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Corporate Leadership Development Must Include Generation Y

We already know Gen Y (born between 1982 and 1995) is technologically savvy, uses social media to stay connected, and are the most well informed generation of all time; however, is it possible for them to become great leaders? Yes, it is!

We already know Gen Y (born between 1982 and 1995) is technologically savvy, uses social media to stay connected, and are the most well informed generation of all time; however, is it possible for them to become great leaders?

Yes, it is!

In the race to develop Gen Y talent and keep them engaged there are a few things to consider:

CONFIDENCE

There is an underlying concern that Generation Y avoids face-to-face communication and does not interact well with people. It is important to understand if this is simply perception or if there are other drivers that create this behavior. According to a study conducted by DDI Gen Y is the least confident in their skills and struggle to transition into leadership roles.

Needless to say, confidence plays a key role in leadership; therefore, building confidence amongst Gen Y is important.

FEEDBACK

Unlike the generations before them, Gen Y thrives on feedback. Companies usually only provide feedback in formal settings once or twice a year. Unfortunately, the process used to gather feedback is not very efficient, focuses on the negatives, and often the manager has not been trained on how to provide constructive feedback. In order to keep Gen Ys motivated, companies must invest in developing two-way communication that provides Millennials (Gen Y) with constructive feedback often.

Feedback is the fuel that keeps the fire going!

MENTORING

Mentoring benefits both the mentee and mentor, in a study conducted by Sun Microsystems over a 5 year period, as quoted by Anne Fisher, Fortune senior writer on CNN.

  • Both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get a raise than people who did not participate in the mentoring program.
  • 25% of mentees and 28% of mentors received a raise – versus only 5% of managers who were not mentors.
  • Employees who received mentoring were promoted FIVE times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.
  • Mentors were SIX times more likely to have been promoted to a bigger job.

Mentoring is one of the most under-utilized tools in a company’s toolbox. Mentoring can provide Gen Ys with an understanding of the company culture and invaluable advice on how to manage their career. A successful mentoring program can have life long ROI.

If companies want to engage and retain Millennials, succession planning must include building their confidence, providing constructive feedback and mentoring programs that help them navigate the company culture.

Today, the average employee is 42 years old before they receive leadership training and according to a study by Jack Zenger written up at the Harvard Business Review, people usually start supervising others at around age 30. For Gen Y, companies cannot afford to wait and must start investing in their future leaders now!

Elisa Webb Hill

Elisa is a workforce strategy and innovation expert. Prior to becoming a speaker and trainer, she held senior roles in such notable companies as Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, and Federated Department Stores. She brings these executive management insights to her presentations, helping organizations navigate workforce shifts, engage young professionals, and implement future-focused talent strategies.

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