A creeping crisis is facing companies today. Over the next 20 years, this crisis will affect the bottom line harder than the recession of 2008.

What is the crisis? The loss of valuable, trained employees.

The average company spends 1.5 to 2 times the annual salary of an employee in training and development. Meanwhile, the average millennial employee is looking at a tenure of only 1.2 to 2.4 years, at the outside.

That means you will see your expensive employee walk away before your investment ever pays off. What's worse is the employee will take the skills and training you paid for and leverage them into a better position with your competitor.

Meaningful work

At the heart of this crisis lies the lack of trust in big business.

Just knowing that millennials in particular don't trust big business isn't enough. Leaders must be aware that many of today's millennial workforce are not driven by money or success in quite the way previous generation were. More than anything, millennials want to do meaningful work.

When millennials were asked what they want from their job, only 12 percent said their priority was "promotional opportunity," according to research. 19 percent said they wanted the ability to work from home; 22 percent said they wanted access to the Internet; and surprisingly, only 22 percent of those surveyed said they wanted "a good salary."

However, 25 percent said they wanted to do "meaningful work." Simply put: Meaningful work is more important than salary.

Transparency and making a difference

In addition, leaders who want to hire the best of this generation must be aware of the increasing demand for transparency. Millennials want to know what your organization stands for. They want to know if they will be damaging or improving society.

If they join your business/organization, they want to know they will be able to make a positive difference in the world. They want to know what your company really stands for in action.

As a leader, do you get that? I mean, are you really listening? Because those are the keys to understanding the vast majority of your future leaders.

Is it millennial entitlement?

Most leaders over the age of 40 have been conditioned to believe that for someone to have something valuable to add, they need to have at least some time and experience. However, millennials believe they genuinely have something of value to add. They want to share their ideas of how to make things better, not only in the workplace, but also in the world.

You can look at that and say that millennials are entitled, or you can choose to put your judgment to the side and become curious about what exactly they may have to offer. As an effective leader who is leading millennials, you must facilitate mentoring up as well as down the power ladder.

Pay attention

As a leader looking to create a fiercely loyal team, you will need to listen to what is important to your millennial leaders. Pay attention. Find the common thread and connect everyone, particularly across the generation gap.

Finding common shared values within your organization and allowing those shared values to drive your core business strategy will not only create a greater bond between team members, but also a bond in moving toward a meaningful outcome.

Today's leaders must be masterful at finding and defining meaning for our organizations because meaning and purpose are a foundation upon which trust can be built. And you can't lead anyone without their trust. Especially not millennials.