It is Time to Start Talking about Millennial Loyalty

buffalo halfFirst off, where did the summer go? It is already Labor Day Weekend and I feel like I was just running the Buffalo Half Marathon over Memorial Day Weekend. It is pretty crazy how time flies.

This summer was filled with amazing memories including Brian and I buying our first house together, a vacation to remember with my family, and weekend trips to visit family and friends. It was everything a summer should be.

And now it is time to look forward and on to what is happening through the end of the year. Can you believe it Christmas is just about 4 months away? I know very scary thought, but I did buy my first Christmas present already. I am not crazy, it’s only one!

As part of my summer reading list, I have been tackling the book: Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw. We are reading the book as part of iGen, the resource group I help lead within the bank. The book is a very fast read with relevant examples that touch all of the generations in the workforce right now. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling with multi-generational relationships whether in work, school, or personal life.sticking points

The author is very quick to point out when the chapters are millennial-focused and that is because they are the newest generation in the workforce that everyone is still trying to understand. But Shaw also points out that every generation once was new and was disrupting the way things had always been done. Millennials are no different but other generations tend to forget.

buffalo half marathonOne of the points that is top of mind for me is Loyalty. As any reader of my blog will know, I am very passionate about my generation not being stereotyped. I hate when people assume all millennials are the same. They also make assumptions that we as a whole group want to job hop and will never be loyal to one company. I don’t think this is the case at all. I think our generation would love to stay loyal to one company; however, we have a lot of factors working against us.

The Reality

Long gone are the days of pensions in most businesses. I work for an organization that has seen incredible returns on its stock in the last 30+ years – but we live in a time when the market is uncertain. My generation has seen the market crash, many of us looking back and wishing we had taken advantage. We have seen incredible progress in our country but we have also seen people squander it away. We have seen the worst in people with the attacks of 9/11, Orlando, Paris, and too many others to count. We are living through a political nightmare during this presidential race where our country has become an ongoing joke for the rest of the world.

But worst of all, we live in a world where our colleges post average graduation salaries and how much their students are making at different intervals throughout their career. We are competitive and overeducated. We have also been told that by staying in one place for too long, you are leaving wealth on the table. It is a scary reality to be told if you are loyal to one company your entire career – you will leave 50% of your lifetime wealth on the table. Unfortunately, nothing is being done to fight that statistic. It is hard for most of my generation to turn down a lifetime having 50% more security especially when housing prices are going up, student loan debt is at record highs, and the cost of living is not going down.

Even in a city like Buffalo where compared to a city like NYC the cost of living is “cheap”. It is not as “cheap” as it once was. I am so glad I bought my house when I did because the housing marketing is extremely competitive and expected to increase 30% more by next year.

So loyalty for the millennials is not about wanting to leave a company but often times need. They may say you should never leave a job for money but with a highly competitive generation on the rise, when one finds out what one person with the same background is making, it can get interesting. And with a generation that shares information all the time, salary has become a non-taboo subject which will be interesting to see how this plays out amongst the other generations in the workforce who do not talk about salary openly.

Needless to say, I am excited to see what comes out of our discussion in the next few weeks. And the progress that my organization can make towards having the 4 generations working together to make an even more incredible organization that I am proud to work for.

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