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Recruiting 101: How The CRE Industry Attracts And Retains Talent


The U.S. job market is stronger than it has been in a decade. The unemployment rate is at 4%, and Americans are optimistic about the current labor market. In a Gallup survey published in June, 75% of respondents said it is a good time to find a job. 

The strengthening market has allowed job applicants to be more selective about the companies they interview with. In a reversal of roles, employers are now feeling the pressure to stand out and impress potential candidates, instead of the other way around. As more companies compete to reach top talent, they are investing in team-building and professional development programs to attract candidates and retain current employees. 

California-based investment real estate brokerage Lyon Stahl is making significant investment in its recruitment efforts. The firm’s competitive yet collaborative environment attracts candidates looking for a challenging and rewarding career in commercial real estate. 

“We have developed an effective system that helps us attract candidates,” Lyon Stahl Team Leader Matthew Marsh said. “We have doubled in growth and size every year, which we attribute to our investment in recruiting and enhancing our corporate culture.”

High on the list of Lyon Stahl’s priorities is helping employees forge a clear career path for themselves. New staff receive a handbook that outlines topics like contracts, managing transactions, marketing and working with clients. New employees also participate in a 12-week training program that teaches agents how to hold themselves accountable and where they should focus their time to achieve the most success. 

In an Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, 91% of millennials said achieving success and recognition in a career is necessary for living a good life. Appealing to this demographic, the Lyon Stahl management team encourages each employee to create an annual business plan. Quarterly and yearly reviews enable employees to track their progress and communicate with their managers regularly about their growth. The company also offers new agent and year-end awards that recognize select employees for their work. 


Professional development programs have grown in popularity across the commercial real estate industry. Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. While 72% of millennials want to be their own boss, 79% say that, if they have to work for someone, they want that person to serve as a coach or mentor. Commercial real estate organizations have taken note. CREW and NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association, for example, now offer formal programs that connect young professionals with more experienced mentors. The growth of these programs has led large companies to create their own internal mentorship programs to help employees develop the skills they need to take control of their careers. 

Lyon Stahl’s junior mentorship program pairs new employees with a vice president or senior associate to complete their first three transactions. 

“The mentorship program is valuable to many employees, whether they are new to the industry or looking for more guidance in their career,” Marsh said. “Working alongside an experienced professional can help employees learn the strategy behind closing a deal, and gain insight into how to become successful in the industry."

Marsh and his team have found that integrating work and social activities can be an effective mechanism for attracting and retaining talent. Every Monday morning, employees meet to set and share weekly goals and network with other members of the team who they may not otherwise work with. This activity promotes collaboration among employees and makes the office a place where people want to go to work every day.

On the first Tuesday evening of each month, the company provides employees with dinner and drinks. This allows them to get to know their team while catching up on prospecting and generating leads. Employees also meet up before work or between prospecting for surfing or golf. The office also features an in-house golf simulator, which allows employees to take a quick break and recharge. 

This trend of work-life integration has grown across industries. More candidates want jobs where they can do good work and get to know their colleagues on a personal level. As the demand for a more social work environment increases, companies are beginning to do more to facilitate these relationships.

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Lyon Stahl. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.