CRE firms are embracing technology to power the workplace experience of tomorrow. But are their org charts ready to take on the task?
Commercial real estate firms are increasingly turning to web and mobile platforms like Lane to power the workplace experience for their tenants. But with a new way of operating comes a new set of responsibilities, which means that the task of actually running that technology can easily fall through the cracks.
We sat down with LMRE, a global proptech recruitment and search consultancy, to explore how job functions and candidate profiles are gradually (and not so gradually) shifting in light of real estate’s journey into “digital transformation.”
The result? A breakdown of 3 key roles that CRE firms should consider adding to their teams to deliver the workplace experience of tomorrow.
Depending on your size and needs, these roles can be scaled up into entire departments, or scaled down to hybrid positions. Either way, we hope the following list helps CRE leaders think about how to build out their teams to successfully adapt to the future of work.
1. Digital Marketing Manager
AKA Tenant Engagement Manager, Marketing & Events Manager, Content & Community Manager, Communications Manager
To consistently engage and delight your tenants, you need someone responsible for creating content, running events, and generally fostering community in the workplace.
In a digital age, that means running all of the above through a smart content management system (CMS): scheduling posts, targeting audiences, sending event reminders, and so on. By using drag-and-drop builders, template libraries, and other modern-day software features, your Tenant Engagement Manager should be responsible for programming that is thoughtful, relevant, interactive, and on brand.
Software platforms have the power to nurture audiences like never before. Your Tenant Engagement Manager’s mission is to harness that power to transform your brick-and-mortar properties into thriving, engaged communities.
Core responsibility: Leverage workplace experience software to drive engagement throughout the property (or properties), principally via content, communications, and virtual and live events programming.
Reports into: VP of Marketing or Director of Digital Strategy (see #2 below)
Related tasks: Tenant newsletters, contests & promotions, tenant onboarding, surveys & polls, social media, virtual events, and other digital marketing tactics.
2. Director of Digital Strategy
AKA VP of Digital Strategy & Transformation, Chief Innovation Officer, VP Workplace Experience
When it comes to the future of work, technology has the power to transform more than just content and events. From booking flex spaces on demand to opening doors via touchless mobile access, the possibilities are virtually limitless. In order to effect this large-scale transformation, however, it needs to come from the top.
The Director of Digital Strategy would be responsible for defining a strategy and process for how property managers can best leverage emerging technologies to drive innovation in the workplace. They would be able to secure buy-in from senior leadership on purchasing and strategic technology decisions. Above all, they would be responsible for advocating and implementing technological change throughout the organization, from the C-suite all the way down.
In short, the Director of Digital Strategy is responsible for making innovation a core part of the organization’s cultural fabric, advancing new approaches to achieve digital transformation in both process and service.
Core responsibility: Implement digital-first processes throughout the organization, with a view to improving tenant experience and operational efficiencies through seamless cloud-based technologies.
Reports into: CIO or CDO
Related tasks: Defining a vision and inspiring others; identifying and evaluating emerging technology startups for build, buy, or partnership recommendations to business executives and key stakeholders; delivering thought leadership and strategic analyses describing new technologies/use cases and their potential impact on the CRE industry; working cross-functionally with business executives to lead the design, development and scale of partnerships with emerging tech solutions; managing internal politics to achieve alignment and secure buy-in; leading pilots with emerging technology solutions and identifying when and how pilots should scale across the enterprise; leveraging building and tenant data (e.g., amenity utilization) to drive investments and strategic decision making.
3. Technical Product Manager
AKA Smart Building Manager, Solutions Architect, Data Strategist
Last but certainly not least, CRE firms will need a technical product manager to run the new technology on an ongoing basis. That means managing user permissions, digitizing manual processes, retiring or integrating older technologies into the new system, liaising with the technology provider, and more.
Above all, the Technical Product Manager will be responsible for ensuring that the new technology results in a seamless and elevated workplace experience for both tenants and property managers across all touchpoints, from room booking to guest registration to maintenance requests and beyond.
Core responsibility: Using software to define and continuously enhance the workplace experience in all ways other than tenant communications, events, and other “tenant engagement” tasks (which will be the responsibility of the Digital Marketing Manager — see #1 above), including mobile access, commerce, and data.
Reports into: CIO or Director of Digital Strategy (see #2 above)
Related tasks: Sourcing, uploading, and maintaining core property information on the platform (i.e. tenant handbook); ensuring all bookable facilities are represented accurately in the platform; monitoring usage analytics and reporting insights and progress to Director of Digital Strategy; facilitating in-app transactions between retail and commercial tenants; translating business requirements into feature requests and technology refinements; working with IT & leadership teams to integrate additional digital tools or technology systems into the property (BMS, Lighting, IoT)
Needless to say, these roles can be scaled up to form entire departments, or scaled down to form a mixed or “hybrid” role (within reason of course). But whatever your size, needs, and budget, the important thing is to appreciate that there are essentially three different sets of needs to help ensure CRE firms achieve digital transformation and deliver the future of work for their tenants:
- The need to engage tenants and build community via smart web and mobile software to support tenant attraction and retention
- The need to ensure internal buy-in and commitment to digital transformation from the top on down
- And perhaps most importantly, the need to own the technology and the experience it makes possible in the workplace in all non-marketing and non-communications-based ways (access, data management, and so on)
Happy hiring :)
LMRE is a specialist talent management consultancy whose sole aim is to attract and deliver the very best candidates to the leading brands in global real estate and innovation. In doing so we help our clients scale and grow world class teams that give them the competitive edge in an increasingly candidate short market. By engaging with LMRE you should expect to enter into a long term partnership which is based on trust and is with a consultant that is fully embedded in your culture and invested in your future. Our aim is to be your best possible advocate in the market and help save valuable time and money. We tailor solutions specific to our client needs and are proud of our position as the No1 Proptech talent management consultancy in the market. Learn more here.
Please get in touch with Xan Winterton, Managing Director North America.