By Ryan Zabrowski, CCIM, SIOR
New business development, employee recruitment and office environments were the focus of the 2014 Fall SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors) Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, October 22-25.
Messaging and new business development were the topics of the opening session. This session reiterated the importance of existing clients in creating growth for commercial real estate firms. The presenters said 90 percent of new business typically comes from existing clients and word-of-mouth generates twice the sales of advertising —facts that are not lost on Investors Realty brokers, leasing agents and property managers.
Another conference presentation highlighted the focus companies place on recruiting good employees. Attendees were told that, while rent cost is a consideration, job location, style of space and surrounding amenities also attract top talent. The presenters suggest employers will shift from a cost mandate to a value mandate when looking at locations that will attract the employees they want. Many large employers are being drawn to university towns because of the availability of talent and a comfortable environment for young professionals.
Workspace studies continue. Some corporations are questioning the collaborative environments once touted as the best model for productivity. Notwithstanding, the office space per square foot allowed for each employee has shrunk from approximately 250 square feet per person to 166 square feet per person. In some suburban markets the smaller per employee space allotment causes parking issues given the typical 4:1 to ratio of employees to cars.
Of course, the host city and state presented their case for business. Nashville and Tennessee are doing very well in the economic turnaround. Tennessee boasts the strongest balance sheet in the United States. The state is working hard on education reform. Of note is a program to provide high school graduates full tuition for two years of technical school. In addition, the state has implemented a program for grades K-12 to expose all students to technical careers.