People working in a nonprofit office.
Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman—Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
By Michal Addady
May 18, 2016

Large companies are confused by millennials, and they’re willing to pay big money to try to understand them.

Intergenerational consulting, a business that barely existed just a few years ago, has had a meteoric rise. As the Wall Street Journal reports, people who were born in the 1980s and 1990s now comprise the largest portion of the nation’s workforce, so executives turn to so-called “millennial experts” to learn more about them.

These intergenerational consultants are hired by companies like Goldman Sachs (gs), Coca-Cola (ko), Oracle (oclcf), and countless others. They earn as much as $20,000 an hour to teach managers and executives how to effectively communicate with millennial-age employees, and how to keep them happy and engaged in the workplace. According to consulting market tracker Source Global Research, U.S. companies allocated between $60 million and $70 million last year to this cause.

“There is somewhat of a disconnect between young people, their hopes, goals and expectations, and what companies think young people want,” 41-year-old millennial expert Lindsey Pollak told the Journal. “I see my role as a translator.”

 

Lisa McLeod, a 52-year-old millennial expert, charges $25,000 per talk. You can kick in an extra $5,000 if you want to see her interact with a real-life millennial, her 23-year-old daughter Elizabeth.

These experts suggest tactics as simple as food, movie outings, and team-building activities. “Oracle makes a ton of money and free food is small peanuts,” Oracle manager Shasank Chavan told the Journal. It’s a small price to pay to keep employees happy and more productive, ultimately benefitting the bottom line.

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