Oli Farago, Co-Founder and CEO of Coyote Software.
The talent war brewing in the commercial real estate industry remains competitive, with employers parsing through a limited pool of top professionals who possess highly sought-after skills and experiences. Surprisingly, the pandemic has not eased this tug-of-war. In fact, remote working mandates have hastened the hunt for dynamic team members. There is a new level of emphasis placed on qualities such as assertiveness, the ability to execute with little oversight, adaptability and communication style.
When I’m evaluating potential new hires at Coyote, communication skills are top of mind. I find that I am drawn to candidates who upsell their ability to communicate and collaborate with team members, both in and out of the office. These individuals bring positivity and creativity when navigating unforeseen challenges and aren’t afraid to reach out and ask for help when it’s needed.
Before the pandemic, in-person meetings, property tours and industry networking events used to be a big part of the job, but their virtual alternatives are still being imagined. That doesn’t impact the necessity of these meetings, but it requires people to think creatively to find alternatives that are practical and thorough. Individuals who are not intimidated by new things and communicate with their teams proactively are essential to thriving in this new environment.
Employers that are facing increased competition in their hunt for talent are also at the mercy of real estate professionals who are being just as selective in their job searches. Having experienced the freedom and flexibility that comes with remote working this past year, top candidates are expecting this hybrid work culture to continue. Tech-forward companies are more likely to have systems in place that allow employees to work remotely.
For software companies like Coyote, working remotely is second nature. In fact, a few days before the lockdown in the UK last March, the internet was down in our office and the whole staff had to work from home. While this turned out to be a great trial run for what was about to hit us, many asset managers, investment managers and property managers in the industry were not as well-prepared.
For decades, CRE professionals have grappled with manual reporting, data entry and data analysis. These tasks are typically assigned to junior-level employees and take time away from the skills-based, higher impact work listed in their job descriptions. This new generation of professionals is aware that automation and data analytics platforms exist that can complete days’ worth of admin work in a matter of seconds. This makes a big difference and will be considered when assessing their next career moves. Real estate companies that are accelerating their adoption of smart technology — like machine learning, automation and data analytics — will be more successful in attracting and retaining top talent post-pandemic.
Companies that have invested in technology to date should market this innovation as part of their brand and emphasize it to job candidates during the interview process. Firms that openly market the technology they use to drive efficiency in their business — CRM platforms, reporting dashboards, cloud databases, etc. — are intrinsically more attractive to job seekers. It is extremely telling when a firm has an out-of-date website or no presence on social media. If your website is outdated, it is highly likely that your internal infrastructure is antiquated and out of touch as well.
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