Adapting to a changing workforce, By Kehinde David Folarin

Adapting to a changing workforce, By Kehinde David Folarin

The future of any company is founded on good leadership… Young leaders, especially the millennials, are innovative, and flexible to new ideas. These future leaders are willing to work longer hours, since they understand the importance of developing into good leaders. It is important that organisations recognise and develop millennials into leadership positions.

Millennials are thriving in the workforce today. They are the next generation to be leaders in the workplace and will be the generation that shapes the future of leadership. There are not many millennial role models that potential leaders can follow and emulate. Thus, we must attract leaders for the new generation. This means that it is time for a change in leadership style and approach.

Millennials are multiplying in the population of the workforce today as they are reaching their peak employment years. They are giving new insights into office life and the structure among employees and employers.

Senior managements in many organisations are seeking the right steps to recruiting and developing millennials into leadership roles. The first step is to create a successful plan to help millennials transform into leaders.

Best practices to enhance the number of millennial leaders

To cultivate and enhance the number of millennial leaders, it is important to first understand the attitudes and behaviours of the generation. “The primary traits of the millennial generation that may manifest as elements of millennial leadership styles are collaboration, integration, multitasking, experimentation and nomadic behaviours.” There are three things that leaders can do to assure these millennials will achieve success on the job, despite generational differences.

The first is giving them the big picture. Millennials want to contribute their part in the workplace. By making sure that they understand goals, mission statements, and how the company works together as a whole, a new understanding will be created. Second, leaders need to help millennials find the “me” in teams. From team sports during youth to classroom projects, millennials are no stranger to teamwork. Team performance expectations need to be laid out for supreme understanding. They can bring knowledge of technology that will be helpful in ways, such as social networking and virtual environments. Lastly, millennials need to be mentored on career-building behaviours. Career-building is one area in which beginning workers may be deficient, in comparison to the older or more experienced employees.

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Sixty per cent of our current workforce is made up of millennials and as the older generation continues to retire, that number will continue to increase. We must start training and promoting the millennial generation to ensure the company’s future. The millennial generation is different from those that came before it and we must take that into consideration when it comes to their motivation and engagement.

The future of any company is founded on good leadership. Many good leaders have a great understanding of the activities of the company and are dedicated to achieving its goals. Young leaders, especially the millennials, are innovative, and flexible to new ideas. These future leaders are willing to work longer hours, since they understand the importance of developing into good leaders. It is important that organisations recognise and develop millennials into leadership positions. For millennial leaders to be successful, there are some ways that management can support them in their leadership development:

Help them understand the “why” of their job – why they are asked to do something and why it is important to the overall cause of the company;
Give them regular feedback, so that they understand their progress;
Help them understand that they may need to demonstrate to their team how using technology can improve productivity;
Help them understand what credibility looks like for the team members they lead and help them modify their leadership style when needed.

Recruiting millennials

Sixty per cent of our current workforce is made up of millennials and as the older generation continues to retire, that number will continue to increase. We must start training and promoting the millennial generation to ensure the company’s future. The millennial generation is different from those that came before it and we must take that into consideration when it comes to their motivation and engagement. To do this, we must make an environment which they want to work in and that promises growth in a supportive one. Life outside of the workplace is also very valuable to millennials, so we must create an environment that provides a balance of both work and personal life.

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Millennials can benefit the companies in many ways. Their leadership role in today’s generation is outstanding; they understand their weaknesses and strengths. Millennials have changed the role of leadership and are creating a new trend in leadership where a manager would direct and not command. Millennials treat everyone in the company equally, which can create trust and loyalty within employees. They have taken a strive towards inclusive leadership, instead of authoritarian leadership, to create to equal opportunity for everyone. Another way we can benefit from millennials is the way they collaborate and brain storm with each other in the company. It is one of their main priorities when it comes to handling big projects. They would consult with many trusted people in the company to push the project forward, such as managers, mentors, peers, and other advisors.

Analysing the motivations, behaviours, and characteristics of the millennial generation is a critical first step when designing a leadership development programme. Millennials have many positive leadership traits of which a company should take advantage; they are great multi-taskers, they embrace diversity, innovation, flexibility, and are willing to put in the extra hours to move toward success.

In today’s world, millennials value flexibility and work-life balance. We must keep this in mind and provide them with many benefits from our company. Millennials can be reliable in working from home as well, which can make a job a lot easier for them. They have been raised along technology, digital communication, and other tools, to understand how to work remotely.

Millennials can switch job quickly, and providing them with these options would convince them to stay with our workforce. Millennial care about trust; we should share every decision or announcement from our workforce and keep it less confidential. This can increase the rate of job satisfaction from our workforce. This is another way that convinces millennials to stick around the company. We need to be open and honest with all our employees and make sure they all understand their roles. Also, give opportunities to grow and allow them to earn bigger roles in the company. When it comes to the millennials, they would love to be able to have a job that supports them with a great environment. I know for a fact that they would be looking for a new career, they love employee engagements in any office setting among workers, showing them that you actually care about them and their employment at your company. Work outings, work parties, and work gathering  will build the culture better around the working environment for the millennials and they love having those type of engagements.

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Some practices we could implement to create this culture would be:

Flexible work hours and schedules;
Employee engagement: Work parties, Work outings, work event and gatherings, incentives;
Clear career path and opportunities;
Open communication;
Giving purpose
Acknowledging work done.

Conclusion

Analysing the motivations, behaviours, and characteristics of the millennial generation is a critical first step when designing a leadership development programme. Millennials have many positive leadership traits of which a company should take advantage; they are great multi-taskers, they embrace diversity, innovation, flexibility, and are willing to put in the extra hours to move toward success. Incorporating these factors, while also providing the future leaders with a strong sense of the company’s programmes, goals and vision, are all important when developing this generation of leaders.

Kehinde David Folarin, a success coach and leadership consultant, is the chief operating officer at Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached through Email: Kennyfolarind@gmail.com

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