Navigating through a Changing Landscape

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Navigating through a Changing Landscape

In the current context, where commercial real estate is undergoing rapid transformations, recruiting qualified talent has become a complex and delicate task, requiring constant adaptation to changing economic needs, evolving employee aspirations, and continuous technological advancements. Beyond economic challenges, varying employee expectations, and technological advances, companies in the sector must also focus on developing skills adapted to digital transformation and the increasing integration of artificial intelligence (AI).

The current economic slowdown significantly impacts the commercial real estate industry. In the last quarter of 2024, many developers, investors, and property managers underwent restructuring leading to several layoffs. These events have created increased pressure on organizations, prompting them to rethink their recruitment and retention strategies to retain their top talents, attract new talents, and thus better prepare for rapid changes in the labor market.

THE NEW PARADIGM OF REMOTE WORK

Since the pandemic, studies highlighting the widespread adoption of remote work, affecting both building occupants and managers, have multiplied. A significant percentage of commercial real estate professionals now consider remote work flexibility as a determining factor in choosing an employer. Therefore, companies must not only adjust their telecommuting policies but also communicate effectively to support good virtual collaboration and maintain a strong corporate culture, even at a distance.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT

The integration of AI into real estate management is of growing interest. Several companies in the sector are actively adopting systems to optimize their operations, ranging from lease management to predictive maintenance. This technological transformation redefines the very nature of the skills needed in recruiting commercial real estate professionals. Data analysis skills have become crucial in the current digital landscape for many real estate professionals and are considered essential for an increasing number of roles. Mastery of data analysis tools, understanding AI-assisted real estate management systems, and the ability to visualize complex data have become essential skills to remain competitive in the job market.

EMPLOYER BRAND MANAGEMENT: A NECESSITY

Employer brand management is now a strategic pillar of recruitment. It goes beyond the company's image and a statement of its core values. If not applied and taken up daily by the company, retention will be affected, reputation tarnished, and recruitment will have to start over. With social media and various review platforms, missteps often sting for a long time. Employees no longer just ask where they will work, but also for whom and with whom. This explains the success and proliferation of various real estate certifications like LEED, BOMA BEST, WEEL, and GRESB for buildings, as well as B CORP, BETTER PLACE TO WORK, and others for companies. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns are at the forefront. It is imperative for commercial real estate companies to integrate these standards into their DNA to remain competitive in the job market. Today's professionals actively seek employers who share their sustainability and ethical convictions. Look at attractive employers, and you'll notice that they have long been working to achieve an exemplary balance between their activities and ESG standards. By adopting eco-friendly practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, supporting social causes, and establishing rigorous governance standards, these companies have strengthened their appeal to talent that shares these values. By investing in environmental sustainability initiatives, such as converting buildings into eco-friendly spaces and adopting environmentally friendly technologies, organizations align their employer brand with growing concerns about climate change and resource conservation. By implementing policies that promote an inclusive work environment, companies enhance their reputation as diversity-respecting employers, thus attracting a diverse talent pool. By actively supporting social causes, property owners and managers demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility. Partnerships with local charities and community initiatives add a human dimension to the employer brand, attracting professionals sensitive to social issues. Supporting the Montreal Real Estate Foundation for Youth is an excellent example. By establishing rigorous governance standards, you build trust with employees and investors. Transparency, business ethics, and compliance with regulations are fundamental pillars of a strong employer brand. The recruitment challenges in the commercial real estate sector require a holistic, proactive, and long-term approach. The movement is underway, and we must emphasize the urgency of constantly adapting our recruitment strategies to the realities of an ever-evolving market. By placing skills development, employer brand management, and compliance with values, especially ESG standards, at the center of their concerns, companies can not only attract the best talent but also thrive in this ever-changing environment.

Éric Bernard has been a real estate talent scout at Recruitment Performance since 2019. Passionate about culture and workplace well-being, he leverages over 30 years of experience as a professional in commercial real estate, working in roles such as manager, broker, lender, and business development manager. He possesses extensive knowledge of various real estate and non-residential construction professions.

Originally published on page 44 of the Gestion Immobilière magazine.

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