In 2015 millennials surpassed Gen Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, meaning the future leaders of America are already in the workforce. Millennials, defined as the generation born between 1982 and 2000, will move into leadership roles in ways that are much different in previous generations.
The challenge for current executives and business leaders is to prepare and the next generation of executive leaders.
Millennial values are different
While hard skills are important qualities in leadership positions, for Millennials, the focus is on soft skills – relationship building and communication being the two most significant. This is due to the shifting business climate where business development requires cross-functional leaders who can communicate effectively. Today’s leaders need to understand that Millennials aren’t typically attracted to the money and recognition that accompanies leadership positions and instead aspire to be transformational, collaborative, and empowering leaders. Work-life balance is a hot topic for Millennials as they consider their career paths. If a prospective position impinges on that balance, Millennials will likely have reservations about accepting that position.
You must be willing to make the investment
Millenials are notorious for lacking loyalty to their employers. In fact, one in four would quit his or her current job to try something different. They seek support, feedback, and collaboration in their performance and want to learn through experiences, rather than traditional training. This poses an obvious challenge for senior managers and executives. Understanding that Millennials may not show the same loyalty associated with previous generations, do you elevate a millennial and let him or her learn on the job and manage the mistakes? Or, do you continue your training program as is? The answer could lie in a combination. By allowing on-the-job learning, executives are sending a message of trust and accountability while allowing for personal growth. Combine that with a customized traditional training program and Millennials can get the support and feedback they desire.
Ready or not, Millenials are coming
According to a recent study, millenials will make up 75% of workforce by 2025, leaving current executives and corporations little time to figure out the best way to train these future leaders. While attracting and retaining the best of the generation should be considered critical for the future of any business, many companies aren’t yet focused on this group. Studies indicate that Millenials seek mentorship from managers, not just a series of instructions.
With careful attention paid to the rising stars in their organization, executives don’t have to be caught off guard. Executives can not only identify their future leaders, but train them in a manner that is likely to receive a positive response.
If you want discuss strategies for training and developing Millenials in your organization, contact us for a free, no obligation, business consultation.