By John Salustri
Are older professionals too tough on Millennials? Maybe so. Let’s face it: what we don’t understand we tend to criticize.
As we discussed at the IREM Fall Leadership Conference session “One for the Ages: Generational Impact on Commercial Real Estate,” Millennials are changing the shape of the office and the home; the younger crowd thinks differently than previous generations, embraces a different set of values (such as marrying later and putting off homeownership) and communicates differently, typically with shorthand very foreign to Baby Boomers.
In a recent survey, RETS Associates polled young pros on their career advancement and discovered that even if they’re happy in their current positions, 50 percent said they’re likely to jump ship in three years.
John Combs, CPM, of RiverRock Real Estate Group in Newport Beach, CA, boasts that his retention rate is much higher than that, close to 73 percent among the few Millennials he has on board, and a whopping 93 percent overall.
He’s frank that Millennials “have no loyalty.” He said, “You can’t teach loyalty. That may ruffle some feathers, but it’s the truth. Loyalty doesn’t mean lifetime employment anymore. We saw our parents kill themselves and get laid off. If you saw that you would say, ‘I’m not going to do that.’ ”
Millennials today want a job, and the job you’re offering may sound great, “but then you’ll find after the hire that they really don’t want to do Excel spreadsheets.”
The challenge, he says, is to find how to capture them for the talents they do bring, “because we’re not Apple or Google with big kitchens or rec rooms. What can we do in this industry to keep them?”
That, he says, is the challenge in the management business if we want to hire talented workers, even if their tenure will be shorter than employers would prefer.
Part of the problem might be the need for greater acceptance of the differences in front of us. Combs recently attended a mentoring session for BOMA San Francisco in which the charges of self-interest and lack of loyalty were leveled at the Millennials in the room.
“They laughed,” he said, because they didn’t recognize those traits in themselves and what we think of as the typical Millennial didn’t represent their drive and interest at all. “They said they want to be recognized and appreciated” for the capabilities they bring.
“There are changes taking place, clearly,” says Combs, “and the way the younger generation communicates is just one of the disrupters of how we traditionally did business.”
* John Salustri is the founding editor of GlobeSt.com and a freelance writer and editor. This report is reprinted with permission from the Journal of Property Management.