Keller Augusta Partners

The Race For Talent Has Never Been More Crowded. How Can Companies Attract And Retain The Best Employees?

The Race For Talent Has Never Been More Crowded. How Can Companies Attract And Retain The Best Employees?

Nov 1, 2021

The war for talent is heating up. Close to 65% of employees surveyed by PwC in an August poll said they were looking for new jobs, which is nearly double the 35% of workers who said they were seeking new work in May, and the commercial real estate industry is no exception. 

Companies may need to make some adjustments to their policies, salary offerings or even company culture if they want to attract and retain the best and brightest. For some employers, that may mean taking a hard look at how they treat their staff and whether they are creating an environment that inspires people to not only stay at the company for the long haul, but recommend open opportunities to other talented professionals in their circle. 

“Demonstrating respect is essential to establishing loyalty among one’s workforce,” said Melanie Katzman, a business psychologist, corporate keynote speaker and author of Connect First: 52 Simple Ways to Ignite Success, Meaning and Joy at Work. “If I respect your time, I respect you. Unfortunately, too often time boundaries are broken, urgent requests are made late on a Friday, unrealistic deadlines are set, or the quantity of work exceeds the available hours in the day. Poor boundaries and the experience of being disrespected lead to employee burnout, limited loyalty and ultimately employee turnover.”

With the job market tide turning, and more power than ever being put into the hands of employees, Bisnow spoke with Kate Keller, principal at real estate recruiting firm Keller Augusta, to learn more about this new hiring market, and gain insight into how companies can limit employee turnover while attracting the best new talent. 

Bisnow: How is remote work impacting current hiring trends?  

Keller: According to a recent "Return to Work" survey conducted by our firm, Keller Augusta, 40% of employees indicated they are considering a job change and 65% of employees noted flexibility is equally as important as salary and benefits. With this in mind, there has been an uptick in remote job postings since individuals are no longer restricted to a certain location. 

The new paradigm of remote work has proven that flexibility does not negatively impact productivity. As a result, there is a new workplace dynamic. As companies return to the office, they will need to prioritize employee health, well-being and life outside of work. Flexibility is not just offering remote or hybrid work, but also addressing when people work and allotting for flexible hours based on their individual circumstances. 

Bisnow: What can employers do to engage, retain and attract employees in this competitive race for talent? 

Keller: Now more than ever, the people-first approach by employers is essential to retaining and attracting talent. In a highly competitive job market, firms that understand and invest in employees’ individual needs and unique capabilities will come out on top. Additionally, companies that prioritize and respond to employees’ mental health will be in a better position to retain and attract top talent. 

Employers should review their internal policies and re-evaluate if their benefits packages are competitive, inclusive and equitable. They should also identify their shortcomings and opportunities to improve offerings to include increased vacation and mental health days, opportunities to socialize with colleagues and engage with leadership, among other incentives. This, in turn, leads to an increase in employee morale, which ultimately reduces turnover rates. 

To support employee long-term investment strategies, companies must provide staff with opportunities to develop new skills and capabilities, encourage mentorship and help employees establish short- and long-term career goals. 

Bisnow: Is there a correlation between culture and performance? How can companies navigate changing corporate culture amid the race for talent? 

Keller: As society redefines how we work, creating a strong company culture starts with asking better questions to find out what employees want and need from their company in order to be happy at work and retain a positive work/life balance. Successful, sustainable cultures are focused on inclusive business strategies that include training and leadership development. 

Having a bunch of employees who feel like their work/life balance is off means that your organization is likely suffering the consequences. It goes without saying that people who feel happy with their work/life balance are more inclined to stay with their organization. 

Bisnow: Proptech and life sciences are two industries that are really heating up. What are some best practices for attracting proptech and life sciences talent?

Keller: Innovation and technology are at the center of important trends shaping the commercial real estate space. Proptech and life sciences, for example, are receiving massive amounts of capital and experiencing a boom in leasing and hiring activity. 

As the real estate market demands change, the race for talent changes. In the past few months, our team has seen a 60% increase in proptech and life sciences companies seeking to grow their workforces as they expand their portfolios. With a restricted talent pool, companies entering these sizzling sectors are recruiting professionals with different backgrounds to build comprehensive teams. To bridge the gap, hiring managers seek candidates with a strong balance of expertise and a wide industry network.

The competitiveness of the industry is driving up wages, yet compensation is not enough to retain talent. Now companies must focus on offering increased amenities, benefits and flexibility for optimal work/life balance.