CBRE’s David Josker on Modern Workplaces, Recruitment, Retention
By Dennis Kaiser
CBRE’s David Josker shares how to mix a modern workplace ‘cocktail’ that’s focused on creating a collaborative atmosphere. He serves as Managing Director of the Los Angeles North Region for CBRE, and is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of more than 70 sales professionals throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. He offers insights into building high-achieving teams in Connect Media’s latest 3 CRE Q&A.
Q: We know that workplace is big on CBRE’s agenda, and you have three Workplace 360 examples in Glendale, Woodland Hills and Oxnard. What are these environments doing for you, and why is CBRE placing a great deal of emphasis on spaces where people work? A: Our workplace journey has been groundbreaking. In Glendale, we converted a 100-year-old Masonic Temple (pictured), in Woodland Hills we transformed a former stand-alone restaurant, and in Oxnard we converted traditional street-front retail space. This journey has taught us the importance of creating an experience, a sense of community and family for those housed in our spaces.
Workplace today is not just a discussion about furniture or location, it is not just about designing a creative space but also about paying great attention to the experiential side of occupying space. Culture is top of mind for me, and the daily experience for our employees and clients is paramount. In our Los Angeles North region, we’ve successfully blended unique spaces with an extreme focus on experience, such as providing concierge services to our professionals, resulting in a workplace environment that provides our employees with a luxury hotel-type experience every day.
Q: There is a talent war going on in the CRE industry. How has that workplace in Glendale played out from a recruiting and retention of talent standpoint? A: We are in an extremely competitive environment, and are acutely focused on retaining and hiring the industry’s top talent. Retention and employee satisfaction are top priorities.
In many ways, we are very similar to a sports organization. We’re structured into teams, making sure our athletes, or the revenue-generating transaction pros, are bigger, stronger, and faster than the competition and are freed up to make plays on the field, so to speak. The most successful companies place great emphasis on culture, and we’ve been on this journey to blend culture and service. Our experience with the Caruso organization and their unbeatable focus on customer service has shown us what an impact we can have on our customers’ with a sort of “white glove”-type of approach. In our case, we consider both our clients and our employees as our customers.
Q: It sounds like creating experiences is a key element for you. How do you accomplish that and still produce at an industry-leading level? A: In short, we feel we have the best professionals in the industry, at every level. We’ve talked about workplace and space, but it really comes back to creating a culture and “family” environment in our offices. In these very competitive times, our LA North offices have enjoyed very low attrition rates. The cocktail we’ve created to attract and retain is centered around culture, evolving our focus daily, and it has generated incredible results. Last year, we surveyed every brokerage professional in the country and ranked our operations across the U.S. The LA North offices achieved the second-highest culture score in the U.S. I have always enjoyed focusing on the people part of this business. and less on telling professionals how to do their job. It is about making sure they feel like they are most important part in the office, because they are.
Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services.
In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company.
In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix.
Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator.
Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements.
Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.
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