At Cushman & Wakefield, about 75% of our costs are related to our people, so we have to be able to integrate people and financial data to optimize the workforce. The technology has to be easy to use, it has to be seamless, and it has to provide actionable data and information so we can improve outcomes for our clients and our employees. We chose Workday because it is an integrated people and financial platform.
What are the challenges with digital transformation in commercial real estate?
There’s just so much data. There’s data about the buildings. There’s data about the employees—how often they’re coming into the office, how they’re using the space. Those insights inform how our clients—real estate owners and occupiers—will invest in office space in the future. So we have to be able to gather that data and present it in an actionable form.
How is the new platform benefiting your clients?
Commercial real estate is a multiyear decision. It’s a large part of the budget for the CFOs of our clients. And once a decision is made, it takes years to really see the outcome. Having that data to drive the right decision is absolutely critical to manage costs, engage the workforce, and ensure that any investment in real estate is optimized.
How has the transformation impacted Cushman & Wakefield’s bottom line?
We’ve been able to save significantly and improve the overall efficiency of the organization. Over the last five years, we’ve improved our margins from approximately 9% to 13%, so over 300 basis points of margin improvement over a period of five years as a result of the work we’ve done to improve our back office and drive efficiency.
What has been Workday’s greatest value to you as CFO?
For a CFO, credibility is critical. Financial numbers and KPIs have to be accurate and readily accessible. For me the most important thing is when I’m looking at reports in Workday, the numbers I am looking at are the same as those that someone remotely or in a different city is looking at. When everybody is looking at the same information, you get the same result. Having that single source of truth is absolutely critical, not only for me in my role but for the organization as a whole.
How have you been able to better engage employees since implementing Workday?
Almost everything we do regarding our people is on our Workday platform. For example, we ensure performance reviews are done throughout the company, and we do all of our talent and performance reviews in Workday. Workday is helping us help all of our employees work better.
An area of change post-COVID has been the significant level of attrition we’ve seen impact companies across industries. We have to create a very high level of engagement with our people to ensure they stay with us. We’re able to pull data to really understand what employees’ needs are, so we can attract and keep the best talent in the industry.
Check out this video to learn more about Cushman & Wakefield’s success with Workday.