Millennials are the largest segment of workers and they will comprise 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2025.[1] With the steady stream of baby boomers moving into retirement, millennials are beginning to attain management positions in companies across the country.

This predominant cohort has its own set of views about the workplace and careers. Millennials tend to appreciate collaboration, teamwork and communication. They seek to feel engaged and purposeful in their work. Millennials are entrepreneurial in their outlook and approach to business challenges. They use technology effortlessly and merge work and personal time, but they expect better work/life balance than their parents could achieve.

Millennials want the opportunity to advance in their careers, but many feel their leadership skills are not being developed adequately. As a result, 38% of millennials questioned for the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey expected to leave their current jobs and companies within the next two years.[2]

Researchers found only 20% of companies are investing in leadership development, coaching and mentoring programs for millennial employees. This lack of investment, occurring as baby boomers retire, could lead to higher turnover of millennial talent and a leadership skills gap in many organizations.[3]

Companies seeking to retain their millennial workers and help them develop into tomorrow’s leaders should focus on several factors:[4]

  • Millennials desire engagement and access to senior leaders. They want to be able to interact and learn from senior executives. They want to share opinions and engage in dialogue about important issues.
  • Individuality is important to millennials. They expect to advance quickly in their careers and they want personalized attention, feedback and coaching from supervisors who are invested in their development and success.
  • Most millennials value experiences over traditional training. They possess a wide range of learning styles and don’t want to spend time in group training classes. Individualized leadership development programs are valued because they focus on personal styles and learning needs.
  • Most millennials see themselves as a personal brand and they seek opportunities to help them build their brand, extend their networks and gain access to influential people.
  • Ease with data analytics is a critical skill for millennials to master. Big data has become an important component of nearly every business model, and millennial leaders must be shrewd in understanding and using data analytics to successfully lead tomorrow’s companies.

[1] “Leadership Development for Millennials,” by Sue Wigston, Eagle’s Flight blog, March 13, 2017. Available at: https://www.eaglesflight.com/blog/leadership-development-for-millennials

[2] “Developing Millennial Leaders,” by Amy Happ, Training Industry blog, June 30, 2017. Available at: https://www.trainingindustry.com/articles/leadership/developing-millennial-leaders/

[3] “Leadership Development for Millennials Not Seen As A Priority,” editorial by Karen Higgenbotham, Forbes, March 14, 2016. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2016/03/14/leadership-development-for-millennials-not-seen-as-a-priority/#7702988111c0

[4] “Developing Millennial Leaders,” by Amy Happ, Training Industry blog, June 30, 2017. Available at: https://www.trainingindustry.com/articles/leadership/developing-millennial-leaders/ and “Leadership Development for Millennials Not Seen As A Priority,” editorial by Karen Higgenbotham, Forbes, March 14, 2016. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2016/03/14/leadership-development-for-millennials-not-seen-as-a-priority/#7702988111c0

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