We’re seeing it everywhere: the American workforce is in the midst of an “aging out” epidemic. According to the Department of Labor, last year more than 40 percent of workers aged 55 and above were still in the labor force—the highest since the early 1960s.
I can say from experience that the residential real estate industry in particular is feeling this age crunch. To paint the picture, the average age of a REALTOR® is 56, while the average age of a homebuyer is 34. In order to fill this gap, we need our business strategies and work environments to be in line with the Millennial mindset—this is the only way we’ll be able to attract and retain Gen-Y moving forward. To get started, here are three top areas broker/owners can focus on:
- Provide concrete development opportunities. By nature, Millennials tend to seek what I like to call “structured independence.” While they value having the freedom to make their own decisions, they also crave the support and direction of peers and leaders. To help meet their needs, try implementing one-on-one mentor meetings where you can share insights into what’s next, as well as an overview of the resources your agents can use to get there. At the same time, encourage independent learning and development.
- Do good. Millennials see increased importance in working for companies that support the greater good. Set a goal for your brokerage and activate fundraisers within your community to help achieve it. This type of support not only attracts Millennials, but also brings your existing team members together—two vital components to maintaining a strong organization.
- Highlight support and collaboration. From one-on-one coaching to support teams, Millennials place high value on openness and collaboration. To accommodate this desire, try to encourage cross-teaming efforts and peer-to-peer discussions regularly. To take things a step further, establish weekly “best practice” brainstorms where agents can collaborate on their successes and failures as a team. Not only will these sessions provide an opportunity for your agents to air out any issues or concerns, they’ll be able to learn from one another and digest new ideas to help improve overall performance.
As we look to the future and what the next generation holds in store, our industry is in a position to thrive. Creating a new approach to real estate informed and molded by Millennials can ultimately lead to a new and improved way of doing business. Now is the time to embrace it. Remember, change driven by solution-based thinking can poise your business for the future—a positioning that Millennials can get behind.