attract and retain top talent.
To take an example from nature, 2019 has become the year of “hopping lily pads.” Just as frogs leap from one lily pad to another in search of more sunlight, food and warmer water, real estate professionals will opt for another career opportunity if it looks promising. So why would they move? Company culture, growth opportunities and compensation have proven to be the key factors indicating a new lily pad is prime real estate.
While implementing these career factors can be costly, replacing valuable employees is much more expensive than the time, tools and effort it takes to ensure personnel are happy and here to stay. Here’s a closer look at what candidates are in search of:
- Company Culture, Personality: In years past, career growth and compensation have topped the list, but this year the overriding reason real estate professionals leave a job is company culture. Consequently, employers should prioritize cultivating their firm’s personality and culture. If unsure where to start, consider deploying an employee survey to gather insight on staff members’ cultural experience versus what they crave. This intel not only helps employers determine how to deliver on the needs of its staff, but also shines a light on simple and overlooked ways the company can improve and/or maintain its culture. Inviting employees to take part in this process also enables them to feel rooted in the firm as they have helped shape its DNA.
- Career Advancement Opportunities: Research show that 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged in their profession, with one of the leading contributing factors being the absence or lack of communication of professional development opportunities. By providing staff with pathways for growth, not only can organizations improve the quality of their employees’ work experience, but also realize the myriad benefits of developing workers to their full potential. Benefits include reduced stress, increased productivity levels, and limited turnover, to name a few. To drive employee growth, employers may also consider implementing the following: continuing education courses, skills training, coaching and mentorship, leadership development programs as well as regularly informing employees about the firm’s growth and succession plans.
- Competitive Compensation, Benefits Package: With 84% of U.S. employees relating high job satisfaction to high compensation and benefit satisfaction, employers should revisit their employee perks and rewards and determine if they resonate with their staff. Above all, real estate firms should ensure that they are providing compensation that is in line with the market as well as employee’s job scope. While high wages play a vital part, employees also look for bonuses and incentives as well wellness-related and professional development benefits. Delivering on employee’s expectations can help boost their morale, performance, retention and even attract more workers resulting in a more cohesive organization.
With real estate companies across the nation facing a continually narrowing labor market, employers should evaluate their approach to recruitment and retention and consider how they might evolve their strategy to preserve top talent. By having the core elements in place – company culture, career growth opportunities and competitive benefit packages – real estate firms can reduce turnover and assure employees that they’re already sitting on the best lily pad in the pond.
Jana Turner, principal and Berkeley Davis, managing director
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