Industry Trends: Talent Management in a Multi-Generational Workforce

Talent Management in a Multi-Generational Workforce | Baker Hill

Just about a year ago, the U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates revealing Millennials overtook the Baby Boomers as America’s largest living generation. In fact, within the next three years, Millennials are expected to comprise at least half of the American workforce.

Yes, I’m one of those “Millennials,” but Boomers, please bear with me for just a minute – I can assure you I’ll get a few good licks in on your behalf.  Fellow “Gen Y’er,” Hannah Ubl of Bridgeworks – a generational Consulting firm headquartered in Minneapolis, addressed the elephant in the room in one of her recent blog posts, “‘Millennial’ is synonymous with: entitled, lazy, narcissistic, sensitive, impatient workers who are the-worst-generation-to-work-with-of-all-time-ever. Oh and also, they’re obsessed with craft beer and their parents.” Hannah, you forgot about our need for instant gratification, our inseparable attachment to our smartphones, tablets, hash-tags, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Now that we got that out of the way, I’d like to set the generalizations and perceptions aside and discuss a critical issue that financial institutions of all sizes across the U.S. can agree upon. Attracting and retaining top talent represents an absolute business imperative for banks and credit unions to achieve their short and long-term strategic objectives. The financial services sector is already in the midst of serious talent supply issues and will continue to operate in these headwinds as Boomers continue to retire (or contemplate doing so within the next several years). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a labor shortage of more than 35 million by 2030. Of course, Gen X alone will not be sufficient in shoring up labor shortfall. Speaking from personal experience, I can assure you that banks don’t want to engage in the highly complex (and costly) game of “whack-a-mole,” where for every new hire made, two existing employees burn and churn. Moreover, retention and recruiting are highly correlated, as retention becomes infinitely more difficult when prospective job candidates find out the revolving doors are still spinning with people pursuing other opportunities.

The 2016 Bank Director Compensation Survey further reinforces the severity around the aforementioned challenges for the industry:

  • Just over one-third of respondents indicated although they are actively engaged in seeking millennial employees (ages 18-34); they are facing key challenges in attracting younger talent.
    • Out of these respondents that indicated challenges in their initiatives, FI’s cited the fact they believe: Millennials are not interested in careers in banking; their culture is too traditional; or compensation programs don’t align with millennial’s interests.
  • Only one-third of respondents actually have a defined and satisfactory program in place to attract millennials.
  • 40% of respondents revealed significant difficulty in recruiting Commercial Bankers.

Stay tuned for future blog posts around this subject, which will address:

  • Potential solutions/initiatives financial institutions are pursing to address the generational gap. These efforts create a “retention culture,” with a focus on both younger talent and engagement/retention of Gen X and Boomers.
  • Key differences and similarities among the members of our multi-generational workforce.
  • How we can open communication channels, find common ground (despite generation), and avoid generational issues within the workforce.
  • Tactical/solution based recommendations that your financial institutions can employ to become more tolerant of our differences, enhance collaboration, and leverage our vastly diverse skill sets for the betterment of the team, our clients, and of course, our organizations.

Topics: industry trends