Leading the Next Generation

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Leading the Next Generation

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Things are rapidly changing in the way leaders manage their talent. The leadership style needed to guide the new generations filling our workforce is vastly different from the top-down model so many of us are used to. According to Dan Schwabel in an interview, millennials leave their jobs in two years, whereas Boomers leave in about seven years and Gen X leaves in five years. They value purpose more than a salary, and are willing to take a pay cut to do something they truly believe in. Millennials also emphasize entrepreneurship and value their time and freedom.

Companies need to start realizing that a lot of people go home or go on vacation and they’re still doing work. You can’t trap someone from 9 to 5 every day when they’re going to be doing work outside of work. – Dan Schwabel, Interview With Dan Schwabel: How to Retain Your Millennial Workers

Because the millennial work ideal is so different from the generations that came before them, HR and managers should be exploring new ideas and work models that will help retain young talent with high potential.

Flexible office hours…and offices

…most of your new-generation leadership will begin as first-level managers. But they will share a commonality with high-profile tech entrepreneurs who manage virtual teams, lead across cultures and adapt to new technologies. Their experience as the first truly diverse and digital generation has prepared them well to lead the next generation. – PJ Neal and Michael Watkins, Millennial in Training

Many employees have come to the realization that time is more important than money, and that work can be done from virtually anywhere. Millennial employees will have experience with virtual teams, online work spaces, and new technology. Companies can offer their employees flexible hours and equip them with the resources to work virtually (and efficiently) to help keep employee satisfaction levels high. Having to sit at an office for two hours with nothing to do can destroy employee morale fairly quickly, and make millennials wonder why they keep coming to work when they can do just as much or more from home.

Volunteer Programs

Many millennials want to do good for society, and be a part of the bigger picture. Volunteer programs allow your employees to help their communities as part of their job. Companies can give employees the option of volunteering with different programs, while still being paid for their time. Many companies can also offer paid “vacation leaves” as long as an employee volunteers that day with a non-profit organization.

Intrapreneurship Programs

Intrapreneurship means acting like an entrepreneur within a company. Intrapreneurs imagine, create and implement new products, processes and practices to make the company better in some way. It may add a much needed solution to a problem, or enhance a product, or make a process more efficient. Intrapreneurs can look beyond whatever is in place now into how they can change, improve or combine aspects of a company to serve a better good.

According to a Forbes article, Social Intrapreneurs: Disruptive Innovators on the Inside, Unilever Chemical Engineer James Inglesby had the task of finding new business opportunities for toilet cleaning products. He learned that 2.6 billion people lack access to proper sanitation, and decided to expand beyond established markets to offer branded, affordable, self-contained plastic toilets and a toilet cleaning service that uses Unilever cleaning products.

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