With studies claiming that one in four employees are thinking of leaving their current job, and 80% of those saying it’s because they’re concerned about career advancement, there has never been a more critical time for businesses to start giving their high performing employees the skills they will need to lead their organisations going forward.
With many baby boomers taking early retirement after the stresses of the pandemic, businesses are not only facing increasing vacancies but critical leadership skills gaps too.
The talent pool is filled with eager millennials and generation x’ers keen to progress and make their mark in their workplaces. However, alarming statistics from Gallup reveal that 55% of millennials are not engaged at work, with 6 in 10 being open to new job opportunities. The writing is very clearly on the wall – use them or lose them.
So, what can employers do to help develop upcoming talent?
- There is a common misconception that high performing employees will easily transition into leadership positions. However, the road from buddy to boss is fraught with potholes, diversions and misdirection. With the majority of new leaders receiving no preparation for their new roles, it is no wonder that 60% of them underachieve in their first year. Great leaders are rarely born, they’re created and built by their learning and experiences. Ongoing training is considered one of the most important decision-making factors in job seekers today (Gallup), and a key factor in increasing employee engagement, so businesses need to develop a leadership development path that nurtures upcoming talent to prepare them for the journey ahead.
- Teach them how to have difficult conversations – for every leader this is undoubtedly one of the most challenging aspects of their role, and often a barrier for new and inexperienced managers. Dale Carnegie said, “Use encouragement. Make the fault easy to correct.’ We all make mistakes, in fact feeling secure enough to make errors at work without severe consequences reflects a psychologically safe environment in which employees will thrive. By showing appreciation and empathy when starting awkward conversations, feedback becomes constructive rather than critical. There are 7 simple steps to follow in this short download – How to Provide Feedback Without Insulting Your Workers
- Clearly set out your vision and goals for the organisation, their department and them personally. People want to belong to a future they can help build. Open communication builds trust, loyalty, and innovation.
- Give them a mentor. 79% of millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success (Huffington Post). Not only are mentoring programmes cost effective for organisations, they increase retention, attract high flying talent and enable mentees to build internal relationships and prepare for future leadership roles. But the overall benefits are far wider reaching – 71% of Fortune 500 Companies offer mentoring programmes and 82%believe that mentoring relationships help foster meaningful connections between mentors and mentees, across departments and the organisation (Moving Ahead)
- Show potential leaders the benefits of making employee engagement a daily habit. You don’t have to be in a leadership role to engage with people. Making it part of your daily working life will put individuals in a much stronger position when they become responsible for a team. In a recent study Dale Carnegie identified ‘leadership blindspots’ – a disparity between how managers think they behave and the way their team perceive they do. It identified 4 key leadership behaviours that impacted engagement, retention, productivity and profitability. These are: showing appreciation; admitting when wrong; honesty with self and others and truly listening. By being aware of these triggers and working on ways to practise them in their daily work life, future leaders are setting themselves up for success.
To learn more about developing future talent, you can view these resources: