If your organization isn’t focusing on cultivating and nurturing its future leaders, perhaps it should. Demographics of leadership are rapidly changing and organizations need to adapt their learning and development programs to meet the needs of this new demographic. The Baby Boomer generation is entering retirement while Millennial numbers in the workforce continue to rise. Outsourcing talent is another area that challenges organizations. According to Brandon Hall Group’s Industry Perspective titled State of Leadership Development 2015: The Time to Act is Now, many organizations struggle with attracting top-quality talent externally and therefore, have directed their resources towards growing internal talent to meet their business needs. As this shortage of qualified leaders continues, it’s becoming critically important for organizations to develop effective and dynamic leadership development programs.
The Age of the Millennials
We’ve entered the “Age of the Millennials, ” and it’s time for organizations to maximize their potential. This diverse, tech savvy generation may need to take on increasingly complex leadership roles, perhaps early on in their careers, while lacking enough preparation. This jeopardizes the employee and organization’s success. Organizations will need to take a proactive approach to prepare Millennials to manage and lead. Investing in learning and development ensures that these employees will have the tools and skills they need to progress.
Millennial Development Expectations
The Millennial generation has high expectations for rapid movement, promotion and career development. They’re digitally centered, and as such, we’ll likely see a decline in the traditional instructor led training model. Millennials expect instant access to information and knowledge and ongoing learning and development opportunities. This gives further rise to eLearning and on-demand content that supports learning at the point of need. Learning and Development leaders must respond to these needs and develop relevant and engaging program offerings for new leaders rising within the organization. It’s important to recognize that technology alone won’t support an effective leadership development program. A holistic approach that includes experiential learning, coaching, mentoring, collaboration and classroom training will benefit the Millennial learner in their leadership development.
Millennial Leader Values
A report titled Divergent Views/Common Ground: the Leadership Perspectives of C-Suite Executives and Millennial Leaders recently released by The Conference Board, Development Dimensions International, and RW2 Enterprises, attempts to explain the differences and similarities of current business executives and those Millennials rising through the ranks. The report points out that Millennial leaders hold different views from other generations in that they:
1. Value certainty and want to avoid risk.
2. Value achievement and fun.
3. Are ambitious about their careers and expect advancement at an accelerated pace.
4. Find coaching from managers and mentors very effective.
5. Want mentoring by senior leaders.
In today’s fast-paced and complex business environment, organizations need effective leaders at all levels of their hierarchy. However, there’s a growing strategic imperative to adapt to our changing workforce by committing to leadership development programs designed to meet the needs and values of the Millennial generation. A well designed leadership development program is key to attracting, developing, engaging and retaining our future Millennial leaders.
Susan Distasio | eLearning Industry Crusader | ePath Learning, Inc.
About the Author: Susan Distasio is an eLearning Industry Crusader focused on advocating for advancement and change in the eLearning and professional development industry. An avid seeker of knowledge and continuous improvement, Susan is happy to share her research, observations and thoughts regarding “all things related to learning and development.” When she’s not out on the learning crusade, Susan can be found with the wind in her hair riding her Harley or simply enjoying life with her husband, Steve, and her Siamese cat, Elvis, and with family and friends.