I don’t know what a booming economy is like. I’m not sure that my job is always going to be here. I question my bosses. I’m going to do things on my phone or laptop when I work best, not when you tell me I should work. Yet, I’m goal-oriented, highly educated, driven and the best asset your company would be lucky enough to have. I am an entrepreneur at heart looking for a mentor, so ask for my input. I want to collaborate in the workplace, not be segregated in cubicles. I just turned 30, and I am out to recruit my fellow generation to join my brokerage. I am one of 80 million. I am a millennial.
The millennial generation is the most highly educated and highly driven, as well as the largest, homebuying and selling generation in the history of real estate. Connecting millennial agents with millennial buyers and sellers is my bet (and should be yours) on the future of real estate and my business. I have a determined path and a plan to recruit my generation and I’m executing on it, after all, I’m simply recruiting myself and here’s how you can, too:
1. Invest in technology
The first thing I did when I formed my brokerage was to create everything on the Internet or cloud. My website was my first tool in recruiting my generation. It had to look good, express my culture and have the tools necessary for agents to work efficiently from their smartphone. I chose my website platform not only for the aesthetics of the website, but also for the back-end office. My agents have the ability to do everything from following up with leads, customer management and even store transaction paperwork here on the Web. It caters to my agent’s lifestyle and mine as well.
2. Knock down the walls
Millennials would rather work from a Starbucks than a corporate prison cell, aka cubicles. My $1.5 million bet is on a building that was previously used as a flooring manufacturer’s showroom. There isn’t a wall in the place. After all, millennials are looking for “an employer that offers a ‘democratized’ nontenured workplace, where authority is earned in a collaborative, casual office,” according to Millennial Inc. I put in worktables, not desks, and collaborative stations with couches and high “bar-like” tables, not a conference room. After all, ideas matter more than experience to my generation.
3. Be a shoulder, not a head
The No. 1 reason millennials leave a job is due to their boss. So, I took the word “boss” out of our vocabulary. We are all a team and I am always there as a shoulder to lean on and bounce ideas off. I tend to keep my head at bay, to avoid the feeling of belittling or expressing my superiority. I want my agents to sell real estate; I want them to be monetarily successful; but most of all, I want them to know that I have their back. I am here to help, not influence, and the rest of our team is here to do the same. A collaborative team culture is my brokerage’s biggest asset. Installing the feeling that we are all here building this thing together gives my agents a sense of ownership and pride in what they do. And that is more important to us than the money.
4. Connect with us
More than 75 percent of millennials have created a profile on a social networking site. The first thing I do when I meet an agent or potential agent is to connect with them via Facebook, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn. I want them to not only trust our brand, but also see the personal side to me. I want them to know I am 100 percent for self-expression. My social media feeds aren’t filled with jargon about how great of a real estate person I am — it is filled with pictures of my wife and daughter, my dogs, good food and having fun all over the country. After all, this is what I truly value, and so does my generation. Furthermore, my agents know the best way to get a hold of me is via text message. We view it like our parents view email, but we are sure to get you a response right away via text with nearly all of us “sleeping with (our) cellphones next to the bed.”
5. Get rid of the desk hours
I don’t like to be told when and where I must work and neither does my generation. Our world is connected 24/7 and gone are the hours of 9 to 5. Desk hours in my brokerage are viewed as a resource, not a mandatory solicitation for someone to be in the office because I am too lazy to be there on a Sunday. However, its not hard to find people to work in your office, and you will find yourself looking for more office space if you have a place people want to come to work, as I stated in No. 2. My office is like Starbucks: Come and relax while you get things done. If you don’t want to work from here, fine, go somewhere else that you like to work from. After all, I would rather spend money on attracting the 85 percent of homebuyers who are searching on the Internet than beg someone to show up in an office they don’t want to be in.
There are 80 million of us storming into the workforce and real estate market. We are coming fast and are demanding change. If there is one thing you should know about us, please know this: If we don’t like something in our life, we change it. We aren’t going to “stick with it” because of the name on the wall or the years in business. We have ability, aspiration and ideas; we are merely asking our employer to cultivate them. We have our plethora of education, our priorities straight, and phones in our hands looking for a “retweet,” not a “Legacy Award.” We are the best thing that will ever happen to your business, so hop on board.
What are you doing to capture the mindset of the millennial generation? Please continue the conversation in the comments section below.
Jay Dixon is the managing partner of GQRE, a cutting edge real estate company in Charleston, South Carolina. He focuses on new ideas, concepts and teamwork to grow his business. From Southern California to South Carolina, he is determined to change the way real estate and business is done in America. Check out www.GQRE.com for more information about his team’s ultramodern real estate brokerage.