Small Business

Developing Millennial Leaders

Here are six steps to consider in developing a more transformational culture in order to retain future millennial leaders.

As baby boomers retire from executive positions, millennials are expected to take over leadership roles and even transform businesses for the future. However, the existing culture at many companies is increasing the risk of losing their best and brightest, who are still poised to become future leaders, but at competing firms. How can companies attract millennials, teach them management skills, give them the seasoning they need to become successful leaders and still retain them when they’re ready to step into those roles?

In order to create a culture where millennial leaders can thrive, today’s management needs to establish a more transparent leadership pipeline that enables millennials to envision themselves in executive positions with the power to continue to transform the organization. Investing in the company’s cultural transformation to attract and retain millennials will pay rich dividends both in future leadership and the organization’s success.

Here are six steps to consider
in developing a more transformational culture:

  1. Make your company feel like a place with an eye on the future. An environment and policies that are supportive of today’s lifestyles, such as encouraging family time, creating social interaction, doing good deeds, and more, alleviate some of millennials’ stresses so they can work harder for you without compromising productivity and performance.
  2. Communicate tradition as a springboard to the future. Transformation isn’t just about changing the system, it’s usually about building on a solid foundation. Rather than assuming millennials will grasp a company tradition just by being there, management needs to actively define the tradition’s successes and communicate its role within the context of the future.
  3. Don’t just be a boss, be a mentor. Be receptive to transformative ideas and respectful in your feedback. One must coach millennial leaders on the most effective ways to get the organization to embrace transformation.
  4. Create ownership. Don’t just make millennials aware of a plan; make them a part of it. An active role in the process allows future leaders to envision themselves setting the agenda a few years down the line.
  5. Define the organization’s future vision. Encourage millennials to feel proud of what they are part of by helping them clearly visualize how they can contribute to the organization’s success.
  6. Develop new views on successful performance. In a transformative process, key performance indicators (KPI’s) most assuredly will transform as well. Make sure benchmarks and rewards keep pace with the changes, so people feel appreciated for the work they’re putting in to transform the culture.

About the Author

Rob Delany is a managing director and chief financial officer at PFM.

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