This week I was fortunate enough to speak at the Business of Real Estate event on the Gold Coast. It was a great couple of days involving some industry heavyweights, with a lot of thought-provoking material covered.
Like many of the posts on Curran Insights, my topic area was looking to the future of our industry, in particular the make up of the future real estate agent. I thought I’d share a few of the key points from my presentation.
What’s the biggest factor driving the future agent? Some people probably think technology. While regular readers will know I’m an unabashed fan of technology in real estate, technology in itself is not the biggest factor to consider.
The big shift is people: a PwC study showed that by 2020, over 50% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials, aka those born after 1980. It’s the biggest generational shift we’ve seen in the workforce since the baby boomers and it will significantly change the way our agencies operate.
Millennials are different…but that’s not a bad thing
Millennials have a number of characteristics that differ from previous generations. They’re the first generation of digital natives for whom technology is an integral part of every day life. Millennials are motivated differently when it comes to work: They care far more for about social and environmental causes your business supports and will take this into consideration when evaluating a potential employer.
They value mentors over manages and will respect your experience far more than your job title. Work/life balance isn’t just a concept to this generation; they truly believe that simply sitting at desk for 8-10 hours per day is not only unproductive, but a serious under-utilisation of the 24 hours available.
This difference has led to a bit of a challenge for our industry, given the average age of a real estate principal is in their mid-fifties. It means we’ve seen a sort of a generational ‘culture clash’.
Is being different a bad thing? In my opinion no, in fact we should see it as an opportunity. I’m not saying that everything Millennials do is right, I like other business leaders can often be frustrated by some of their values. But their different approach to work means that we have a great opportunity to diversify our business, innovate faster, and improve the way we service our clients.
How do you adapt?
For me, there’s three things we can do to make our businesses ready:
- Embrace technology: if your business hasn’t already, then you need to make this a key focus! Be a leader, make sure you’re using the latest tech and you’ll more likely attract the cream of the Millennial crop.
- Reimagine the office: be flexible about where and when work is done. More importantly, shift your thinking towards outcomes from simply time in the office. If you get a better result, does it really matter if you’re staff aren’t at their desk from 8.30-5?
- Adapt your management style: focus on being a coach and a mentor rather than a manager. Its probably a better approach in any case, but it will work a charm with the under 35’s. Be collaborative in how you work together and focus on providing more regular feedback on performance than the once a year review.
Want to know more?
I’ll be posting more on this topic in the next few weeks but for those of you interested, click here for a PDF copy of my presentation.