9 Tips to Help Young Facilities Managers Thrive in the Workforce: BOMA 2019

06/26/2019 | By Adrian Thompson

More than one session at BOMA 2019 addressed emerging professionals, particularly millennials, who are assuming leadership roles in and beginning to enter the property and facility management industry. We know this generation looks for things like growth opportunities, trust and support in the companies they join.

Mason Bodie, senior property manager at Stream Realty and BOMA panel participant, said it’s becoming more difficult for millennials to move up in part because senior leaders aren’t retiring as early. “Sometimes younger professionals become frustrated because they want to grow and better themselves,” he stated.

So how can employers retain this younger generation and help support these professionals as they move up the career ladder? Knowing so will help ensure a smoother transition from one generation to the next.

Mentoring Millennials 101

Bodie and other panelists tackled this growth issue during the panel discussion “Attract and Retain Talent: Hear Directly from Emerging Professionals.” The participants involved are currently young property management professionals who used their personal experiences to define the challenges and trends millennials are seeing in the industry today.

Speakers from left to right: Emily Hossellman, Mason Bodie, Amanda Davis, Erin Dayanan, Theotto Lillard
(Photo: Panel Left to Right: Emily Hossellman; Mason Bodie; Amanda Davis; Erin Dayanan; Theotto Lillard. Credit: Janelle Penny)

Theotto Lillard, a property manager for Hubbell Realty who was on the panel, noted that knowing what millennials want out of working for a company and how it can support them is a key way for companies to recruit them. Once recruited, however, many millennials are incentivized by new challenges and rewards—things experienced coworkers and senior leadership can provide.

[More from BOMA: 10 Ways Women Can Climb the CRE Ladder]

Panel participant Erin Dayanan, vice president of property management at Pacific Property Group, offered five tips to mentor and help millennials thrive once they get to work:

1. Create the opportunity: If you see someone thriving who has potential, invite them to coffee.

2. Create meaningful connections: Connect not out of obligation but because you want the young professional to succeed. Your mentorship should include two-way conversations.

3. Get to know them: Understand their values, which are an indicator of how the mentorship relationship can be structured and get to know them on a personal level to understand them better.

4. Keep the relationship alive: Be open to different modes of communication, such as texting, social media or video conferencing.

5. Be a friend, not a parent: When your mentee shares ideas, listen to their approach instead of defaulting to “that hasn’t worked in the past” or “that’s not how we do things.” Offer constructive feedback, allowing them to make their own successes and mistakes.

Create an Emerging Professionals Committee

One of the most difficult things millennials face today is gaining experience in the field. Melanie Bellinger, vice chair of BOMA International’s Emerging Professionals Committee, and Cristalle Bozarth, executive director of BOMA/Metropolitan Kansas City, believe that creating an emerging professionals committee can be a great way for young people to increase their knowledge and network with others in the industry.  

[Related: 5 Things Millennials Want From Their Employers]

They shared useful tips from a detailed toolkit they created with young attendees. The tips are aimed at empowering young professionals to start professional committees within their own local BOMA organizations:

  • Define “​emerging professional.” BOMA International’s definition is 35 years of age or younger and seven or fewer years of experience in commercial real estate. Different chapters may raise the age or experience limit to bring in more people.

  • Develop a mission statement that lays out the focus of the committee. You may decide to focus more on networking or on educational opportunities, for example.

  • Start organizing events. Start with one or two a year and work up to quarterly or monthly events as the committee becomes more established.

  • Secure financial support. Try to keep the ticket cost for events low (or free) so more people can attend. Choose free or inexpensive venues for your events and seek sponsorships to cover the rest of the cost.

Millennials are poised to fill a majority of positions in the buildings and facility management industry in the coming years. They are eager to make an impact and connect early in their careers.

Talk with them. Let them know about available opportunities and support their local professional committees to help ensure the next generation of leaders will thrive as they enter the workforce. Nurturing these relationships early on will not only help you continue your legacy of leadership, but the legacy of your facility or building as well.

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