“The Millennial theme is the sexy topic in every annual conference I attend. I believe we should be pay attention to those who are already in the workforce rather than keep talking about those that are not even onboard in our organizations”, said an influencer during an Executive Board Meeting in Washington, DC. I agree that Millennials are indeed the spicy topic in every conference, but are this eclectic group of disruptors a going concern?
One week ago I had the opportunity of serving as a panelist on the “Millennial Leadership – Attracting and Retaining Qualified Professionals – A Going Concern?” session at the Association for Government Accountants National Leadership Training in Washington, DC. Over 600 financial professionals from all over the US reunited at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to receive their annual leadership training.
I had about 3 minutes to present my point of view on the topic before opening the app to receive live questions from the audience – which was super cool because people submitted questions and then the audience selected the best ones to be answered by the panelists.
Here are some of the questions I answered. Why is it important to provide development opportunities to our emerging leaders? Harvard Business Review asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps. They’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring, and coaching—things they value highly. We all know that formal training is costly and can take employees off the job for short periods of time. Employers are understandably reluctant to make big investments in workers who might not stay long. But this creates a vicious circle: Companies won’t train workers because they might leave, and workers leave because they don’t get training.
Young leaders value development, and if organizations don’t provide developmental opportunities they are going to leave. Now, the next logical question is; Should companies spend time developing emerging leaders? Deloitte's 2014 Global Human Capital Trends showed that about two-thirds of companies around the world consider themselves weak in developing millennial leadership and Career Builder reported turnover costs companies more money (between $15,000 and $25,000) to replace each lost Millennial employee. We are talking about money – It just makes business sense to make the investment.
When Young Government Leaders, a non-profit organizations providing a voice to young employees in the public sector, asked 300 Emerging Leaders which development methods they would like to take advantage of, this is how they responded: Leadership Training 61%, Stretch assignments 57% and Formal Career Mentoring 50%. We also asked them if they preferred online training over face-to-face and 90% of respondents were inclined to face-to-face training. 60% of the emerging leaders polled said their next goal is to become a supervisor. In order to become supervisors they need crucial training and this is a great opportunity for organizations to develop learning and development strategies to retain Millennials.
Is attracting and retaining qualified Millennial professionals a going concern? The simple answer is no, this concern is not going anywhere. Actually, this topic is going to become crucial in the coming years, as Millennials will comprise 70% of workforce. Brace yourself because this is only the beginning.