How are you supporting millennials to become leaders?

We talk to three HR professionals about how to support and develop young leaders

How are you supporting millennials to become leaders?
Only about a third of current millennial leaders considered themselves fully prepared when initially taking on the post, according to a poll from Deloitte published earlier this year.

So how can organisations better support millennials to become effective leaders?

For Martha Travis, general manager people and culture, Assetlink, millennials need to feel they have somewhere to ‘go’ in the business.

“Our training strategy provides clear career pathways with the required skills and attributes; we provide strategic milestones specifically related to succession and leadership development,” said Travis.

“A leadership immersion program for mid-tier and frontline leaders provides a combination of learning, development, and team-building activities as well as opportunities to share ideas. High potentials also feature, allowing upcoming leaders to work across the business, and understand how they can contribute to mutual growth.”

Travis added that the key to the success of these strategies is empowerment: allowing millennials to take control of their destiny.

Moreover, Ashleigh Elbaz, Senior HR business partner at R/GA said their organisation doesn’t focus on a particular age group when developing leaders.
“We don’t zero in on millennials; we focus on those interested in becoming a leader or displaying leadership potential,” said Elbaz.

“It’s dangerous to make assumptions or create strategies based on generational generalisations.

“Our people are all unique and that is what we concentrate on. In performance conversations we ask our employees (75% of whom are millennials) what influences their happiness at work, what motivates them, do they wish to go into leadership and how currently satisfied are they in those areas.”

Elbaz said this creates unique ‘dashboards’ for each employee that their leaders can use to better reward them and develop their careers.

Meanwhile, Evita Soldo, Head of talent at ING Direct, said millennials are accustomed to today’s fast-paced digitised society;

“However, the corporate world has its own operating rhythm: it takes time to develop leadership skills and experience,” said Soldo.

She added that ING Direct encourage honest and continuous conversations between leaders and their teams, including setting realistic expectations.

“We emphasise making an impact through personal contribution versus leadership being associated with a specific position.

“Our people are excited by opportunities to enhance their capabilities and develop their career through involvement in interesting and challenging work – oftentimes cross-functional and cross-geography.

“This approach has helped achieve and maintain above-industry employee engagement levels, of which we are proud.”

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