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Young successful business man at homeMillennials—people born in the late 1980s to 1990s, and currently in their early to mid-20s—are now coming into their own. Many are paying off student debt, saving to buy a home and beginning families. Over the next two decades, they will shape the country’s workforce and will be the real estate industry’s most influential demographic. Any business can, and should, take cues from this generation on how to stay relevant.

Here are a few characteristics to consider about Millennials:

  • Optimism: Generally speaking, Millennials have grown up with parents who shelled out constant admiration. From this, they built a healthy dose of optimism, because every decision they made was followed with praise. While incorporating this in every part of your business isn’t feasible, seeing the glass as half full could boost employee morale. When leadership and management feel good about a major decision or change, employees are likely to follow and, more importantly, likely to share via social media, which leads us to our next point.
  • Communication: In addition to receiving copious amounts of praise throughout childhood, Millennials are also used to sending and receiving tons of communication messages—both electronic and in person. They also largely prefer text messages, emails and tweets over phone calls and in-person chats. In your business, begin to value quick exchanges via chat or email, and recognize the potential a well-written tweet could have on your bottom line. Foster an environment where real-time engagement via social media is encouraged.
  • Tech savvy: Personal computers became standard in homes while many Millennials were still in grade school. They are comfortable adapting to new technological advances, and are able to pick up new strategies with relative ease. In your business, not keeping up with technology could severely limit your reach. You must be open to trying new forms of technology that have the potential to streamline old processes. If your customers are changing with the times, this is a good way to stay one step ahead of them. However, there is a misconception about Millennials being “tech-savvy” when what they really are, is “mobile-savvy.” They do everything and expect to do everything from their mobile devices, but ask them to give you a budget forecast in an excel spreadsheet, and you might expect to get a confused look in return. This just means that the definition of “tech-savvy” has changed for Millennials and your idea is probably very different from theirs.
  • Family oriented: In contrast from their overworked parents (Baby Boomers), many Millennials will prioritize a work-life balance. This doesn’t mean you should let your employees work as few hours as they want, but you may want to analyze how much overtime you require or encourage. Are promotions only given to the person who works a 60 hour week? If so, you may want to rethink how you reward work, and help your employees keep that balance. This also creates a common misnomer about Millennials which is that they need to be “virtual” and will not come in to the office. The reality is this demographic grew up accustomed to the “mommy and me” playgroups, so they enjoy the group environment as long as it is fun and worth their time.

By incorporating these principles, you’ll be able to attract Millennials, and move your business forward with ease.

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