Is GenX (individuals born between 1963 and 1980) too much of an outlier demographic to plan your future real estate brokerage recruiting goals around? I don't know the answer to this and will shamelessly dodge this question. For this post I'm focusing on the nexus between Millenials (individuals born between 1981 and 2000 which are also defined as "Gen Y" and "Generation Next") and Boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1962).
Recruiting is generally one of the top two or three most important goals a brokerage has to remain profitable. This has been covered in a variety of forums:
And after reading Generation Blend, Managing Across the Technology Age Gap, I'll add my two cents to the mix. According to the author, Rob Salkowitz, the book is "about people, generations, and the transformative impact of new ways of communicating, collaborating, and managing information." The book, indeed, is a great read and includes some really good summary stats about the convergence across generations as well as actionable advice. What's surprising is that Salkowitz points to many statistics and characteristics that Millenials and Boomers share. Here are some salient tidbits taken from a "Generational Workstyle Matrix" (pp. 58 - 60) Salkowitz put together:
Motivation - Why they work
Boomer: (a) gain status through achievement, (b) make a personal impact, (c) save for impending retirement
Millennial: (a) make a social impact, (b) satisfy high expectations, (c) learning and personal development
Trust and transparency
Boomer: (a) trusts philosophies and ideologies but not institutions, (b) expects that commitments will be honored
Millennial: trusts parents, teachers, and guiding figures, (b) sees popularity as validation, (c) wants to hear the big picture
Collaboration and autonomy
Boomer: (a) peer consensus valued, (b) smooth team dynamics prioritized over efficiency
Millennial: (a) collaborative by nature, (b) values networks as problem-solving tool
Boomer: (a) Workaholic legacy, but now seeking more balance, (b) reluctant to forgo status conferred by work; wants to stay relevant and active, (c) may have increasing responsibilities to children, aging parents, grandchildren
Millennial: (a) accustomed to multitasking; work is just one more thing to fit into the schedule, (b) looks for work opportunities that advance personal development goals and social values
Let's assume a brokerage wants to recruit young new talent to its firm and groom and train this new talent to align them with the firm's culture (ala a Zappos-like mentality). Let's further assume that the firm targets a 25 to 28 year old age group. Using the insights from the Generational Workstyle Matrix, this firm could create the following infrastructure and culture that would appeal to their targeted age group by implementing the following:
Knowing that their Boomer agents may be craving worklife/balance the firm could "recruit" a team of these agents to mentor the new hires while taking the pressure off their sales goals; perhaps compensating these mentors with a flat salary combined with traditional agency commission structure. This allows the Boomer agents to stay "relevant and active", gives them certain status within the firm, frees them up to manage personal matters, and gives them a bit of income stability. Reciprocally, having a group of mentors meets the "trust" needs of the Millennial new hires while giving them a team that by its nature would be collaborative and focused on fostering Millennial learning and personal development goals.
Additionally, the mentor team would function as a ready "network" for problem-solving. The firm could go further and create a specific social network (a Facebook page or Ning.com powered site, for example) focused on this recruiting team where each mentor maintains a presence, thus, integrating their presence into the Millennial new hire's existing social networking stream. The firm could also institute clearly defined goals and milestones so as to give Boomer mentors a stake in defining the firm culture and legacy going forward (thus allowing them to define an ideology through their participation in the mentor program) while giving the Millennial new hires a sense of the big picture and how they fit into it. Finally, as part of this mentor-mentee network, the firm could offer a couple of firm-sponsored social causes for which Millennial new hires could volunteer; doing so creates a positive public relations message for the firm while fulfilling the Millennial goal of making a social impact.
This is just one idea stemming from the Generation Blend book. I encourage you to get a copy of this book and develop generational strategies that will make a positive future impact on your business.