People from this generation, born between 1980 and 1996, move from company to company at the drop of a hat.

What is it with this fickle behavior?

At the very least it points to a lack of loyalty and maybe a lack of resilience.

But it’s not that simple.

In Why Millennials Keep Dumping You: An Open Letter to Management, sales leadership consultant and keynote speaker Lisa McLeod and her daughter, Elizabeth McLeod, join forces to explain why top-performing millennials don’t stick around.

One of them being a millennial, the letter to management doesn’t shy away from the stereotypes about millennials:

  • we never settle down;
  • we’re drowning in debt for useless degrees;
  • we refuse to put our phones away; and
  • we will have money for lattes at the expense of paying the water bill.

But, pointing to our sometimes irresponsible spending and fear of interpersonal commitment isn’t going to solve your problem. You still need us, the writers add.

Citing a wide range of job experiences with good and bad bosses and watching colleagues quit and also quitting few times, the writers go on to explain what’s really behind all those resignation letters.

1. Companies tolerate low-performance

High achievers lose momentum when those around them are just marking time and nothing gets done about it.

2. ROI is not enough

ROI, cash flow and the bottom line is not inspirational. “You say I’ll get a raise in a year if the company hits a certain number? So what? I need something to care about today. Talk to me about how we make a difference, not your ROI report.”

The fact is, organizations with a purpose bigger than money have a growth rate triple that of their competitors, the writers point out.

3. Culture is more than treats and perks

Free lunch, fancy sandwiches and a cool working space are great, but that’s not what drive people. A manager who is motivated to push boundaries and think differently is what millennials want. “Working in a cool office is really awesome. So is free lunch. But a purposeful culture is more important.”

A culture of purpose drives outcomes, whether it’s sales growth, increased production or service excellence.

4. Don’t treat me like a number

“Treat me like a number? I’ll return the favor. This job will quickly become nothing more than my rent payment.”

One of two things will happen: the millennium will either quit as expected, or worse, will stay and become another number.

Here’s what companies need to understand about millennials: they were raised to believe they can change the world. They want to know that the work they do, contribute in some way to that life goal. They want to make a difference to something more than the company bottom line.

“I’m desperate for you to show me that the work we do here matters, even just a little bit. I’ll make copies, I’ll fetch coffee, I’ll do the grunt work. But I’m not doing it to help you get a new Mercedes.”

Why is it important for leaders to really get this? Millennials are a growing proportion of the workforce. By 2020 they’ll be 46% of the working population – too large a percentage to treat likes slaves to the bottom line.