Property Management & Me

Ep12: A new generation of talent — with Kristin Clulow

October 16, 2023 PropertyMe Season 1 Episode 12
Property Management & Me
Ep12: A new generation of talent — with Kristin Clulow
Show Notes Transcript

"They look for things like purpose and meaning. They want purpose in their job. So, if we're saying "Hey, go and sell a house", well, what's the purpose? What's the meaning behind that? How does that align with my core values?
— Kristin Clulow

This episode features  tips from Kristin Clulow and Kate Sunol from PropertyMe on how to best engage and lead the new generation coming into our workforce.

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Transcript - Kristin Clulow


Kate:  Hi, and welcome to Property Management & Me, a series from PropertyMe, bringing quick tips and insights to support your everyday practice. I'm your host, Kate Sunol, and today I'm joined by Kristen Clulow. Kristen is here to talk on a topic that I could almost guarantee everyone in the industry has been feeling the challenges around, which is recruiting, motivating, and training new staff.


In particular, school leavers potentially transitioning into the industry or traineeships. Kristen has a huge amount of experience. She started her career initially in business management. With a bachelor of business majoring in industrial relations, human resources and management. And she worked in corporate organizations such as PwC.


So has really great business knowledge and acumen. She then transitioned to a Master's of teaching. She's completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and TAFE training and assessment. She's been teaching. Seniors, vet courses, and career counseling for 11 years now. Welcome, Kristen. I'm sure you're hearing this a lot, I'm hearing it quite a lot. There seems to be quite a large generational gap between newer generations coming through the workforce and different trends being noticed around values, attitudes, and motivators. I hear a lot of the time that businesses are struggling to adopt that and find the right style of training.


Can you share a little bit about how you're working with senior students and school leavers at the moment?


Kristen: What I found over the years in teaching is that teachers teach and their teacher subject areas and they do it well, but they're not actually preparing kids for that next stage. And I find that there's this, this huge disjoint between school and work.


And that, you know, as, as teachers, we think, oh, kids will just have these skills to be able to seamlessly go from school into work. But kids just don't.  The concepts that we, we think they have to go into, to jobs. I was lucky growing up in that I had that guidance, but I had parents who could provide that guidance and things were a lot simpler then.


We didn't have the range of choices that we do now. We didn't have the, the world that we do now. Like, the world's changing, the world's so different to what it was 25 years ago, when I first started working. You've got things like, a greater technological presence in the world now. Um, And you've got these greater generational divides that we're seeing, which I'll, I'll touch on.


Kate: What are some of those key differences that you're finding with some of the kids in school today to say 10 years ago when you first started teaching? I'd imagine when you walk in a classroom, the first thought that comes to mind is, how do I get the best out of these students? And essentially that's what we do from a workforce perspective as well, is we get to know our team members and we think, how do we get the best out of them, both for their career and for the business? 


Kristin: I guess, in terms of the biggest differences I'm seeing,  COVID's definitely played a huge impact on this, on the current Gen Z's. I'm seeing a huge rise in mental health, in things like anxiety and depression, even things like loneliness. Um, it's really prevalent with these kids. They then have  The impact of technology, social media.


They also have substance and substance abuse and I'm finding that's quite prominent, things like vaping. Definitely, I, I think it's, it's not one thing, it's more of a concoction of these  things that are happening in their lives. We're living in a society now with Generation Alpha that's coming through where  gender, sexuality, it's not really  really kind of apparent.


It's very gender fluid. So you've got all of these issues with the hormones and we're then going, you need to get in the straight and narrow path and you need to stick with one career.  And they're going, man, I can't even think about a career right now because I've got all this stuff going on. So as a teacher, the first thing I really work on is building a relationship with them.


Because I find that once you've got the relationship there, you've got trust, you've got respect. And then you can build on that.  If kids feel safe with you, they're going to naturally kind of go towards you. And they begin to trust what you're going to say. And it's then I can start imparting that career-based knowledge in them, hey, let's talk about your career. What are you gonna do? How are you gonna do it? What is your passion? Because a lot of these kids want things that they're passionate about. 


One thing I picked up on when talking about like, uh, plonking down the rule handbook, this generation is very visually stimulated. They're very technologically savvy and they will want to watch YouTube or TikTok or something rather than sitting down and reading. With kids in my class, I had to get them to read a book, not one kid wrote it, I gave them the audio book and listened along to that in class whilst reading it. They actually were more inclined to engage in that. They like short snippets of information, not, you know, full day training courses. But, you know, you separate that into smaller half an hour chunks, and they'd probably be more inclined to get stuff out of it. They like different ways of, of learning. For me, I do a lot of visual stuff in class. I'll always have PowerPoints.


