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Top 5 Improvements Every CRE Firm Should Make

Commercial real estate firms in 2016 are implementing subtle, significant changes in their fundamental operations to thrive in a post-recession market.

Here are five of the most important.

1) Corporate and Social Responsibility

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The initiative to bring social responsibility into external business practices is rapidly becoming a key area of interest for management. Real estate firms are increasingly looking to make an impact on the communities they serve—and for some, community engagement is their primary operation. One example? Springing up all over the country are estate businesses specializing in the provision of permanent housing and residential neighborhoods for low-income families and individuals in the areas and municipalities they service.

2) Leadership Training and Employee Development

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In an industry consistently at the mercy of rather volatile consumer demand, employees in brokerage and CRE firms can find themselves stretched thin. High stress levels carry a greater risk of employee burnout and productivity loss, particularly if there exists no incentive to collaborate with co-workers, work towards “group goals” or instill a sense of belonging.

Real estate firms have to take care of their agents and brokers so that each individual’s well-being improves the well-being of the whole.

This entails offering team-building and employee engagement practices, a healthy and supportive workplace culture, and opportunities for advancement and developing leadership abilities. Studies prove encouraging a workplace of teamwork and mutual benefit rather than zero-sum give-and-take improves overall performance. Giving the team a common goal—such as winning a competition in a specific category in which the company excels—can provide workers that extra boost needed for upholding workplace practices.

3) In-Office Sustainability

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Many CRE firms are seeking to revitalize their ranks with younger employees, and yet have no idea how to attract the very people they need to bring fresh energy, ideas and perspectives into their workplace. One starting point? Roughly 80% of Millennials prefer their business offices to incorporate sustainable programs into everyday practices, whether by maintaining a sustainable portfolio or by implementing effective best practices in the workplace.

Methods for improving workplace environment sustainability include health and wellness programs, employee training in stress reduction techniques, ease of access to recycling and repurposing stations to maintain office cleanliness and community care, and offering on-site gyms and cafés.

Starting with just one or two of these practices encourages a reduced carbon footprint and improved worker efficiency.

4) Constant Innovation

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Historically, CRE may be slow to adopt new practices and technology, but many brokerage and commercial real estate firms are actively changing that status quo. From smaller, locally-oriented businesses to the big boys servicing urban markets all over the country, real estate companies are integrating such cutting-edge services as 3D technology and virtual reality tools.

Pushing innovative tech enables clients and customers to gain access to projects, sites and buildings without taking hours out of their day. This significantly streamlines administrative practices for real estate firms and makes clients more willing to engage and cooperate.

5) A Strong Code of Ethics

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A little more old-fashioned than the others? Sure—but as important as ever. Employers should hold themselves and their employees to both internal and external codes of conduct that ensure the welfare, safety and comfort of each individual both within the company and in every business operation. An environment in which workers can freely hold themselves and each other accountable in the office reflects outward, encouraging good business, healthy marketplace competition, and, by extension, client protection.

To see real-life examples of how companies are demonstrating innovation, commitment and advancement of the real estate management industry, take a look at IREM's REME Awards Finalists.

To learn more about Bisnow partner IREM, click here.