Property employers are well versed with the laws of supply and demand. However, the challenges are a little different when it comes to recruitment candidate scarcity.
When demand is high for real estate in a certain area, yet availability is minimal, prices will naturally rise accordingly. However, when potential employees are scarce in a certain functional sector, raising salaries alone won’t magically tempt the few available candidates your way.
Financial mechanics are not enough. There has to be a longer-term view.
Much has been spoken about the importance of an employer brand, but in my experience, it is exactly this that secures the interest of top talent. Whether a candidate is fresh onto the market, or whether they are (more often than not) a passive candidate who is fairly happy with their current role, being a company with a reputation for treating their people well is crucial when it comes to securing the brightest and best.
An employer brand is an investment. It is not something that you can create overnight, and it requires constant nourishment, through good times and lean. In an industry that is so prone to cyclical swings such as property, this is far from easy to ensure.
How can a property employer invest in their employees in a downturn if they are making redundancies? Surely every last cost should be reduced before they let people go? Why would they still be offering free gym memberships if they are cutting staff?
As with everything, it is a question of balance, but in my view, if you don’t look after the people that you want to be there, there will be plenty of other employers who will.
The easiest companies to recruit for are those who have focused on delighting their employees, through good times and bad – hard as that is to do when redundancies loom. You could argue that the very time to step up your employee engagement is in a downturn – when the market is tough, people need to have a reason to get up in the morning.
Then there is social media – the mouthpiece of the workforce.
If you treat your people well (when hundreds of other companies are deciding not to), you will be talked about. If you do treat your employees fantastically, why not ask them to shout about it? Employee advocacy is an authentic way of getting the message out about what you do and it will make sure that you are on the top of the list when those rare market-leading candidates become available.
Great candidates (who are willing to move) will always be few and far between, so in my view, the war for property talent starts with giving your current talent everything that they need to thrive.
If they are thriving, there is every chance that other top performers will want to join them.
If you treat your people well, you will be talked about.