I always have, integrated videos and whatnot, always give them choice with their assessments around okay, we can do, say, an essay or a video or a vlog or something because they need that choice because they are actually really creative kids. 


But again, I'm finding a disjoint with stuff like we make them write essays for, you know, 10 years at school. When do you need to write an essay when you're in school? You know, work, you don't need to, but, you know, creating a vlog or a podcast that might actually come in handy. 


Kate: So a huge amount of information there. Thank you for sharing all of that. What I'm understanding, if we break it down and sort of go, what does this mean from a workplace perspective?


Essentially, the first step is really engaging and connecting with them as a person.  Which is very similar to most employees. Absolutely. If you're seeing a lot of turnover early days in, if you're employing a lot of team members and they're just not sticking, there could be a disconnect between building that relationship, becoming relatable and trustworthy, or there could be a disconnect in really guiding them towards this is what I'm going to get out of a career in real estate. These are the skills that I'm going to learn. And this is what I'm going to have to put in to get a hundred percent. So ticking those boxes first, when you're bringing someone into a team and really answering those big questions they have, like, where am I going from here can help to retain them. 


Kristin: Yeah, they’re actually lacking confidence. And I'm not saying we need to like mollycoddle them and write them in cotton wool, but going through COVID and, you know, really being the ones on that rise of technology and having all this stuff going on in their world, they're, they're actually, they lack in confidence, a lot of them. And it may be that employers just need to go, let me explain this to you. Let me show you the right, so let me show you where you're going to end up long term in order for them to actually see that I can have a career in this. And it comes down to just understanding that they're going to have a different mindset to what people of generations previously did. But that doesn't mean that  They can't work and they can't adapt, but they may just need employers to show them the ropes, maybe a little bit more than what they have in the past.


Kate: Applying that to real estate or property management specifically, being a very people-focused industry, so people management, hands-on, problem solving, a lot of common sense needed, how would you provide extra support in Those areas, for example, if they didn't have those skills coming through, how do you teach those hands-on skills?


Is there a right way to do it? Is it different for everyone? Like it's quite a big knowledge gap to try and bridge. 


Kristin: Yeah, I guess it's. It's different for everyone. I see kids that, you know, go out to work at Macca's or Bunnings or Kmart or wherever at 14. And I absolutely love that because it will teach them communication, teamwork, problem solving, cash management, cleaning, the key skills that I need to transfer across.


For me personally, I started working at 14 at Hungry Jack's. And it was the best training I think I've ever had because you've got people there that aren't new school teachers that will tell you how it is. And how to serve people, and how to problem solve, and teaching those life skills for the kids that may not have necessarily have had that work experience.


For me, it comes back again to that relationship piece. Once I've got that, I can start working on. Talk to me, look me like put your phone down, rather than being someone, they dunno going put your phone away. They arc up because they're like, well, who are you to take that off me? Whereas when I've got that relationship there with them, then I can work on those skills with them.


Kate: So if you're looking at someone coming in that didn't have that experience, you've got a great applicant. They haven't had a job before or had any sort of workforce environment experience. Things that might be helpful with bringing them on board could be perhaps a peer to peer mentor so that the learning isn't just always coming from the boss, making sure that the senior staff are really demonstrating and explaining the values that you want to instill.


Explaining through why these things are important rather than just giving an order and focusing on one thing at a time. So mastering one thing and then moving on to the next mastering another thing and then moving on to the next. 


Kristin: Absolutely. 


Kate: What types of questions would you be asking, for example, at an interview stage and what things would you be looking forward to see is this a person that I can help grow? Is this someone who's going to be engaged with this career path and really connect with that journey? 


Kate: I've seen a lot of different companies and interview styles and whatnot. Honestly, I haven't seen a great transition over time. It's still very much the same, come in, let's talk, I'll ask you the, the normal questions, and then we'll progress through.


So, the normal kind of questions I'm seeing are, tell me about yourself, which a lot of kids struggle with. We'll work through all of that, and I'll be like, okay, You can tell me basically what's on your resume, where you go to school, where you've worked, what you like to do in your spare time. What would you want?


Even tell me about your family or what you like to do on the weekends. And the next question that I'll probably ask is tell me what you know about us and the industry and the company. Stumps a lot of kids because They honestly haven't taken the time to understand what industry or company they're going into.


And that's something I'll work with them on. Tell me about this, let's research a company. Is this what you want to do? Strengths and weaknesses, kind of a typical question that gets asked. A lot of kids  Again, we'll, we'll get stumped with that because of their lack of confidence, you know, and it's not in the Australian culture to kind of go, Oh yeah, I'm really good at like communication or conflict resolution.


