The cost of millennials job hopping

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 Millennial workers

Millennial workers (Anna Lubovedskaya, Getty Images)

He agreed that none of this makes millennials selfish, noting the generation's focus on the environment and community service.

"They were raised working in the homeless shelter and building houses for Habitat for Humanity," Burnett said. "So in terms of their career path, it's all about 'me,' but 'me' wants to do something that goes beyond making me rich."

Clearly companies need to stop paying more than lip service to millennials. And not just to save money by retaining these young workers. The things this generation wants can bring much-needed energy to workplaces that thought they could run forever without change.

Millennials want clear missions, flexibility and opportunities to constantly improve their skills. You know who else would like that? Practically everybody who works!

Rather than cast aspersions on this growing slice of the workforce — saying they're misguided or not loyal — I'd argue to embrace what they stand for and recognize that baby boomers, Generation Xers and everyone else might benefit from a new perspective.

"Millennials are going to be asking the right questions," Schawbel said. "Why is there a 9-to-5 workday. Why are we trying to just make money? Why don't we do something that's greater for civilization? Shouldn't I get rewarded for my performance, not my experience level?"

He said programs put in place to keep millennials happy will have to be available to everyone in a company.

"And you know what?" Schawbel said. "It's going to be good for everyone."

I couldn't agree more.

TALK TO REX: Ask workplace questions — anonymously or by name — and share stories with Rex Huppke at ijustworkhere@tribune.com, like Rex on Facebook at facebook.com/rexworkshere, and find more at chicagotribune.com/ijustworkhere.

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