Market Strategy with Alex Hammerstein, Senior Vice President at CBRE
Part of CBRE’s Technology and Media Practice group, Alex specializes in addressing the unique needs of technology and business services companies. He brings a thorough understanding of how office space can be leveraged to unite an organization’s financial and cultural goals. Learn more here.
Tell us about your role at CBRE and why you joined BEN both as an Advisor and Partner.
As a member of CBRE’s Advisory and Transaction Services, I help companies ranging from Colorado-based start-ups to global Fortune 50 corporations think intentionally about the role real estate plays in supporting their growth strategy. Whether it’s a co-working/shared office concept or a corporate campus strategy, I work with my clients to create an effective real estate strategy that unites their financial, operational and cultural initiatives.
I jumped at the opportunity to support an organization that is built around giving back to the Colorado entrepreneur. As an Advisor, I have the pleasure of doing my small part to add value to our BEN companies, and as a Partner, CBRE is able to give back to the community that has supported us.
What makes Denver such an attractive market for companies?
It’s not breaking news that the Front Range boasts an outstanding quality of life, great connectivity to the outdoors and a renowned start-up culture. What’s talked about less frequently that I believe actually has the greatest influence on attracting companies to Denver is our supply of tech talent.
For the first time in 2018 metro Denver cracked the top 10 on CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report. This report ranks 50 U.S. and Canadian markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent. With a tech talent labor pool of nearly 100,000 people, representing 6.2 percent of total employment, Denver is now tied with Boston for being the ninth-most-concentrated market in North America for tech labor. And we’re growing. Our tech labor force grew 23.8 percent over the past five years, again among the fastest of North American tech markets.
As Denver’s tech sector continues to flourish, it’s going to attract more of the industry’s top talent to our region. And that pipeline will continue to fuel the growth of the innovative tech firms we have operating here in Denver.
How can the workplace impact a business’ growth strategy?
People have long studied the impact of workplace design on efficiency and productivity, but an area of research that’s emerged more recently is the ability of the workplace to promote and drive culture. Companies today are more astute than ever in recognizing that their workplace is a tool for talent recruitment and retention. In fact, CBRE has an entire practice dedicated to Workplace Strategy, which approaches the workplace experience holistically—considering how your technology, HR policy, approach to professional development and training, and facility management practices support a great work experience. In the end, when employees have positive emotional connections to their place of work, it builds allegiance to the organization, which is the foundation of talent retention and continued business growth.
What unique value does CBRE bring to Denver startup/scale-up customers?
What really sets CBRE apart is that we cover the entire spectrum of how companies make real estate decisions. We have practice areas specializing in everything from labor analytics to location incentives to project management and workplace strategy. We also have industry-leading tech tools that can compare the cost of a flexible lease to a traditional lease with just a couple clicks or completely redesign your space at the touch of a button. And we deploy that bench of resources for everyone from the world’s leading global tech giants to start-up companies. Because at the end of the day, companies are all facing the same questions—what’s the best way to create a great work experience, attract/retain top talent and ultimately grow your business. No one can help companies answer those questions more thoroughly than CBRE.
What tips can you share for companies that are preparing to make changes to their office space and/or location?
Real estate should be a strategic decision that incorporates your company’s cultural, financial and operational goals. It’s not all about location, it’s not all about cost, and it’s not all about design. There are many pieces to the puzzle. Companies need to think through the work environment that best marries their goals for recruitment, productivity and growth. What location will best help you attract and retain top talent? What workplace design will best support your employees’ workstyles and drive collaboration, innovation and productivity? And what terms will best give you the flexibility you need to continue to grow your organization? In the end, if your real estate is just a line item on your budget, you are doing it wrong; your workplace should be something that gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.