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    April 19, 2022

    How Owner's Reps Can Retain Top Real Estate Project Managers

    As a leading owner’s rep, you always want to position your firm as consistent and high quality. Having a staff of highly skilled workers with a proven history of success is one of the best ways to maintain and grow your position in the market.

    But with trends like the great resignation and skilled labor shortage, keeping experienced project managers on your staff has never been more challenging. Let's take a deeper look at the issue plaguing owner’s rep teams and how you can ensure your top employees stick around. 

    How the Great Resignation is Impacting Commercial Real Estate

    If you're unfamiliar with the great resignation, it's the headline describing the significant US job market trend of workers quitting their jobs. According to Pew Research Center data, the amount of resignations is at a record high, with at least 4 million people leaving their jobs each month since July 2021. This exceptionally high turnover rate is affecting most businesses, and owner's reps have not been spared. 

    According to Gallup, the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary. And according to Daniel Cunnigham, CEO of Leonardo247, real estate investors are acknowledging that a significant amount of the value in their investment is tied to the people operating it on their behalf. 

    High turnover is the cause of many issues for client-facing firms that rely on strong relationships and a deep understanding of the client to run successful projects. Changing the people executing your firm's core services will lead to surface-level relationships and shaky business partnerships. As Cunnigham states in Forbes, management companies need to take steps to retain the employees they have and make the industry more attractive to new workers.

    So how do you make your firm's project manager position too good to leave? While better pay and benefits always help, the best way is to ensure the role is fulfilling. 

    Your Top Real Estate Project Managers Won’t Tolerate Busy Work

    Project manager roles can vary significantly from firm to firm. Many project managers are still toggling between excel sheets to manage their projects, spending most of their day compiling data to make decisions or reports to share with stakeholders. 

    For many, this type of work wouldn't be categorized as fulfilling. Project managers will likely feel devalued as if their role is more of an order taker than as someone who is actively managing a multi-million real estate development. Cunningham writes in Forbes that as industry leaders, it's on you to demonstrate to your team that they are valuable and essential to the enterprise's success. He notes three things fundamental to all workers: the desire to work on a great team, fair pay, and the belief that our work is valued. 

    So how do you take a role that is inherently tied to 'busy work' and ensure that those doing the work feel they are making an impact on the project? In 2022, technology is playing a significant role. 

    Top Real Estate Project Managers Want to Make Strategic Decisions

    If there are solutions to reducing busy work for your team, and your firm hasn't incorporated them, you're opening up the opportunity for your employees to consider other firms that have.

    Cunningham notes to Forbes that equipping employees with the right technology tools can help reduce stress, increase productivity and improve job satisfaction. He reiterates that CRE business leaders need to evaluate each new technology they use to determine if it suits their business, consider whether it simplifies daily execution, streamlines workload, boosts communication, and helps reduce employee turnover.

    For owner's reps specifically, innovation has been low on the priority list for nearly two decades. This isn’t due to a lack of interest, but because new and excellent solutions for project managers have ranged from non-existent to half-baked. As we’re seeing new modern technology for the commercial real estate industry, like automation and data analytics. come onto the scene, those who ignore these solutions will be far less attractive in workplaces than those who successfully implement innovative real estate development software into their workflows. 

    For example, instead of having your project manager be responsible for manually adding project cost data to relevant spreadsheets, you can use automation technology to extract the cost information from invoices, contracts, and proposals, and automatically upload and organize it. Your project manager will then have more time to manage the project instead of being bogged down by time-consuming administrative tasks. 

    How to Curb Job Hopping

    The prevailing lesson of the great resignation is that people who are switching jobs are getting finding better situations. Switching companies has always come with some amount of risk but in the past year, it's been a great decision for the majority of job hoppers. According to Pew Research, at least half of workers who quit their job in 2021 say they are now earning more money (56%), have more opportunities for advancement (53%), have an easier time balancing work and family responsibilities (53%) and have more flexibility to choose when they put in their work hours (50%) than at their last job.

    When project managers are overwhelmed with mountains of administrative work to complete on top of the added pressure of ensuring projects meet budget and deadline expectations, their work-life balance can suffer. Working late to reconcile numbers in spreadsheets and make sure the draw is ready can lead to burnout, or at least get your top project manager to ponder if there is a better way. 

    If retaining talent is a priority for your firm, it's a disservice to your team to not implement solutions that can make your talent's lives easier and empower them to do a better job. Top project managers don't want their work to suffer– they want to work for the organizations that will support them as best they can. In the commercial real estate industry, the most attractive opportunities are those at firms that have recognized that their traditional processes have become a bit outdated and have taken steps to be innovators instead of reactive trend followers. 

    How to Be a Modern Owner's Rep Firm

    How do you position your owner's rep firm to be a modern trendsetter? The answer is to always be innovating. It's easy to look at your real estate development process and think the process works. That might be true now, but it might not be in a year or two. It's important to adopt solutions now to ensure your team is future-proof.

    Northspyre is changing the way real estate project managers work by empowering them with automation, AI, and data analytics to reduce the burden of administrative work and increase productivity. Project managers can focus on their day-to-day strategic project management and get the results leaders want instead of copying and pasting numbers into spreadsheets. Northspyre gives you the modern approach to real estate development that project managers (and owners!) are looking for from owners rep firms.

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