There is a vicious cycle that organizations in today’s 21st-century workforce can’t seem to break.

Executives ask us, “How do we retain young high performers?” Only to defend their current strategy by stating, “We are putting them through programs and giving them what they are asking for.”

Are you? Seems like it’s time to take a look in the mirror.

According to an article from Harvard Business Review, research shows that “young high achievers—30 years old, on average, and with strong academic records, degrees from elite institutions, and international internship experience—are antsy.” In fact, a startling number are engaging in activities like resume building, touching base with search firms, and researching different opportunities to leave.


Our founder and president at Solutions 21, and author of “Gen Y Now: Millennials and the Evolution of Leadership”, Buddy Hobart, explains that we are using 20th-century solutions for a 21st-century workforce.

Think about it.

Most of us grew up in an environment where we witnessed our parents being overlooked for promotions because they were working their way up the ladder. Worthy or not, they had to wait patiently in line behind someone else until it was their “turn.” At the same time, we were busy moving from one thing to the next. Basketball practice, cub scouts, bible study, and band practice made after-school activities the norm. Our schedules were booked solid. We grew accustomed to checking the box and moving on to the next thing at a young age.

Herein lies the question: Why would it be any different in the work environment now that we are older?

It is time to break the cycle. Organizations are failing to retain their young, up-and-coming folks even though we have all the information that is literally telling us what they want because we are running their requests and demands through a 20th-century filter.

If you don’t want to lose your future all-stars, invest in them to stay – not to check a box and leave!