The SVN Gen Y CRE Report on Attracting Millennial Talent

The Survey Results Are In – Millennial CRE Is Our Future

In the Fall of 2015, Sperry Van Ness International Corp. (SVNIC) surveyed over 325 Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995) in the United States, Canada and South America about careers, specifically asking about commission-based jobs and what they are looking for in future employers. With the oldest members of Generation Y moving into the upper echelons of their respective fields, a discussion about Millennial real estate careers is as timely as ever.

Why You Should Care About Millennials in CRE

The commercial real estate (CRE) industry has been around since small-time businesses first opened their doors; and it will continue to be around as long as there is commerce. Yet, the industry, which was hit hard during the last recession, has an aging employee base. For a full five-year period (2008-2013), commercial real estate was not a lucrative career option for many licensed brokers, and especially not attractive to younger professionals. This means that the CRE industry needs to work harder to attract and cultivate the top talent of tomorrow, or risk an industry brain drain.

The Millennial Commercial Real Estate Career Study conducted by SVNIC (“The SVN® Study”) attempts to answer how an industry led by a majority of white males, many of whom began their careers before the Internet was open to commerce, can attract diverse young men and women. In commercial real estate offices run by Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, the Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are often operating under a completely different paradigm. It’s not just about the technology, but how their access to the world through that technology has changed expectations of what is desirable in a work environment. Millennials are still as ambitious as any generation that came before, but to capture the attention of the best and the brightest, commercial real estate companies need to make a few changes.

Interested? There’s More…

SVNIC COO Diane Danielson summarized the survey findings in this brand new report. Download the entire Millennial CRE Report E-book here.

[bctt tweet=”The CRE industry needs to work harder to attract top talent or risk an industry brain drain.”]

Appreciation Is the Best Motivation

Appreciation Can Be a Better Motivator than Money

I recently read an article in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal titled “It Pays to Give Thanks at the Office.” I was instantly drawn to the title as I was just coming off three days in Dallas attending SVNIC’s inaugural Managing Director Conference. One of our breakout sessions was called “Speed Best Practices — 60 Second Tips from Your Colleagues That You Could Use to Own, Lead and Succeed in Your Business.” There were well over 100 best practices shared from offices all across the country, with topics ranging from how to write a deployment plan to how to motivate a team with sales incentives.

One of my favorite best practices was shared by a Managing Director from NYC. Each week he asks his new to the business CRE brokers for a list of the people who would not take the rookies’ calls. He would then sit down in the open cubes with all the rookies and call that list of people they couldn’t get a meeting with. Role playing and sharing cold call techniques on how to get a meeting gave this team the training they needed. He was able to demonstrate to his young team unique sales and winning phone tactics from a seasoned, CRE industry veteran’s perspective. I like to think that commercial real estate offices today are becoming more diverse and multigenerational, where collaborating and cooperating together like this team is widespread. These rookies thanked and appreciated their Managing Director and the MD thanked them for making the calls. Collaboration and cooperation is the ethos of the SVN culture today.

[bctt tweet=”Collaboration and cooperation is the ethos of the #SVN culture today.”]

So I paused when the article I read in the WSJ quoted “It’s rare to find gratitude around the workplace, but appreciation is an even better motivator than money. Bonuses get spent, titles get old but a thank you lingers…” I would agree 100%. The article also referenced Google amongst other companies today that are setting a new trend because expressions of gratitude are scarce around the workplace. Not at SVN. I am going into my 4th year with SVNIC and some of the biggest reasons I work at here are our people, our leadership, and our culture. Everyone says “thank you” and I see our Managing Directors often thank their employees. It’s a reason to show up every day, it’s a real motivator to give it your all.

The article went on with a few quotes worth mentioning. “A sense of appreciation is the simple, most sustainable motivation at work… the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.” Be specific about what someone has done and “show honest and sincere appreciation.” I have sat with this quote written on an index card for years. I wrote that “quote” down 20 years ago when I participated in the Dale Carnegie Sales Training Course after reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. That book gave me the tools and key principles to practice when interacting with people in business and in life in order to be successful.

Why Would Someone Want to Work at Your Office?

I have a best practice to share – or rather it is more of a call to action for all Managing Directors at SVN and in the CRE industry. Sit down and write on a sheet of paper “Reasons why someone would want to work at your office.” Then hand out a blank sheet and ask your employees to do the same at one of your weekly team meetings. Collect them, they can be anonymous, and then discuss them with your team. Save them and bring them to the next SVN Managing Director Conference or our National Conference in San Diego and share with your peers. You might all learn a new way to show gratitude in your office resulting in employee loyalty and increased sense of appreciation.

I agree that “appreciation is the best motivator.” My work and the value I bring to our team is appreciated and respected at SVNIC. For me, that is the biggest reason I get excited to go to work — thank you everyone at SVN. I know myself and all SVN Advisors are looking to recruit “culturally compatible” CRE professionals who are also looking to work in a fun, positive, motivating and appreciative office environment.

To learn more about the SVN culture, check out our Core Covenants here.


If you’d like to join a winning team, please contact me at Karen.Hurd@svn.com or 781.812.4272 and let’s talk.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness, LLC in Phoenix

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van Ness, LLC in Phoenix, Arizona.

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?

By combining teams of experienced sales and leasing agents specializing in all commercial real estate product types; multifamily, retail, office, industrial and land, the Sperry Van Ness Phoenix office offers full service brokerage to investors, landlords, and tenants in Arizona.

Our sales and leasing agents provide or participate in mentorship and training programs to help build stronger leasing and negotiating skills and work ethic. Our teams pride themselves in working together on all deals, as well as sharing market knowledge and updates on tenants and landlords currently active in the marketplace.

Monthly meetings are held with the entire office to share “Haves and Wants” as well as other leads and relevant market trends. We have recently added a “Best Practices” portion to our meetings in which one of the agents in our office will share and teach a specific strength that they have found to be beneficial to their business (e.g. building and utilizing a CRM database, implementation of marketing through Buildout, cold calling techniques).

We added a marketing and PR support person that has given our office some recent recognition both locally and nationally. We are already working on expanding our market presence and branding via networking events, social media, PR and other digital marketing efforts.  We also take a very active role in civic groups and charitable organizations, and believe this will also play a significant role in our recruiting efforts.

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 

Sponsorships are one of the best ways to bring the team together, as well as get our name out there and help brand our office. Whenever we sponsor an event,  most of our staff comes out to support and share in the experience. So far in 2013, some notable charitable events we have sponsoredhave been the AZCREW Golfiesta Charity Golf Tournament (benefiting Fresh Start and Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women), AWEE Cocktails and Clothes (benefiting Arizona Women’s Education & Employment), and Brokers For Kids (benefiting Boys Hope Girls Hope).

Also, every month, we celebrate office birthdays by inviting the entire office to a casual event, such as a baseball game or happy hour. Since we have such a good group of people, these events are a fun way to get everyone together outside of work in a non business-related environment.

 3. What’s been the biggest challenge in how you run your business over the last few years?

Our biggest challenge was rebuilding the SVN brand in the Phoenix market after taking over from the previous franchise owner. Our partners were able to start fresh by strengthening relationships that had been deteriorating over the previous couple of years. SVN has a proud history in Phoenix going back to the early 1990’s as one of the original corporate offices, and we have been able to re-establish the office as one of the top-producing commercial real estate offices locally.

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 

We had 16 in 2009 and we have 23 in 2013


Sperry Van Ness, LLC   Phoenix, AZ


*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.