Hear that? It’s the sound of the Millennials taking over the workforce. Not to alarm you or anything, but we’re here, and we’re not going anywhere. Don’t believe me? By 2025, we’ll account for 75% of the workforce. Let that soak in for a minute while I write a 140-word tweet about taking over the world #moveoverbeyonce #runtheworld.
Now that we’re in the workforce, don’t expect us to sit back and cruise through the next twenty years of our lives sitting quietly in the backseat, playing around on our smartphones while mom and dad make the tough decisions. That misconception might get you an eye roll emoji from us (), but the fact is 91% of millennials have aspirations of leadership positions. Yet according to the Deloitte 2015 Human Capital Trends report, the capability gap for building great leaders has widened in every region of the world, with only 6% of organisations feeling that the leadership pipeline is “very ready”. So while we’re ready to take the wheel and be in charge, the buy-in doesn’t appear to be there. What gives? The long short of it all, is that organisations are not only failing to upskill existing leaders at the top of the food chain, they’re also failing at succession planning by ignoring the millennials in the workforce and not developing them into the strategic leaders they will be in a few years. Spoiler alert: Baby Boomers are fast approaching retirement age, and with the skills gap increasingly widening, this will cause businesses a major headache a few years down the track if developing them isn’t high up on the priority list.
So now that you might be considering what your leadership development training program looks like it’s in current state, let’s look at three things to consider when developing your millennial up-and-comers:
Mentor and Coach Millennials to Leadership Success
This is where your current leaders come into play. Consider pairing a current leader with an up-and-coming millennial leader. They don’t have to necessarily be direct manager-employee relationships, but you could consider pulling mentors and millennials from different areas of the business. It’s a great low-cost way to share knowledge, provide feedback and experience through one-on-one meetings, as well as create personal support systems.
If your current leaders lack the coaching and mentoring skills they need to be truly effective for this type of leadership development, consider upskilling them, because they’re equally as important to upskill as your millennial employees.
Keep Technology Front and Centre
We’re the kids who grew up with computers and internet, which effectively changed the way we work and learn. We evolved into the adults who use social media, MOOCs, podcasts, smartphones, tablets (and everything else in between), to continuously adapt how we work and learn. This should give your L&D department some basic insight into how millennials will need their leadership development program delivered. Rethink your face-to-face approach when it comes to training your millennials into leaders, because we may just jump on our smartphones and browse the net if you haven’t captured our hearts and minds with that boring Powerpoint presentation. Consider giving your leaders responsive HTML5, or mobile e-learning so that they have the option to learn on-the-go on our own time on their preferred devices. The best part? You’re not leaving anyone out by integrating mobile. Your Baby Boomer leaders will enjoy this just as much as your Millennials and the numbers prove it: by 2019, 76% of Baby Boomers will be active mobile users, and why not cater to the evolving tech needs of your employees?
Additionally, if you consider our fondness for online forums and blogs like Reddit, Quora and Medium, or the fact that we’re self-directed learners who will seek out answers to burning questions, utilising your learning management system to create specific “Ask Me Anything” forums (or something similar) where millennials have the chance to ask the c-suite leaders about strategy, pain points and positive outcomes, or other topics of significance, could be highly advantageous to your millennial leaders-in-the-making, while offering a new perspective on old problems – just see how Facebook uses it.
Investing In Future Leaders Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive, Or a Burden
Ignore what you heard about Millennials not being loyal. Sure, there may be some stats circulating (thanks Deloitte) that give Millennials a reputation that 2/3 leave organisations within two years thus, a flight risk. And then there’s that short-sighted belief that there’s no point spending money training employees if they’ll just leave in a year or so. But, really, isn’t this an archaic way of thinking? Let’s look to Richard Branson to offer the most sound advice when it comes to training people:
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to http://t.co/QHONOZYXEy
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) March 27, 2014
Nailed it. Consider looking at the glass half-full when you start putting together your budget and plan for leadership development training: you’re giving your employees the opportunity to thrive, while building a solid retention and acquisition strategy for talent by offering this training. Okay, alright; the threat of a Millennial walking away from your organisation is there, I won’t deny that especially since 71% of millennials have said that they’re likely to leave an organisation within 24 months if they’re unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed. So consider this: if your Millennials do end up walking away even after you invested in their own skills development, your organisation helped build their confidence and in effect, their career – the building blocks to help them achieve own goals. Isn’t that better than leaving your organisation because they didn’t have any training and sought it elsewhere?
Whether you see this as succession planning, or just being smarter about your organisation; where your organisation is headed and how your future leaders will play a part, now is the time to seriously consider investing in your millennials and giving them the development opportunities they seek. The best part? We’ve got your back. If you’re concerned about the cost of leadership e-learning – check out this end-of-financial-year offer on the Leadership & Manager courses that are up to 50% off and if you’re interested in a custom leadership development course for your employees of all ages, we can help you with that too.
So now there are no excuses: it’s time to develop and upskill your future leaders.
Thinking about creating a leadership development program? Download our latest best practice whitepaper on leadership development .