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Leadership Development for Millennials

By Sue Wigston on March 13, 2017

According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017, two-thirds of the workers in this generation plan to leave their work organizations by the year 2020. With Millennials expected to make up approximately 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, businesses cannot ignore the potential impact of this influential group. While 66 percent of Millennials are ready to change jobs, a similar percentage believe that their leadership skills are not being developed. Tackling this specific issue within your organization can help increase loyalty and build a robust leadership pipeline, especially as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age.

Leadership Development for Millennials

In order to be successful in the long term, employers must evolve with the changing needs of the generations that flow through the organization. A company’s largest asset is its workforce. Ignoring leadership development for Millennials could result in a dearth of talent down the road. Consider the following tips as you create your leadership development strategy.

Present a Clear Growth Path

Having the opportunity to advance in their careers is important to Millennials when making decisions about where to work. Presenting a clear path to leadership with milestones along the way will demonstrate that your organization offers career advancement. A structured training program that culminates in leadership development demonstrates a commitment to young up-and-coming employees and has the potential to increase loyalty among Millennials as they plan for their future career.    

Practical tip: Present the path to leadership in the recruitment stage to attract top talent. Use milestones to benchmark stages of career growth and set clear goals for attaining the next level.

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Incorporate Technology into Training and Retention

As the first whole generation to grow up with computers, Millennials have a strong connection with technology. Incorporating technology into your leadership development program will help keep these individuals more engaged and increase the likelihood of participation.

Practical tip: Use digital measurement and reinforcement tools to keep training concepts top of mind and promote ongoing engagement.

Embrace Their Social Side

In the age of social media and constant connectedness, Millennials expect to interact with others frequently and in short bursts, even in the workplace. Open communication is also important for this group, and internal social media platforms can be used to quickly disseminate information and solicit real-time feedback.

Practical tip: Tap into this desire to be social and collaborative by creating online forums, discussion groups, and social platforms to support leadership training initiatives.

Give Potential Leaders Personal Attention

Investing the time and resources into one-on-one coaching and mentoring will go a long way with the Millennial generation. Monthly meetings with mentors provide continual reinforcement that employees are not being overlooked for leadership positions. Millennials also tend to have strong positive reactions to praise and personal attention, especially from senior leaders.

Practical tip: Implement a coaching program to develop skills in potential leaders. Two-way mentorship programs among younger employees will also support the social and collaborative tendencies of Millennials.

Although every generation might have different goals and ideals, people of all ages can benefit from experiential learning for leaders. Having the ability to test new leadership skills in a safe environment allows participants to try new behaviors without the risk of failure. Following up experiential learning with digital reinforcement tools and one-on-one coaching will support Millennial preferences for using technology and gaining personal connections at the same time.

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As Chief Operating Officer, Sue's extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle's Flight.

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Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight has earned its reputation as a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior changes.

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