Spilling the Tea on Millennials

August 08, 2019

This article originally ran in BoardRoom Magazine in the May/June 2019 edition. to subscribe, click here

 Life changes at a rapid rate; the time is now for deep reflection and thought-provoking conversations around attracting new members and employees of the Millennial generation.
How do we:
  • Attract

  • Satisfy

  • Retain

  • Talk to Millennial? – hint: if the article title puzzles you, you have some Millennial research to do (and definitely should register for next week's webinar!

The most logical replacement of an aging membership, the Millennial generation, is snubbing private club membership for a myriad of well-documented reasons. According to Pew Research, Millennial bring more racial and ethnic diversity than generations past, citing 55% of Millennials aged 22 – 35 as non-Hispanic, White, compared to 84% of the Silent Generation at the same age. Life moments come later for Millennials: leaving home, getting married, having children. Their married household tends to be a 50/50 partnership - dual income with shared household and child responsibility. Clubs must embrace how this generation lives and works, not just build amenities in hopes of attracting them.

 What we know about Millennials as customers:
  • Millennials intensely value individuality. Look at companies serving the need for individual preferences as well as trending items such as convenience and customization like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Netflix, Amazon, Stitch Fix and so on.

  • The first generation to grow up with Smartphones, Millennials expect real-time responses and constant access to information. 71% report that the most important thing a business can do is value their time. 25% expect a social media query response within 10 minutes, 30% if they send a text message.

  • Millennials expect high touch and low touch options, such as digital self-service.

  • Self-reliant and tech dependent, Millennials prefer to resolve issues themselves. If that fails, they expect to transition to chat, social media, mobile interaction or a phone call without restating the issue.

  • Millennials want authentic, meaningful, and responsive interactions: in person, on the phone, and online (all modes of communication and social media)

  • Millennials live at a lightening pace, fueled by the speed of innovation. Top business applications noted as important by Millennials are:

  • Live Chat, Chatbots and Mobile Apps

  • Texting and Facebook Messenger

  • Video technology to talk virtually

  • Response from a live person is still important and not going away, but it can’t be the only way to communicate

Attracting and retaining the most talented (Millennial) employees is something only the most successful clubs are able to accomplish. Becoming an employer of choice requires a careful plan with 100% commitment to implementation. Millennials are the largest demographic group in the workforce. Here are some interesting points when putting your human capital plan together.

  • Want to be appreciated.

  • Seek a good working atmosphere even more than financial compensation.

  • 84% care more about making a difference/working for a purpose in the world than about professional recognition.

  • Use technology for more than fun.

  • Value one-on-one interaction and frequent feedback from their manager.

  • Tend to be more collaborative, inclusive and group-oriented. The following generation (Gen Z) is more entrepreneurial, less collaborative and highly individualistic.

  • Value career growth opportunities with 87% noting professional development a critical aspect of choosing jobs.

Other intriguing items to watch either as a trend or emerging innovation that may impact clubs are:

  • A shrinking labor market, rising wages, and low unemployment rates are crippling club operations

  • The gig economy is now competition

  • Boardroom portal technology

  • Virtual training

  • Companies such as Uber Eats, Door Dash, Grub Hub, Air B&B

  • Mainstream social issues

  • The #MeToo and #InviteHer movement

  • Women’s influence in the family and workplace

  • CA requires publicly traded companies in the state to have at least one female board member

  • Rising education costs competing with membership investment as children age

  • Senior care communities attracting club members

  • Robotic and drone technology

  • Self-driving cars

  • Self-service technology/vending options

  • Health, wellness, and food/beverage trends

It’s easy to turn tactical, but be disciplined and tackle the tough issues strategically. Safeguard your club’s future by having a solid strategic plan in place. Otherwise, the club will be in a constant state of responding to issues rather than proactively preparing for them. Short-term solutions usually end up with long-term damages. Get strategic, then work the plan.