Today’s workplace is inescapably tied to the millennial generation. This group, aged 19-35, is the largest demographic in the country, a position they’re predicted to hold until 2050.
Millennials compose about one-third of our voting-age population, and their presence in the workforce is being felt a little more every day. Millennials will comprise 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020. That means that in all likelihood many top agents fit into this demographic. The real question is: who is going to teach them? Which brokerage is going to find the top junior brokers who are going to be running brokerages across the country in 15 to 20 years?
Given these facts, it’s worthwhile to explore ways to successfully recruit and retain younger agents. To do that, we need to understand what makes them tick. This generation has slightly different priorities and expectations for the workplace than previous generations.
Perhaps the most powerful force shaping the development of millennials has been their constant access to information via a computer, social media, and of course the mobile device they can’t live without. This generation is accustomed to connection, and expects to have instant access to needed information, in the workplace and in all areas of life.
This means that millennials have no patience for tasks that can be better managed by technology. They see the wasted time in repetitive data entry, and look for systems that automate routine tasks. They know that automation often eliminates error and also gives them time to focus on elements of the job that require a human touch.
Solid systems that support productivity are a big draw for millennial agents, who know the value of data-driven work and can easily incorporate new technology. Tech tools allow professionals to focus on customer service, and free them up to spot trends and opportunities that might otherwise pass unnoticed. Millennials are looking for more than a paycheck; they want job satisfaction, and technology is one important way to ensure they have it.
The millennials’ access to technology and a greater ability to connect with others on a daily basis has led them to value community and social connections in the workplace. Their expectations for the workplace are different. Once, job security held sway as the most important element of a position, but millennials are looking for more than just stability. They value connection, interaction, and a feeling of belonging, as the lines between work and life are increasingly blurred.
This makes company culture more important than ever, and a strong culture is a powerful tool for both recruitment and retention of millennials. To appeal to this demographic, the company culture must support 3 areas that are priorities for millennials:
Having never “adulted” without the Internet, millennials are comfortable with 24/7 connectivity and multiple devices. They expect to be able to do their work where it makes the most sense, and have little patience for being tied to a desk all day. A workplace that allows for some movement within the space as well as working remotely when it’s practical will score points on flexibility with millennials.
2. Shared values
Millennials look for companies that reflect their value for making a contribution to their community. Companies demonstrate this through social responsibility, sustainable practices, and corporate giving. Shared values create stronger relationships in the workplace, and encourage positive attitudes. Volunteering as a team for a day could be both an opportunity to give back, and a fantastic team building exercise.
3. Professional development
The potential for advancement and support of professional development is also an important workplace feature for millennials. They look for a workplace that provides the opportunity within the company for advancement and skill-sharpening, as well as participation in courses and mentoring programs. Mentorship programs that give younger brokers a chance to learn from those who have been closing deals in commercial real estate for years can be a huge boost to both recruiting and retention of younger brokers. Access to these sorts of opportunities improves productivity and demonstrates management’s interest in the development of their team and helps management spot the next leader in their organization.
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