It was some time coming, but technology has taken up residence at the heart of the CRE industry, and it can serve us well, both as a vehicle for productivity and as a way to attract and retain the best and brightest in our field.  Apps and platforms specifically for real estate are the fastest growing segment of the startup culture, providing new ways to manage everything from transactions to marketing to project funding. These tools enable us to provide a level of customer service that was never possible before, and to create and maintain connections unimaginable even 10 years ago.All of the tools that are available have one value in common: they enhance our ability to connect and share information more efficiently.  This is essential for success in our industry, where having the information our clients and peers need at our fingertips gives us an edge.  An office that incorporates technology into its operations sets its people up for success.

The employees you’re looking for know this. They’re also likely coming primarily from the Millennial generation, which already makes up 30% of the population comprises more than 50% of the U.S. workforce.   As the first generation that doesn’t remember a world without the Web, this demographic is very much attached to technology.  They’re primed to make use of any digital tools available to improve their performance and just make life easier.

There are other characteristics of Millennials that influence how they view technology, and what really makes it work for them. This generation values personal connections and collaborative work. They appreciate a team atmosphere and want to feel like they’re contributing to a common goal.  They appreciate feedback, autonomy and choice. Millennials want to know what their managers and co-workers are thinking, and what’s going on around them at work. They expect 24/7 access to information that is relevant to their work, and thrive on a social exchange of ideas.

To meet this need for connection, simply providing the latest digital tools is not enough. Along with technology, there has to be a company culture that is inclusive, positive, and as transparent as possible. Communication is key to realizing the potential of any technology tool for creating an office where productive people want to work. Keep everyone in the loop with quarterly reports to show what the company is doing well –or where there is more work to do.  No one can contribute if they don’t know what needs doing. Knowledge is power, as they say, and empowered employees feel greater satisfaction and fulfillment in their work.  Those are people who will stick around, because they care about what's going on in the firm.

So by all means, keep up to date on the best technology to give your company an edge, but don’t neglect the human side. Create a collaborative community to attract top-notch employees who are truly invested in the success of the company. And, don’t forget the importance of combining the tech-savvy love of Millennials with the experience and wisdom of the Boomers. These experience and knowledge sets - when combined - are invaluable for an organization. Then let them engage with the company culture and feel that they’re part of a larger effort to keep them there.