In the 7th episode of season 8 of the Propcast, Louisa is joined by Julia Paolucci, Managing Director at HqO France and Samuel Warren, Regional VP of HqO UK Ltd about how tenant engagement can slow down the resignation movement and help landlords meet ESG targets. They touched on what tenants can get out of HqO’s product, the acquisition of Office App and how ESG plays into the tenant experience. They also discussed what HqO has planned for 2022 as well as JLL Spark being a key investor. The key takeaway from this episode is that the focus in the current era is all about the employee experience.
Key Insights From This Episode:
- In a tech company, or a very service-driven company, things do change considerably month in, month out – Samuel
- When we started delivering something to the office market, it was something that was predictable, something pretty stable, and now we’ve seen everything transforming. – Julia
- In this era right now, the focus is really being directed at the employee and what their experience is as well as engaging with them and making them see the benefits of the workplace. – Julia
- 48% of the working population in the US are seeking new employment, therefore employers really need to understand what an employee wants. – Louisa
- The trend right now for us is; what can the landlord give to their tenant to enhance that tenant experience, to make the experience in the buildingas attractive as possible? – Julia
About Our Guests:
Julia Paolucci is Managing Director for France at HqO, where she is responsible for establishing and growing the French business.
Julia brings forward a property technology expertise, and a track record of leading greenfield organisations. In her previous role, as Head of Sales for Workwell, she was tasked with building the organisation’s client base in the proptech sector’s nascent stages, developing a thorough understanding of the landlord, tenant, service provider, and end-user experiences.
Julia started her career in banking, working in New York, Paris and London for the New York Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank, and lastly HSBC Corporate Bank where she spent 7 years.
Julia graduated with a BComm from McGill University in Montreal and an Executive MBA from IE University in Madrid.
Samuel Warren is the Regional VP of HqO UK Ltd, our London based business. At HqO Samuel is responsible for the growth of our platform in Northern Europe, including Germany, Netherlands and Nordics.
Prior to HqO, Samuel spent 12 years in the real estate market specialising in growing new businesses and high performing sales and marketing teams with companies such as CBRE and Chesterton Global and developers such as Berkeley Group and Country Garden. He worked in the Middle East, Singapore, China and Russia.
He is a graduate of Exeter University and also commissioned into the British Army, serving as a Bomb Disposal and Search Officer in the Royal Engineers.
About Our Host
Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).
LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the place at the time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people’s careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.
[01:50] Julia, how did you become the managing director of HqO France?
- I started my career in finance, working for different financial institutions in New York, Paris and London.
- I was one of the first members of WorkWell.
- I joined HqO in November 2019 to launch the French market.
[03:15] Sam, how did you end up at HqO and what experience do you bring to it?
- I have a varied career, I worked for the British army and now my career in real estate has been focused on growing high-performance sales teams.
- I started at HqO and set up a country from the start, I grew the team and brought everything together.
[04:30] Tell us more about the product and how has the product pivoted over the last few years?
- One of the underlying things at HqO is regardless of the product, it’s working with our customer base to really understand what they’re trying to achieve.
- We’ve done a huge amount of work on analytics and data.
- When we started delivering something to the office market, it was something that was predictable, something pretty stable, and now we’ve just seen everything transforming.
[06:20] Say I’m one of the tenants, what value do I get out of this product?
- An individual employee in a building is going to have the technology on their mobile phone and will be able to do a whole range of things in that workplace; from booking different meeting spaces, being able to work in different places to being able to use your phone as an access badge.
- Connecting you to those services and features as well as making your day in the building a lot happier and easier.
- Bringing perks to employees, thinking of discounts in the vicinity, or promoting local foods and beverages.
[09:25] You have some well known investors; Insight Partners, JLL Spark, Navitas Capital, Cushman & Wakefield and Suffolk Capital. This has allowed you to grow across North America, UK and Europe. Are there any areas of focus or growth for the business which you are looking at?
- It varies from region to region so in Europe, we are consolidating what we deliver across those territories.
- Making sure that we can service a customer in all the different languages, all the different territories and all the different technologies.
[11:20] You acquired Office App. How did that come about and what does it mean for the business? You also have a fantastic culture; how do you sort of balance that with the acquisition?
- They were a direct competitor of ours in the European market but our cultures weren’t miles apart.
- What they brought to the table was where we had gaps and vice versa.
[13:25] How does ESG play into obviously tenant experience?
- It is a necessity right now for real estate because they actually have to take action, they have to reduce their carbon footprint but they don’t necessarily know how to do that yet.
- From the employer’s perspective, this is becoming more important because we are in a great resignation period and people are looking for new employment opportunities.
[15:50] Can you talk us through how HqO can help clients achieve their ESG goals?
- ESG = environmental, social, and governance.
- Social: Our customer success team can implement for our clients can be things like events that are going to bring about inclusion or can push a different cause.
- We’ve been able to include a lot of guidance to users.
[17:00] JLL Spark has made an investment into HqO, what does this mean for the whole of HqO?
- Their knowledge of the marketplace has been put forward by them in the early days when no one knew who we were and it was really fundamental.
- They provide introductions that ratify who we are.
- Our clients know and trust JLL and their evaluations.
[19:25] What’s next for 2022 in HqO, in each of your regions?
- The great resignation and people in work spaces are really driving that more holistic experience for both users of our product and people in buildings.
- With our acquisition of Office App, we have acquired a lot of knowledge about the corporate market. The trend right now for us is; what can the landlord give to their tenant to enhance that tenant experience, to make the experience in the building as attractive as possible.
- Enriching the experience for the employee and creating that engagement for them in their workplace in general, not just the building.
- Landlords and corporations desperately want to understand more about their population.
- A big trend of 2022 in the real estate world, in France, is satisfaction, how do we gauge satisfaction?
[23:40] The ‘LMRE’ part, Louisa asks the guests to talk about:
1.Lessons learned in your career
- Julia: Revolutions don’t happen overnight but they do happen. To make revolutions happen, you need to keep pushing, you need to have energy, but you also need to have patience.
2. Mention a person, product or service
- Samuel: Some of our early adopters, some of our customers that have got innovation teams that wanted to test the product and innovate, evolve, work with us.
3.Rewarding parts of working in the space:
- Julia: Seeing my clients not refer to tenants anymore but rather as users.
4.What are you most Excited about for the future of the space?:
- Samuel: A more holistic approach. The big goal is the way that physical space will be totally connected, be it whether you are in a residential component of it, whether you’re in an office component of it, whether you’re a public visitor. It’s not about tenants anymore, it’s about customers.
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