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Why is the Property function of today not playing a more significant role in the hiring and retention of the talent for tomorrow?

ClientTalentIn House Property / Real Esate DirectorProperty Asset Management & InvestmentCPOProperty and Facilities Management+-

As the market starts to show real signs of recovery, it is no surprise that demand for talent is on the increase – and when I say “talent” I refer to those individuals who will make things happen, who can come up with innovative ideas, who can add value – and who can even transform your business. Not surprisingly as demand starts to outstrip supply, talented candidates find themselves in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose. So ask your self this: what am I doing to retain my best people? What do I need to do to ensure we’re best placed to attract new talent?


In this age of social networking, branding and a need for Generation “Y” to want “the best” of everything, it’s no surprise that office culture and the workplace environment is having a greater say in client differentiation. Flexible working agenda continues to grow in importance in most Corporate occupiers but the quality of the office facilities, the view from the office window, the location in proximity to transport links, the funky office design with breakout rooms, ipads and tablets in every conference room... It can often be the modern age office that entices the modern age candidate undecided between two different offers that can make the difference.


Knowing all of this and with every major corporate and FTSE 250 putting people as the key driver to their success, why does the Property function in a lot of Corporate Occupiers sit in a seat that barely touches, let alone influences, the board table strategy?


I hear stories of organisations outsourcing Property and facilities to a company that has delivered millions of savings during the course of the contract, has employee satisfaction at 98% and has delivered multiple relocations, refurbishments on time and budget and presented innovation in energy savings and sustainability, but the contract is still being put up for re tender by Procurement based solely on price... Now, if the current provider loses the contract is it their fault? Was their pricing wrong?..... Is it Procurement’s fault? After all, they’re just doing their job!. Perhaps it’s the lack of influence at board level that the in-house Property and Facilities function has? And that’s if there is one in the organisation.


Having recruited for the last 8 years in the sector, there are huge improvements in education and training led by BIFM and RICS but there is still a long way to go. When I was first looking to train as an accountant, the CIMA qualification was being sold as a business qualification speaking business language not accountancy jargon. This was almost 20 years ago so I guess, even with the improvements to training, you could argue that the Property shared service function in the occupier world is way behind the game.


But it’s not just the training or the building aesthetics, it is important that the Property Industry and it’s leaders demonstrate and articulate value so the people influencing the sector are not able to commoditise the services. They need to be able to influence and drive strategy and only then will more quality graduates and the next generation be encouraged to think seriously about the Property Industry being the right career move.


So now that the market forces are on our side once again let’s all work together to push Property up the Occupier’s board table agenda. To influence the CEO, CFO, CPO and wider corporate community. To stop the sector being commoditised and encourage quality graduates and middle management back into Property and make sure we don’t miss an opportunity to really change the sector for the better.

Stuart Bonner
Posted by Stuart Bonner
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