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COVID-19 Impacts on CRE Hiring and Investment

Jun. 11, 2020

This year started with the CRE industry in a healthy and robust position, with capital availability, investment opportunities, and hiring expected to increase. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created a black swan event that took its toll on not only global public health but also the CRE investment industry’s health. Business closures, property vacancies, job losses across sectors, and deferred rental payments have and will continue to impact the CRE investment industry.

However, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for the remainder of 2020. Shifting into Q3, recovery is the name of the game in navigating our new normal. 

Attracting and retaining top-tier talent is a critical component of COVID-19 recovery for CRE investment firms to ensure long-term sustainability, competitive positioning, and stable growth. Experienced, high-value executive candidate prospects are reevaluating their career and life goals in light of COVID-19. In doing so, they are looking for new opportunities and placements that better align with who they are, their experience, and what and how they want to contribute to the industry. CRE investment firms can leverage recovery efforts around key attraction and retention factors that have emerged as a result of the pandemic.

Enabling Ongoing Work From Home (WFH) & Remote Work 

Remote work or working from home arrangements are not new to the world of work, but this is a newer work-model within the CRE investment space. As firms created new policies, procedures, and protocols nearly overnight, remote work became the essential piece to remain functional in the face of the pandemic—just as it did across a multitude of industries. The shift to working from home was near-immediate but reconsider the transition back. 

Now, executive talent has realized their ability to utilize digital communication tools to facilitate work and communication outside of the office. As work/life balance has always been a key consideration among talent, WFH allows potential executives to integrate life and work better. Offering WFH arrangements in some capacity, such as on a part-time basis, enables CRE investment firms to access competitive talent in new and previously inaccessible geographic locations, as well as remain competitive in talent attraction and retention. 

Embracing Digital Technologies and Trends 

Fostering ongoing connections has remained critical throughout coronavirus response. New digital technologies have kept the flow of information and data moving in real-time, enabling the swift shift from in-person events, conferences, and gatherings to digital webinars and meetings, and creating connections across the industry in innovative ways. Maintaining a commitment to continued investment in and the use of digital tools and technologies will enable better, more connected, and more competitive working environments. 

Getting ahead of 2021 Goals 

One of the essential COVID-19 lessons CRE decision-makers can take away from this pandemic is that you can’t afford to wait to get ahead of your corporate and personal goals. This shift in perspective, about what and who matters in life and in business, cannot go unrealized in application to your goals for 2020 and beyond. Reframe your initial 2020 goals with consideration for COVID-19 recovery and use that mindset to get ahead of 2021. 

Many of the changes resulting from COVID-19 are likely permanent. They will require constant vigilance, support, investment, training, and communication as coronavirus response and recovery evolves, and as new trends emerge across the industry and talent. 

At IBR, we’re game-changers, even when the game changes on us. COVID-19 was unexpected and has created undeniable changes and concerns for the CRE investment industry and executive search. Still, when we can look at this crisis with an opportunistic lens, there are silver linings and lessons to be learned about who we hire, how we hire, and how companies and candidates can come together to achieve shared goals. 

Ready to learn more about making the most of COVID-19? Contact us anytime to talk.


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