Are you having trouble connecting to the younger members of your staff? Do you feel like your first year analysts are speaking another language? Are you struggling to find ways to make them less whiney? Great news! There are now hundreds of people willing to let you pay them thousands of dollars an hour to tell you workers born in the '80s and '90s want to work less, eat free food more, and not check voicemail.
Millennial issues also have become a source of income for a host of self-anointed experts who say they can interpret young workers’ whims and aspirations—sometimes for as much as $20,000 an hour. Oracle, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s HBO have retained millennial advisers to stem turnover, market to young people and ensure their happiness at work. “There is somewhat of a disconnect between young people, their hopes, goals and expectations, and what companies think young people want,” said Ms. Pollak, who has advised Estée Lauder Cos., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. “I see my role as a translator.” Intergenerational consulting barely existed a few years ago, but these are boom times. Source Global Research, which tracks the consulting market, estimates that U.S. organizations spent between $60 million to $70 million on generational consulting last year. More than 400 LinkedIn users globally list themselves as a “millennial expert” or “millennial consultant.”
Okay, ready to understand your junior employees on an entirely new level?
Sometimes, managing millennials boils down to letting them work fewer hours—something employees of any age would like. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers hired Dan Schawbel, 32, to help stem turnover among young workers. Mr. Schawbel, a partner and research director at Future Workplace, an executive-development firm, said he advised managers at the Greenwood Village, Colo., burger chain to let corporate employees set flexible schedules. The company now allows corporate employees to take Friday afternoons off, and banned Friday meetings, said Cathy Cooney, senior vice president and human-resources director. Mr. Schawbel said he also advised Red Robin to make its executives more visible. Chief Executive Stephen Carley now brings doughnuts or bagels into the office at least once a quarter and personally hands them out to employees, Ms. Cooney said.