At a recent meeting attended by the heads of several of Dallas’ commercial brokerage companies, we were discussing reasons why more college graduates aren’t looking at commercial real estate as a long-term career, because the traits this generation possesses are incredibly adaptable to real estate.
That led to an interesting discussion about Millennials (Gen Y) and their unique skills:
• They have financial smarts and are tech savvy.
• Work-life balance isn’t just a buzz word. The millennium generation has been brought up in the most child-centered generation ever. They’ve been programmed and nurtured since childhood.
• Change, change, change. Generation Y-ers don’t expect to stay in a job, or even a career, for too long. They’ve seen the scandals that imploded Enron and Arthur Andersen, and they’re skeptical when it comes to such concepts as employee loyalty. They don’t like to stay too long on any one assignment.
• This is a generation of multitaskers.
I recently read an article—“Employee Loyalty is Dead. Good Riddance.”—on CBS’ Interactive Business Network (BNET) site. It linked to an irate email from entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis, to a job-hopping young employee, in which the entrepreneur blames fickle Gen Y for America’s decline. The comments section quickly filled up, informing Calacanis that his expectation of loyalty is outdated.
Layoffs, an increase in unpaid internships, and a general sense that companies are only looking out for executives and shareholders and not employees, has contributed to a sentiment summed up by one comment: “There is no reason for any employee to be loyal to any company.”
Another blogger wrote: “Trust in corporations was traditionally constructed in this way: The individual was loyal. The institution protected and cared for the individual. … And the corporation promised long-term opportunities and enhanced rewards for those who stayed. In truth, we have been chipping away at one side of this relationship for decades, certainly since extensive layoffs began in the early 1980s. It’s time to acknowledge that the old equation—the one in which we trusted—is gone. It won’t come back.”
If that is the case, then what will be the long-term impact on employee satisfaction/loyalty and profitability? Does this make the old adage true: “If you want loyalty, get a dog.”
Many 20-something employees have never lived in an employee-loyal work culture, instead operating with self-interest, where the employee must keep his eyes open to new opportunity in and out of the company and must also remain aware that the company’s self interest may move in a different direction.
So, what are some causes of poor employee satisfaction and loyalty today?
• Fear surrounding job loss and job-insecurity.
• Survivor guilt, also called “layoff survivor syndrome.”
• Fear that jobs will be outsourced either nearshore or offshore. Latin America has become a protagonist in the new world scenario. Latin American leaders are working hard to get important foreign investment, with the hope that development will transform its society. And they are luring away U.S. jobs. Employers in Latin American locations can tap into pools of talent that have a high degree of familiarity with North American culture and lifestyle, as well as bilingual capability.
• The pressure and global challenge for employers to find the right talent in order to remain competitive. For example, India is the world leader in graduating English language engineering students. This translates into a very analytical talent pool capable of troubleshooting, identifying operational efficiencies and driving continuous improvement.
Loyal workers stay at their companies longer, about three times longer. Turnover is expensive—as much as 150 percent of an employee’s annual salary. So keeping workers longer can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Add in a loss of productivity and reduced customer satisfaction that accompanies turnover, and you start to see the real cost of employee dissatisfaction.
Employee satisfaction leads to employee loyalty, employee loyalty leads to customer satisfaction, customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty, customer loyalty leads to greater profits.
The unmistakable conclusion: Employee loyalty leads to employer profitability. Poor employee loyalty can reduce revenue while also raising costs. It’s something for employers to think about.
Susan Arledge is president of Arledge Partners Real Estate. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.