I recently had the chance to sit down with Gary Swart - Gary was the CEO of Upwork (formerly oDesk), which is the largest marketplace for businesses to hire freelance workers.

Gary is currently a General Partner at  Polaris Ventures and knows a thing or two about how workplace retention and hiring (since he devoted himself to the space for the last ten years).

I asked Gary about managing the ever-changing workforce and here is what he had to say:

Q: What do employers need to understand about managing Millennials?

Gary Swart: Employers have hyped up the concept of managing Millennials so much, that we need to understand that they are just people like you and me. Millennials need to be treated equally, and employers need to dump the word "entitlement" out of their language when talking about Millennials. 

The only difference between Millennials and a generation or two older is that they are equally as motivated by impact and personal/professional growth as they are by fair and equitable financial reward. If you provide them with the opportunity for the former two along with financial  reward, you are doing a great job.

What is a stat that shocks you about the modern workforce?

Without question it's that Millennials will have 10 jobs by the time they are 40. Employers need to understand that employee retention has totally changed - don't take it personally if people leave you after a couple of years, or don't hold it against a candidate if they've had 'short stints'. 

Things are changing and you have to adapt with the times. Companies like LinkedIn have done a great job of understanding and embracing this concept through their 'tour of duty' program.

So what can employers do to win the "talent war"?

Yes, it is always difficult to hire and retain A players , but if you provide balance you will win. Google has obviously done a great job here with the concept of 20 percent time. Even if you are a small business, you can do little things to show that you want to, and truly are developing your employees outside of their normal scope and function.

I recommend that employers allow people to get exposure to different departments so they always get a holistic view of the business. Also, transparency is key - no one should be in the dark about how the business is doing - ever. It will always come out one way or another.