Calling someone a millennial is just as enjoyable as someone calling me a baby boomer. Placing your employees in generational buckets is not particularly helpful to your financial institution. In credit departments, I know “rock star” and “sloth” employees, both millennials and baby boomers. The topic is really more about the quality of employees. It’s not an age thing. It’s a performance thing. It’s an attitude thing.

Attracting young bank talent has been a challenge and continues to be. Perceived differences between the groups is highlighted in Bridges over Ladders, a book by Kent Wessinger, PhD. A survey of millennials described themselves as innovative, creative, smart, passionate, progressive and optimistic. Baby Boomers/Generation X disagree and label them entitled, lazy, selfish, unreliable, irresponsible and spoiled.

Why it matters. Dr. Wessinger’s research points out that millennials will be the largest workforce population on the planet, highest annual purchasing power ever, the recipients of the greatest transfer of wealth and most educated demographic ever recorded. To remain competitive, your financial institution will be lending money and hiring this group. So navigating the perceived differences is key.

For your financial institution, hiring and more importantly keeping, top young talent comes down to giving them a voice. Allow them to participate, adding to the conversation, which provides meaning for their work. Tap into their purpose-driven creative attitude. Otherwise they’re off to the next thing 18 months later if they don’t see the point of what they’re doing. The cost of turnover (including training the new person) ranges from $35,000-$50,000 per employee.

Providing technology, such as appraisal and vendor management workflow platform, attracts and ultimately keeps younger talent, as it frees up substantive time to perform other duties. Conflict will give way to transparency of the lending process, while still addressing risk management best practices.