We know that making sweeping generalizations about any group of people being “lazy,” “unprofessional,” “unreliable,” or “narcissistic” is repugnant. Unless we are talking about the dreaded “M” word, Millennials. But here’s the reality, companies are simply losing by not engaging Millennials in the workplace.
In their paper Too Old or Too Young? The Impact of Perceived Age Discrimination, authors Ed Snape and Tom Redman cite a study which found that “being seen as untrustworthy and being given less responsibility were common” among undergraduate business students. And that is if they are hired at all; experts now cite a hesitancy in employers over hiring younger staff.
It is called Reverse Ageism and it presents a serious hurdle to young talent in your office no matter how capable they actually are.
Reverse Ageism Is a Billion Dollar Problem for Companies
For a mid- to large- sized company, reverse ageism could potentially be costing you millions of dollars, your most productive employees, and ruining your company culture. On average, Millennials stay in a role for 1.3 years, which Gallup estimates costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. That’s a ton of coin.
And money isn’t the only loss for companies. Recruitment costs, onboarding costs, loss of productivity from watching colleagues leave, and lower productivity of new hires all negatively affect a company, its culture and its bottom line. Not to mention these young staff that are leaving are often more productive than senior staff and almost universally less expensive to hire, hurting your bottom line even further.
These are real costs to your company, but they are fixable. They require thought, time, investment and a commitment to emphasizing the strengths of your Millennial staff and helping the five generations working together today to bridge the gaps between them and leverage their unique strengths.
Millennials Have Unique Gifts and Gaps
While it may be true Millennials lack some essential professional skills, they are happier than any other generation to develop and hone their skills given the chance. Gallup found that 87% of Millennials believe “development is important in a job” and development opportunities regularly score higher than pay when Millennials rank the benefits of a job.
The catch is that they know when they are liked, wanted, respected and valued.
Employers who want to put a stop to both the generational tensions in their office and the high turnover rate of Millennials need to take the time to train the enterprise to bridge generational gaps. That process starts with providing Millennials with the training opportunities that develop their professional skills and make them feel that they are valued in the workplace and gives them a sense of progressing as professionals.
We suspect you might even be surprised by what they can do.
Get ahead of reverse ageism in your workplace. Click to learn more about the Lead Inclusively workshop on Generational Inclusiveness: Knowing Your XYZs.
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Dan Negroni is V.P. of Generational Services at Lead Inclusively, Inc. He is a “recovering attorney” and the quintessential next generation business management and talent development consultant and coach solving today’s critical multi-generational issues. Dan leverages his authentic, no-nonsense approach and a successful 20+ year career experiences as a CEO, attorney, senior sales and marketing executive, to help companies bridge the gap between managers and their millennial workforce to increase employee engagement, productivity and profits.