Tips to Attract the Next Generation of Property Managers

06/26/2018 | By Valerie Dennis Craven

Attracting the next generation of talent is no easy task. BOMA/San Francisco’s Careers Committee has created a system to make it as smooth as possible while attracting 23 new graduates to property management in 18 months.

Nicole DuBee, Anne Hill, Lee Miller - BOMA 2018 Mentorship
Panelists (from left) Nicole DuBee, Anne Hill, and Lee Miller

During the BOMA 2018 session Mentorship: Attracting the Next Generation of Talent, committee members shared how they accomplished this fantastic feat. The panelists Nicole DuBee, property manager with Columbia Property Trust; Anne Hill, real estate portfolio manager at Bently Enterprises; and Lee Miller, senior property manager at Cushman & Wakefield; told a full room of attendees how programs involving mentorship and awareness will help you snag quality talent.

The group has a strategic two-part plan for success.

Discover Next-Generation Talent

Hill notes that 57 percent of senior leaders will be retiring in the next 5-10 years. “How are we going to fill all that lost talent in the next 5-10 years?” she asks. “We can no longer depend on our traditional hiring approaches.”

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BOMA/San Francisco’s Careers Committee begins recruiting new talent by looking at three things:

  • The demographics needed to fill future positions
  • Competition to get students into real estate as opposed to more visible and popular careers
  • Awareness of careers in property management

“Unlike demographics and competition, lack of awareness is something we can do something about,” Miller notes.

Journey to Property Management Careers

To create and increase awareness, BOMA/San Francisco looks to find and engage students in a journey to the career.

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The group focuses on three strategies:

Explore:

Focus in one spot to connect with students. The group teamed with San Francisco State University to work with students in the school of business and creating a relationship with the career adviser. The careers committee reached them through classroom and lunchtime presentations and by visiting student organizations.

“We outlined the career path trajectory and how they could move up very quickly,” Hill says. “Students want to know how they can get promoted, and our career path is there.”

Connect:

The group helped the students see what a career in the field would look like by offering four resources and development for students to connect with professionals through their college career. They provided:

  • Building tours: Engage property managers who are passionate and can get students out of the classroom. Every building is different, so encourage students to do as many tours as they can. Property managers can talk about unique challenges they face. Tours highlight that property management is all about physical assets you can touch and see.

  • Informational interviews: Conduct one-on-one interviews in your workplace where the students ask you questions. There is minimal preparation for you and it helps students develop interviewing skills for when they have to go on them.

  • Workshops: BOMA/San Francisco runs two workshops – resume and cover letter writing, and interviewing skills – that are specific to property management.

  • Job shadowing: The committee suggests a four-hour job shadow of a working professional. While the panel admits that this option takes the most time and effort for the host, you can have the student shadow your teammates so they can learn other parts of the business and it frees you up during some of the time.

No matter what development tool(s) you provide, Miller suggests you “make it your goal to create a relationship and maintain it with the student.”

Achieve:

At this level the focus is on staying connected through mentorship, and building quality relationships over a large number of relationships. Dubee notes that the committee does what she calls mentorship matchup, where each student and mentor are handpicked to be part of a 12-week program.

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During the program there are at least three check-ins: a building tour, an informational interview and a job shadow. The goal at this point is to provide quality connections rather than reaching a large quantity of students, and staying connected.

Miller has found that most college juniors and seniors are undecided what to do after college. “That’s good for us,” he says. “We have a receptive audience to show what a career in commercial real estate looks like.”

Valerie Dennis Craven valerie.craven@buildings.com is Editor-in-Chief at BUILDINGS.


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