Thought Leadership|Trends|

With the labor market having experienced a revolution, as seen by ‘The Great Resignation,’ commercial real estate firms need to elevate their HR approach.

“Most people don’t like their jobs, but you go out there and find something that makes you happy,” Jennifer Anniston’s character says near the end of the 1999 comedic film Office Space.

It’s a different era, of course — wish we could have traded 2020 for the non-event that was Y2K, right? — but people are acting on that professional fulfillment feeling or lack thereof — in a major way. The en masse exodus of employees from their jobs, beginning in early 2021, has been called the Great Resignation.

Although the recent unemployment rate held at a low 3.6 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor reported earlier this year that the almost 4.3 million people who quit their jobs in January nearly eclipsed the record set in November. The 11.3 million job openings that month came in just shy of December’s record.

Pandemic experiences and the now very global job market have all affected employees’ views, values and thus choices. Combine those things with continued housing shortages and student debt burdens and now inflationary trends and it’s easy to see why it’s go-time for countless workers.

If your company’s employee retention and recruitment approach hasn’t evolved, then it’s fallen behind. Bisnow offered four tips that CRE firms can use to help keep their best employees:

#1 Have Scheduled Check-Ins 

Employees respond better to and perform better in an environment of trust and open communication. When superiors regularly check in to see how they’re doing and offer constructive feedback, workers feel valued and that their personal development matters versus just the company’s bottom line. “What have you done for me lately?” should be fired; the win-win mentality of connecting personal progress and fulfillment with team success gets the job… done.

Forbes reports that it’s not only important to set clear, measurable and attainable performance goals and have that continuous feedback, but it’s also important to turn performance reviews into career planning meetings. What motivates employees more — and ultimately helps to retain them: focusing on past missteps or tapping into their future aspirations and how their success can lead to bigger things?

#2 Create an Environment That Values Flexibility

We’ve talked about it before in this space: having a flexible work environment is essential for employee’s work-life balance and coping with unusual and/or stressful times in life, as well as building that critical organizational trust. Bisnow reported that a Future Forum survey indicated that 95% of employees preferred a work environment that allowed them to create their own schedules, while 78% wanted to choose where they would work.

#3 Encourage Learning Opportunities

Having the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field, take advantage of mentorship opportunities, and leverage continuing education and professional development courses taps the same self-improvement vein and future focus as career planning meetings. Employees who feel stuck inside a box, literal or because of lack of opportunity for advancement, will often look to leave. But those workers who get the value and variety of the above learning opportunities will see their personal growth more aligned with the company’s course.

#4 Pay What They Deserve (And Probably More)

It’s obvious that the employee’s bottom line, in the form of salary and benefits package, are critically important. Joe and Jenny aren’t staying on the job solely for the juice bar and casual Fridays. Remember also the importance of performance bonuses as rewarded employees are more likely to be retained ones.

“I have never seen a job market like I see today,” said Vince Vitti, infinitee’s vice president of business development and the firm’s recruitment marketing guru. “To be competitive, companies are offering unlimited vacation, work from anywhere options, college tuition, etc. Diversity, authenticity and transparency are hugely important.”

Until someone invents superhuman resources, CRE firms should follow the tips and takes above. And find a recruitment marketing partner with great experience and a ‘limitless possibilities’ mentality to embrace what’s next.


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