Kate: So a question like, what's something that you've been proud of in the last couple of years that you've achieved could work? 


Kristin: Yeah. I encourage kids to take in work that they've done, photos of work that they've done. And so I had a kid and I. He went for an interview as an apprentice plant mechanic, and we had probably 25 photos of what he'd done.


I printed them all out, put them in a compendium for him, and I'm like, use this, I shall show and tell. And he went in there and he's like, I've done this and this and this. And they're like, that's amazing. That's exactly what we need. Because through that, he was able to not only show what he'd done, but all those softer skills. Like he was able to communicate with people. You could see him working part of a team. He was able to resolve problems that happened. Often kids can actually do the work, but they can't communicate what they can do and what they're capable of. And I think having something like an ePortfolio where they can do show and tell is really, really important to go in for an interview. 


I often say to kids, tell me a story. Tell me a story of when you worked in a team. Tell me a story of how you communicate with people. And then we know once I've got the story down part, I go, okay, let's talk about the STAR approach. Tell me the situation, the task, the action, the response, because that's what employers want to see is that they can look at a situation, they can work through it, and then here's the response that they can get.


Kate: So summing up. Everything that we've discussed today, a lot of this stuff seems to me like it essentially is industry best practice, but broken down a little bit more. We know that it's great to engage with employees and that you get better results when you have a relationship with them. We know that sometimes breaking down tasks and breaking down steps has better results with learning.


We know that peer to peer mentoring can help sometimes instead of boss to employee instruction, all of these things is exactly what you've outlined for new recruits coming through, but just, I think maybe emphasizing that it's all that much more important in their formative years. 


Kristin: These kids have been isolated through COVID. Those really critical skill building time hasn't been there. Um, and so just like as adults, we went through a lot of changes and we had to adapt to different things. We sort of need to have a bit of grace for generations coming through in that they haven't picked up on those social skills, those problem solving skills of being in and around face to face communities, rather than focusing on it being an attitude problem or a motivation problem, understanding that.


Kids really are motivated. They really are wanting to be learning. They want to be developing. They want to have a long term career. We just need to put some extra supports in there to help them get to that point that we might be expecting from Day Dot. 



Kate: I love that you are a very research based, um, very evidence based based operator and you've prepared some research from McCrindle that sort of gives a bit of a picture of the generation coming through and, uh, the things that motivate and inspire and things that they wanna see out of employment.


Do you mind sharing a little bit of that with us? For those who really want to deep dive into what the research is saying? 


Kristin: I rely heavily on the research of McCrindle. With a lot of my stuff. So I want to openly thank McCrindle for all the ideas that they impart me with, but they look for things like purpose and meaning.


They want purpose in their job. So if I say going, Hey, go and sell a house. Well, what's the purpose? What's the meaning behind that? How does that align with my core values? They want to make connections with people in their work. They want that social interaction. They want to make a positive impact. So be it on their world, on the people they work with.


They want flexibility with what they're doing. So it could be working from the office one or two days a week, but having that ability to work from home or, you know, have their laptop, have their tech and go on the road and do things. They want to be remunerated well, but they're not, they're not stupid in that they think they're going to walk into a hundred grand a year job.


But what we're also seeing is a rise in the entrepreneurship and the side hustle in that they're going to have multiple income streams. We're seeing more decline in that nine to five with them, but we're seeing Yet the ability to multitask and have several income streams because they still hold that grand dream of wanting to own their own home one day, but they're seeing the rise in the cost of living and going, how can I use this to my advantage and how can I work smarter, but not necessarily harder.


But that being said, they don't have a poor work ethic. It's definitely not something I'm seeing with them. They just work differently and their brains work differently. So. A few different things I've got here is that they're actually going to comprise a third of the workforce within a decade. So we need to understand them.


They're expected to have 18 jobs across six different industries in their lifetime. They're very concentrated on transferable skills. They, they might actually retrain because they want to go into different industries. They don't have a lack of loyalty or a poor work ethic, but they're responding to a change in society and changing times where they see they don't have job security, there's a very competitive work environment, and they don't have a guarantee of Employment if the economy downturns.


So it is not that they're, they're wanting to jump because statistics are showing us that even if they want to jump, they're less likely to actually make that jump in reality. But they are very, very conscious of what the world's doing and that they need to be agile and they need to adapt to what the economy is like.


So if the property market is downturn, they see that they're not gonna possibly be able to meet their bills. So, where else can I go with those skills? ​