Strategies for Creating a C-Suite Leadership

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In order to recruit, train and retain young talent, employers must be willing to consider new leadership approaches and company policies.

As younger professionals begin to climb the corporate ladder, many companies are faced with the challenge of training and retaining employees while attracting top talent. This is particularly difficult in today’s work climate. Generation Z and millennial culture, in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, have changed traditional work patterns and normalized job changes. Young workers today are expected to change jobs – and even industry – several times in the course of their working lives.

Executives need to quickly adjust their expectations and organizational framework to meet the priorities of a new workforce that increasingly values ​​determination, flexibility and growth. The following four strategies can help relieve the growing pains you need:

Circle back to passion and purpose

Vanessa Akhtar, co-author

The generation of employees currently in entry-level and middle-level positions shows a clear interest in purpose-driven companies with greater ambitions than increasing annual sales. Whether it’s investing in sustainable practices or eliminating inequalities, they expect employers to take an active role in positive global change. Companies that persistently refuse to adapt risk losing the loyalty of Generation Z and Millennials who have no concerns about finding another job.

For young talents, a job is more than a source of income – it is an opportunity to drive change and pursue professional passions. Companies must be prepared to offer career paths with opportunities for growth and impact. For example, as diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts become increasingly tied to strategic imperatives, employee resource groups can be used to build community and create leadership opportunities for passionate employees at all levels to drive key initiatives. Fortunately, this has clear benefits for businesses. Employees who are passionate about their work – or at least what their company stands for – are much more likely to go the extra mile. This type of buy-in is critical to developing an engaged suite of future leaders.

A passionate, loyal workforce can also be used externally to drive recruiting. Potential new hires who see and feel employee satisfaction are more likely to accept a job offer. And committed employees are more likely to recruit talent from their personal networks. Cultivating a passionate and determined team can differentiate your company in a competitive hiring market.

Give your employees space for innovation

Providing time and space for innovation encourages employees to think beyond their current responsibilities and drive the changes they want. Rather than restricting employees to prescribed roles, you allow them to explore projects beyond their job description. Perhaps you can find a talented salesperson hidden in the bookkeeping department or a gifted speechwriter originally hired as a graphic designer. The emphasis on innovation can open up a world of opportunity for both workers and employers.

For employees who have to wait several years for a promotion or better performance, the opportunity to innovate can mean the difference between feeling stuck and feeling empowered to achieve long-term goals. Retaining talent becomes much easier when employees know that they can take risks and even fail while looking for exciting new ideas or products.

LinkedIn [in]cubator program, for example, enables employees to pitch projects in order to have the opportunity to work on them full-time for up to three months. This model is effective because it publicly rewards those who come up with good ideas, proves that the company values ​​thinking outside the box, and recognizes that there is always room for growth or other ways of doing things.

Shaun Spearmon, co-author

Enable and reward flexibility

As the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our rollout of workplace flexibility, Gen Z and Millennial experts are increasingly keeping their eye on customizable work arrangements. This is especially true for young parents or carers with domestic responsibilities. Companies increasingly have to face the “fusion” of work and life. With so many people working wholly or partially from home, the concept of work-life mix has never been more relevant.

Even positions that require personal work don’t need to be defined by traditional 9-to-5 expectations. It is equally important to be flexible about how and when to get the job done. Executives need to emphasize results versus activities and ask themselves: What are the actual business results desired? And what can flexibility look like within the job requirements?

See also: Gen Z longs for financial help. This is how the HR department can intervene

Once workplace flexibility protocols are in place, it is up to managers to ensure that they are followed. Saying that meetings shouldn’t be rescheduled after 7:00 p.m. is very different from canceling calls outside of business hours. Culture plays a big role in whether employees really accept flexibility. Creating an environment in which missing an early morning last minute meeting doesn’t mean missing a promotion is critical.

Use training and mentoring to build loyal leaders

As young professionals look to the future, most will seek careers with opportunities for advancement and a strong network of leaders to learn from. Training and mentoring programs have become valued perks for the next generation. Not only do they help nurture future leaders, they also demonstrate a company’s long-term commitment to its employees.

The skills that employees learn in training courses – which should also include soft skills, such as: B. How to manage change or build customer relationships – will empower them to make bigger and better contributions. A targeted mentoring program also offers considerable advantages, as it is one of the best ways to ensure early succession planning, create a feeling of togetherness among employees and promote strong collaboration at all levels. As a result, executives can expect much better retention rates.

Related: Development goals 2022 for success in a hybrid, remote world

The combination of these four approaches has proven successful for numerous organizations. Take our customer as an example, a company with one of the largest health databases in the United States. Executives sought to reinvigorate sales growth, outperform competitors and increase employee engagement in a complex market. By giving its employees the opportunity to innovate and the flexibility to try new things, the company saw a surge in engagement that directly translated into a significant surge in its share price. Reviving the purpose of their mission while teaching staff how to use urgency to carry it out further enhanced performance.

A new generation of employees requires a new approach to leadership and corporate policy. Determination, flexibility, innovation and further training have come to the fore. Engaging each individual is key to recruiting, training and retaining the right talent.

Vanessa Akhtar, Ed.D., is a director at Kotter, who works on the company’s most complex transformation projects and drives research and development. Her new co-authoring book Change describes how executives can use challenges and opportunities to bring about lasting change in the workplace. She can be reached at [email protected] Shaun Spearmon is a director at Kotter leading strategic planning, process improvement, and change management initiatives with clients in a variety of industries including technology, aerospace, pharmaceutical, retail, and financial services. He can be reached at [email protected]

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