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October 19, 2015

Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders: Leadership Development for Millennials

Leadership development remains a key area of focus among successful organizations of all sizes in this time of constant change. A new key variable coming into play in the past decade is the increasing number of millennials in the workplace. Each new generation entering the workplace shapes the way we work and leaves an indelible mark, and per the definitive study by U.S. Census Bureau, millennials in North America have now surpassed baby boomers in numbers.

A key goal entrusted in the hands of Talent and Business heads teams today is cultivating millennial leaders, and it appears many are struggling. The ability to develop leadership programs for millennials is cited as an area of weakness by 60% of HR and business leaders worldwide across all industries, according to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report.

Millennials have a different set of expectations from their employers and are aggressive with their career development. A major challenge is to engage millennials and provide them with experiences as well as retaining them within your organization. It is clear, your ability to attract and retain millennials  as well as the investment you make in developing them will make or break your company.

According to the 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey, Millennials’ expectations are different from those of older leaders. Millennials place a much higher priority on corporate purpose (77 percent believe “purpose” is their No. 1 reason for selecting an employer) and on employee wellness than older leaders. At the same time, they feel left out of the leadership pipeline: Only one-third believe their organization makes “full use” of their skills. Forty-three percent believe they will need to exit their current employer to find the opportunities they need. – Deloitte, “Mind the gaps: The Deloitte Millennial survey 2015,” 2015

Since this generation will have a significant impact on the workplace as well as the organizations performance, investing in developing them is a strategic imperative.

How does one, then, go about developing millennial leaders? Here are a few resources to help you start with the process.

Millennials Want to Lead. Are They Ready?
Employers can address the leadership ambitions of millennials not just by expanding or enhancing their internal leadership programmes, but making different career paths available. Providing specialist tracks, opening up avenues beyond regular full-time positions to ensure employees can rotate between departments and job roles.

4 Ways To Develop Millennial Leaders
As you review Millennial employees on your team, who stands out as one of your next leaders? More importantly, how do you keep potential team leaders engaged in your business and not lose them to a competitor? Here are four ways to develop Millennial leaders while keeping them happy.

Millennials Want to Be Coached at Work
Conversations with hundreds of Millennials made it clear that what they want most from their managers isn’t more managerial direction, per se, but more help with their own personal development. Millennials have more self-esteem while also having more anxiety and a higher need forrecognition. Great coaches understand this, and know that to create a winning team; they need to meet people halfway in their coaching needs.

It is important to note that there is no single approach to developing these leaders of tomorrow. Each organization must consider its business objectives, understand talent preferences and consider using their career objectives to create the right fit. In this way employees can explore their potential via their role, and organizations benefit from this ‘exploration’. This approach also helps build superior leadership development programs to create current and next job fit.


Felix Global has pioneered customized programs and delivery for high-potential talent in some of the largest and most successful organizations in Canada. Our programs help high potential millennials to achieve career advancement and accelerate their career aspirations while empowering the organizations to retain their talent and ensure succession.