Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are the largest generation in the workforce today. By 2025, they will comprise 75%, however not nearly enough companies are putting time and energy into bringing them into their leadership pipelines.
- Only 28% of millennials believe their current company is making full use of their skills;
- Only 6% of companies report they have ‘excellent’ programmes to develop this generation;
- However, 53% of these young employees aspire to leadership positions in their current organisation; and
- 95% of them believe it’s important for companies to offer leadership development activities.
It’s clear that Millennials want the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, despite the sterotypes surrounding them (they can’t take criticism, they are entitled, they need constant recognition) and companies need to start doing a ‘better’ job of supporting their careers. It’s true that millenials are unafraid to switch employers as often as it takes to get the experience and opportunities they crave. Employers who fail to offer sufficient challenge and development face rapid turnover and an empty pipeline once the older generations leave the workforce. Understanding what they value and hence what will keep them engaged is critical.
According to the Virtuali study, 78% of them say they value experience over possessions. You as a company need to give them those experiences. This means instead of boosting salary, boost their exciting opportunities. They want to build relationships, take on a driving force in innovative projects, and interact with customers or other employee teams, depending on the nature of your business.
Leadership training should be both experience based and individualised. Too many companies believe this generation wants only online training but research shows they favour face-to-face training and experience based learning. Think job rotations, shadowing, externships, special job assignments, and helming new projects. Focus on each employee’s strengths and cater to them when assigning projects and job rotations.
In the Virtuali study, 87% of millennial respondents reported that the opportunity to work abroad would increase their desire to join a company, 80% would be highly engaged, and 81% said it would make them want to remain at their company. Don’t miss out on this opportunity if it’s available within your company.
Ashley Mosley of Business Insider suggests you key into the following wants and needs:
The Move Toward Social Responsibility. According to a 2012 study, 56 percent of Millennials would take a pay cut to work somewhere that is changing the world for the better. Having a clear company stance toward social responsibility will win you the much-needed attention of young workers.
Flexibility Is The Future. With 69 percent of Millennials believing office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis, it may be time to reconsider employee scheduling. Consider allowing your employees the freedom of working from home whenever their schedule allows it; they’ll appreciate your trust in their work ethic.
Continued Education Matters. Millennials are on track to become the most educated generation. This love of learning doesn’t stop after they’ve received their diplomas and entered the workforce. You may consider providing industry-related training opportunities every month, paid attendance to conferences and seminars, and even tuition reimbursement for employees looking to further their education in your field.
The Compensation Advantage. This generation is faced with more debt than others. By offering compensation packages that are slightly above the average for your industry or region, you may be able to gain an edge. Or, consider compensating workers in other ways, like with company culture perks such as a gym membership.
The Power of Feedback. Millennials often get a bad reputation for their interest in feedback, but what’s wrong with aiming for improvement? Transform your entire workplace into a more engaged, feedback-focused environment by putting new coaching methods into play. Forget yearly reviews and focus on giving feedback and coaching through quick meetings, e-mails, or even a brief instant message conversation.
Playing To The Entrepreneurial Mindset. Nearly 50 percent of Millennials want to start a business in the next five years. This could mean trouble if you’re planning to retain your recent graduate and Millennial employees. But it’s important to know that 90 percent of Millennials also say that being an entrepreneur is a mindset, instead of the role of a business owner. How can you keep the entrepreneurially-spirited employees at your company? Give them room to generate powerful ideas and solutions for your company and clients, and follow through on their ideas and recommendations.
Whether a Millennial is an individual contributor, a first-time manager, a high-potential or a proven leader, give them access to relevant programmes and experiences that benefit them now, and prepare them to take on something new tomorrow.
As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.