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Multi-Generational Workforce Evolving Commercial Real Estate

By December 4, 2019RETS Blog

Commercial real estate companies with strong in-place leadership understand that every generation of professionals has different needs and behaviors, each requiring a customized management style and approach. Recognizing this is key to a successful retention program, in addition to fostering an inclusive culture, for all real estate companies alike. 

Companies are beginning to face a tricky balancing act to accommodate not only Millennials and Gen Z, but Baby Boomers and Gen X workers too. As the workforce becomes more and more multi-generational with the new entrance of Gen Z to the industry, companies need to take a much more diverse approach to thinking about an office environment.  The new goal and challenge is to create an office environment and company culture that caters to each generation across multiple work styles and functions. Different generations have different approaches to life and work, sometimes even opposing preferences.  

Flexible Workplace 

One major aspect of this evolution is the demand for a more balanced workplace, with the recent emphasis on work/life balance, desire for flexible work schedules, and rise in remote work environments. Real estate companies need to look at these trends when examining their entire benefits package and may need to make some adjustments in order to retain their competitive advantage. In addition, we also see an increasing trend in company’s attitude toward social responsibility initiatives (for example, the rise of LEED in real estate and other charitable causes). CRE companies should pay attention to these trends on what prospective employees care about, specifically what these candidates are looking for in their future workplaces, so that they can effectively communicate and market them in order to attract the best talent.  

Building a Balanced Team  

The commercial real estate companies that find the balance between what ALL employees want and what your company needs are the ones that will be able to sustain their competitive advantage in the long run. Just as younger generations get credit for bringing tech-savvy knowledge to an organization, older generations bring wisdom and vision from rich experiences and perspectives.  

This balance of a multi-generational workforce provides distinct advantages, as different generations bring valuable insights and skill sets to the workplace. Companies that are able effectively foster this diversity will have an advantage over their competitors.  Thus, building these strong relationships between generations within the company culture can be a major driver of success 

Variety in the Workplace 

The arrival of Millennials in the workplace a decade ago, coinciding with technology advances, enabled greater mobility and flexibility. This trend has rapidly taken off across all industries as employers prepare for the influx of Gen Z. For example, employers can offer a variety of work style preferences, by offering space for a quiet focused workplace as well as offering team breakout rooms. Different generations tend to value different communication styles, team structures, office layouts and job perks. Understanding what people value and what motivates them makes it much easier for companies to communicate job expectations and offer the right support in the office.  

Creating a Well-Rounded Culture 

It’s important to understand generational perceptions within CRE and work to create a culture that favors every generation. Tapping into the benefits of generational diversity requires real estate companies to establish and promote a culture of inclusivity in your organization. Every generation brings something unique to the workplace, and by leveraging each generation’s strength, you can create a well-rounded team. For example, Gen Z and Millennials bring their superb tech skills; Boomers bring their leadership and Gen X brings their work ethic 

Ultimately, to attract and retain a multi-generational workforce, companies are implementing programs and technologies, flexible workplaces, and evolving work environments. As the workplace continues to keep evolving as different generations flood the industry, more and more CRE companies will inherit these values into their office culture. Understanding who these employees are, what motivates them, and how they prefer to work can allow real estate companies to make the right investments to attract the best talent. 



Kristen Shryock, Director, About Kristen

The RETS Team brings a deep, strategic understanding of the real estate industry to your recruitment needs. Click here for more insights & tips.