Do we prepare Millennials and Gen Z to lead?
You can ask the question: “Do we prepare Millennials and Gen Z to lead?” in different ways. Are Millennials/Gen Z ready to lead? Is your organisation prepared for Millennial/Gen Z leadership?
In case you are not clear on what a Millennial or a Gen Z is, this overview might help:
By 2025, millennials and Gen Z will comprise more than 75% of the workforce. This means that organisations will undergo rapid changes for which they need to prepare. First, employers need to understand what’s important to millennials/Gen Z. Again the above overview will provide some help.
Grow Millennial leadership
Recently, American Express released a report (pdf) that examined the values and expectations of 1,363 millennial leaders and 1,062 Generation X leaders. The results from this research weren’t necessarily surprising. However, they can be helpful as a guide for determining how to attract, retain and grow millennial leadership.
“Millennials have high expectations for the businesses they work for — and will eventually lead,” says Susan Sobbott, president of American Express Global Commercial Payments in New York. “The successful business of the future will need to have an authentic purpose and foster employee well-being with passionate committed leadership at its helm. Millennials are seeking work beyond just making money, and they’re willing to make trade-offs to achieve their own definition of success.”
The CEO will become irrelevant
One statistic from this report that jumps out is more than one-third of millennial leaders believe the current CEO role will be irrelevant within the next 10 years. However, experts say that Millennials understand businesses still need to earn money, make shareholders happy and have strong leaders at the helm. But their leaders will take different approaches than their autocratic predecessors.
“Instead of the autocratic style, millennial CEOs will adopt the transformational approach. This means they will have a vision for the company and share it with everyone. These leaders will encourage everyone around them to want to follow that vision.”, says Dan Schawbel, a millennial and partner and research director at Future Workplace, a New York-based HR research firm.
Rajiv Kumar, millennial and chief medical officer and president of Virgin Pulse Institute, part of Virgin Pulse, a company committed to improving people’s health and well-being through mobile technology, expands on what the CEO role might look like in the future: “The CEO role will still exist, but it will be a more integrated, participatory role,” Kumar says. “Instead of the siloed CEOs we see now, millennial CEOs will be accessible to all employees, not just the executives and board of directors. We’ll start to see increased levels of transparency, which will help employees understand the decisions being made and why. The “why” is key for millennial employees.”
Something else important to millennial leaders is understanding the impact their businesses can have on people and society. More than three-quarters believe that a successful business will have a genuine purpose — beyond simply making money — that resonates with people (76%).
People often misinterpret the concept of a “genuine purpose” and blow it out of proportion, says Schwabel. “A company doesn’t have to change the world to qualify as genuine or meaningful. It just means that the daily routine of the business must align with something that benefits others.”
According to Kumar, “Many of our employees came here because of Virgin Pulse’s social mission to make the world a better place. It’s easy to lose focus on a mission as a business scales, but we’ve successfully recommitted ourselves to our mission and put the success stories of people we help every day at the forefront of our business. This resonates well with our millennial employees.”
Training is important
In the past year, Virgin Pulse rolled out EPIC (Exceptional Potential early in Career), a program designed to recruit and train the next generation of leaders. EPIC, Kumar says, offers millennials a fast track into leadership and creates a career path that allows them to seamlessly enter new roles. “At each step in the process, we offer more training, support and compensation,” he adds.
“Training is important. Not only training the next generation of leaders, but also training all generations on how to interact with each other. Raising awareness about generational differences will help everyone operate more effectively, says Kumar.
“Eventually, we’ll stop talking about millennials and just call it the workforce,” he says. “And for companies to prepare for this workforce, they need to make changes now. Rethink how you operate, don’t be afraid of restructuring. Successful business will be decentralized, collaborative and place premium value on individual well-being and work/life balance.”
Adapted from source