WESTMOUNT INSIDER – The R&R behind HR in Real Estate: Recruitment and Retention

Jess Gemar, Director – Recruiting & Team Development, shares four strategies for attracting and preserving top talent in the commercial real estate industry.

One of the most important components in growing a successful business is the ability to build and retain a team of talented and engaged individuals that can support and propel your company’s initiatives.

In commercial real estate, specifically, there is a race for talent amongst competing companies. It is critically important to identify how to successfully attract candidates that will become part of a cohesive team unit and ultimately become active contributors to key initiatives within your organization.

1.    Create a Human-first Organization

Empower employees to learn new skills and grow – offer opportunities for inter-department growth, tuition reimbursement, industry certifications, memberships to professional organizations such as TREC, ULI, BOMA, NAIOP, NHMC, etc.

Employee recognition for achievements – Validating your employees helps to shape cultures within organizations. Over time, this builds motivated and high performing teams, where each employee feels heard, valued, and appreciated. Identify specific milestones for achievement and support resources employees will need for success along their journey. Employee recognition is a key driver of enthusiasm and employee satisfaction. Recognition of staff for special accomplishments, years of service, or other unique circumstances can also enhance peer relationships. Having successful people in your organization is a valuable recruiting tool.

Investing in people – promoting from within instead of external hiring. In the last two years, Westmount has provided 22 employees promotional advancement opportunities (an average of 13-18% of the company annually). Helping your employees outline a potential career path within your organization can better visualize their future at the company. Consistent communication about career advancement can help workers feel more engaged. Reminding employees of their unique contributions to your company’s mission adds meaning to their role. It can also increase their motivation to expand their responsibilities and advance in your organization. Encouraging and providing opportunities for career advancement will gain the attention of the brightest new recruits within your organization.

2.    Provide Thoughtful Amenities and Benefits

Think ahead about what employees want – go beyond generic amenities such as food/drinks in office and happy hours. A great opportunity is to use employee feedback and surveys. We offer casual dress code and early release Fridays which is not the norm for our industry but highly desired in general.

Multifaceted compensation/rewards packages – it is important to emphasize the many sources of compensation available to employees. We created a “Total Rewards Overview” to provide any candidates interested in joining our organization a complete package to consider with any job offer. This document provides potential new hires information about these added “perks.”   Examples include year-end bonuses, EPU’s (employee profit sharing), and E-shares (opportunities for employees to invest directly into deals… a unique perk!). These are offered in addition to base pay and benefits (insurance, PTO, etc.). We recently added the Team Innovation Program which invites employees to offer suggestions for new technology initiatives and provides compensation if an employee’s idea is chosen.

3.    Foster a Unique and Compelling Culture

Figure out what sets your company apart – since we are a small-midsized company, we have the advantage of being more receptive in implementing new initiatives and programs. Seeking regular feedback from employees on how they see the company’s culture and what they do/don’t like helps to ensure fresh ideas are highlighted.

Create an inviting workplace – sharing employee updates/photos on social media is a great way of highlighting the human element of your company. Features could be special events, team outings, traditions, or really anything that your company does that is unique or interesting and sets you apart from others.

Communicate a clear direction and purpose – people are more interested in working for companies with a clear direction. By communicating a long-term strategy of your organization’s vision and mission, you will have a better strategic and proactive approach, rather than consistently reacting to the existing environment. Clearly communicate the company’s goals, history, and future planning so that your employees feel part of a bigger mission.

4.    Build Strong and Collaborative Teams

Departments operate differently – understand the subculture and processes of each department to build upon the strengths and address the weaknesses. Employee satisfaction starts with the team they directly work with. It is important to find the right fit professionally and culturally for every role.

Be proactive with employee retention – do not wait until it is too late to act. Conduct 30, 60, and 90 day pulse checks. Follow-ups with new hires ensure transitions are going smoothly. Invite employee feedback through surveys and open-door policies for discussion. Also, do not skip the yearly performance reviews! Although performance is not a once-a-year event, employees need input and guidance throughout the year. Try and make the annual review process short and simple, however, performance feedback should be ongoing throughout the year. Use this time to set goals for the coming year. Review key performance indicators for the year and speak to your employee’s accomplishments and areas for growth. By making annual reviews short and to the point, employees will engage more with the process.

Identify and reward healthy management styles – efficiency and employee happiness are heavily dependent on the management style of department leaders. Identify and reward high-performing leaders who are liked and respected by their peers. Turnover is most common amongst entry-level roles, and this is often due to poor management. The best way to prevent this is by providing ongoing professional development for management level team members. When you reward and promote from within, people see opportunity and become less likely to search elsewhere. When employees see that their organization is willing to invest in their development, it provides motivation for high performance year-round.



Author: Jess Gemar

Jess is the Recruiting and Team Development Director at Westmount Capital Realty, LLC. She has over 15 years of HR related experience in working in commercial real estate, hospital, healthcare, retail/consumer products, & university level education industries. Focused on the development of successful teams by targeting, identifying, attracting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and onboarding employees.

To learn more about Westmount Realty Capital or for additional information, contact us at info@westmountrc.com or find us at https://westmountrc.com/.


This article, and Westmount Realty Capital blogs in general, is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and does not constitute a solicitation or offer by Westmount Realty Capital, LLC to buy or sell any securities, futures, options, foreign exchange or other financial instrument or to provide any investment advice or service. Westmount is not your advisor or agent. Please consult your own experts for advice in these areas. Although Westmount provides information it believes to be accurate, Westmount makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this article.


Want more insights delivered to your inbox?



Join our Mailing List