The Weekly is STREAMING now. Join us at HorizonTV

How the 'digital natives' will transform your Building Team

The newest generation to enter the workforce is like no other that has come before it. This cohort is the first to grow up with the Internet, mobile technologies, and an “always connected” lifestyle.

April 25, 2014 |
David Barista

They’ve been called overconfident, entitled, self-absorbed. They generally distrust the government, are largely indifferent about religion, and lean liberal with their social views. They are less trusting of others and less patriotic than their elders. And they have a much different view of the American Dream than others. 

They are the Millennials, 84 million strong, and they are your future employees, customers, and Building Team partners. 

The newest generation to enter the workforce is like no other that has come before it. This cohort is the first to grow up with the Internet, mobile technologies, and an “always connected” lifestyle.

They are relatively unattached to organized political or religious groups and are in no rush to get married or start a family. Their sense of community and belonging are linked principally to social media, mobile communications, and other forms of online networking, like social gaming. They are the “digital natives.” 

This group is entering adulthood with historically high debt levels and a still bleak jobs market—37% of 18-29 year olds are unemployed or out of the workforce. Yet the Millennials remain quite optimistic about their future, more so than the Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and Silent Generation, according to a new Pew Research Center study of 1,821 adults, including 617 Millennials. When asked about America’s future, about half (49%) of Millennials said the country’s best years are ahead, compared to 42% for Gen Xers, 44% for Boomers, and 39% for Silents. 

Generational expert Preston Swincher will host a three-hour workshop on “Connecting to Digital Natives: Leading Through Generations” at BD+C’s 4th annual Under40 Leadership Summit, September 17-19, in New York City. More on the U40 Summit. 

“If you want to motivate the digital natives more effectively in the workplace, you need to understand what they want out of life, what makes them tick,” says generational expert Preston Swincher (PrestonSwincher.com), who consults with businesses on how to better connect with Millennials. He pinpoints some distinguishing traits of the digital natives:

Time is more valuable than money. Millennials, compared with those of previous generations, are waiting longer (five to six years longer, on average) to get married and start a family. That leaves more time to focus on wants and desires (travel, career growth, social impact), rather than needs (buy a house, make more money, etc.). With fewer pressing needs and responsibilities, money plays a lesser role in their lives compared to previous generations at the same age.

“I encourage employers to use time incentives instead of financial incentives,” says Swincher. Flexible schedules, telecommuting, and extended vacation time will likely be more attractive to Millennials than, let’s say, a bonus program. 

They’re entrepreneurs at heart. They’ve grown up in the age of start-ups. They’ve watched teenagers launch and grow companies into billion-dollar enterprises. They’ve seen young entrepreneurs—think PayPal, Square, Groupon, Bitcoin—successfully redefine long-established business models. The American entrepreneurial spirit is burning strong in this group. They crave innovation, and they are much more open to change than their elders.

They covet information and new stimuli. Given their tech-driven upbringing and “share everything” mindset, Millennials have a much quicker response time when it comes to communication and feedback.

David Barista | BD+C Editors
Building Design+Construction
Editorial Director

David Barista is Editorial Director of Building Design+Construction and BDCnetwork.com, properties that combined reach more than 100,000 commercial building professionals, including architects, engineers, contractors, and building owners. David has covered the U.S. construction industry for more than a decade, previously serving as Editor-in-Chief of BD+C, Professional Builder, Custom Builder, and HousingZone.com. He has won numerous editorial awards, including six Jesse H. Neal Awards and multiple honors from the Construction Writers Association and the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

Email: dbarista@sgcmail.com

Related Blogs

Life Fitness says it will sell its exercycles to apartment and condominium property owners.

December 23, 2019 | Multifamily Housing | BD+C Editors
Reconsidering construction robotics, Building Design+Construction

Photo courtesy Construction Robotics

   

December 18, 2019 | BD+C Editors

After decades when experts predicted that robots would become more prevalent on construction sites, it woul...

The Oxford word of the year: climate emergency. Graph sourced from the Oxford Corpus

November 20, 2019 | Sustainable Design and Construction | BD+C Editors

The Oxford Word of the Year 2019 is climate emergency.

ProForm Studio Bike Pro

Reviewer Elyse Betters-Picaro gives high marks to the ProForm Studio Bike Pro ($999) as her best buy for alternatives to Peloton. Photo: ProForm

November 08, 2019 | Multifamily Housing | BD+C Editors

ProForm Studio Bike Pro review.

Oslo opera house and public space

Courtesy Pixabay

November 01, 2019 | Transportation & Parking Facilities | BD+C Editors

Two recent reports (October 2019) explore whether car-free downtowns really work, based on experience in Os...

Peloton bikes at Weinstein Properties, Bexley Triangle Park, Raleigh, NC

Peloton bikes at Weinstein Properties, Bexley Triangle Park, Raleigh, NC. Courtesy Weinstein Properties

   

September 04, 2019 | Multifamily Housing | BD+C Editors

Peloton will no longer sell its bikes to apartment communities.

Suffolk Smart Lab in New York City, 2019 Giants 300 Report, 3 ‘Giant’ AEC market trends for 2019-2020  Photo: J. Michael Worthington, Jr., courtesy Suffolk Construction

The rise of data and data tools, like the Suffolk Smart Lab in New York City (pictured), is leading to more research projects among AEC firms. Photo: J. Michael Worthington, Jr., courtesy Suffolk Construction

  

August 15, 2019 | Giants 300 | BD+C Editors

We’re starting to see a shift toward custom research, thanks in part to the influx of data, data tools, and...

Amenities war no more? Research report explores multifamily market

The skylit 75-foot, three-lane lap pool at Hub, a 54-story rental tower of 750 apartments (150 affordable) in Brooklyn, N.Y., designed by Dattner Architects. Photo: Evan Joseph, courtesy Dattner Architects

July 31, 2019 | Multifamily Housing | BD+C Editors

Multifamily developers show no signs of pulling back on specialty spaces and unique offerings in an effort...

Annual mortgage payment plus property tax per average square foot of housing in US cities.

Source: World Business Chicago

April 30, 2018 | Multifamily Housing | BD+C EditorsRobert Cassidy

It's inaccurate to focus on property taxes as a percentage of home value without acknowledging the actual c...

MIT’s Simmons Hall, designed by Steven Holl

MIT’s Simmons Hall, designed by Steven Holl

January 05, 2018 | Big Data | BD+C EditorsDavid Barista, Editorial Director

At a time when research- and data-based methods are playing a larger role in architecture, there remains a...

Overlay Init