Why should HR care about real estate?

Just recently official sources announced that unemployment in the UK has reached a seven-year low. Albeit great news for the economy, rapidly emerging vacancies create a new challenge for businesses. Top management consultancies say in unison that companies are increasingly concerned about attracting and retaining talent. There is a disappointing lack of diversity, skills, and HR data in virtually every major industry. CBI reports that for the first time skills shortages are considered a more significant threat to employers than employment regulation. And to make things worse, rumour has it (or rather surveys suggest) that Generation Z, which is now entering the workforce, does not expect to stay long in the same job.

Whilst technology and changing consumer preferences continue to disrupt conventional offerings and operational models, finding and developing talent that can uphold organizational agility lies in the core of any successful HR strategy. Digital tools made headhunting easy, so companies need to think very carefully about how to preserve knowledge and retain skills. For many organisations the big question is “what can I offer in addition to interesting projects and an attractive salary to attract and engage employees?”

Investing in the workplace could hold the key. Office space is responsible for how people work and interact. Knowledge transfer is encouraged when the office environment is conducive to collaboration; effective utilization of technology is possible when the right infrastructure is in place; jobs are more treasured when they come with a level of comfort and convenience. Flexibility, proximity to amenities, good transport links, as well other attributes that create a so called “vibe” can be a source of strength in the war for talent.  Companies that understand these priorities and put their people at the heart of their workplace strategy can significantly enhance their attractiveness in the eyes of existing employees and potential new hires.

Location analysis can help companies to maximize access to talent, while space configuration and design can facilitate productivity and improve efficiency. JLL’s Global Corporate Real Estate Trends Survey reveals that almost 60% of executives expect their CRE teams to have either frequent interaction or shared services integration with HR in the next 3 years. Aligning the two business functions can significantly enhance the workplace experience and ultimately create value for the business. Workplace trends are changing, and there is a growing need for companies to respond to expectations of different generations, genders, and backgrounds. Corporate real estate management becomes integral to the process of creating an environment that supports organisational culture and appeals to different demographics, which may be just the tipping point for winning over much needed talent.

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