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‘Loyal millennial’ doesn’t have to be an oxymoron


Photo by A.

Go ahead -- scoff, if you must. The generation gap is real, and in some finance departments, it's actually widening.

The gap in question is a fundamental difference in work ethics and priorities between millennials -- the youngest members of the workforce -- and their more experienced bosses. That difference is painfully obvious in "What's Wrong With the Kids," an article by CFO magazine's David M. Katz.

Katz quotes one CFO who laments the younger generation's lack of loyalty. ""There's no investment of time or commitment to the company," the CFO said, adding, "This is not the way I was brought up." Responds one millennial:  "I see firms quick to lay off highly qualified employees as soon as there is any sign of a downturn, yet they expect their employees to stick by them. You want loyalty, hire a cocker spaniel."

Can't we all just get along? Sure, writes Katz. All it takes is a little fine-tuning on companies' part. Among other things, millennials want a little positive feedback, a lot of variety in their day-to-day tasks, and a clear-cut career path that leads to personal growth. The company that can provide that is golden.

And Katz has a word of caution for finance chiefs: Look hard in the mirror before accusing your employees of disloyalty. "A 2006 study by Crist Associates of 658 large companies put the average tenure of a Fortune 500 CFO at four-and-a-half years — not exactly a lifetime of service," Katz writes.

How are you addressing the generation gap?


Bill Sheridan