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Succession planning has been a staple in the professional arena for decades.

Identifying and forming new leaders is crucial for the long-term success of any business. But, with a new generation gearing up to rule the workforce, it may be time for a fresh approach to the traditional succession planning process.

In 2015, the Pew Research Center identified millennials as the largest generation in the American workforce, making up more than a third of today’s employees. Many millennials currently occupy managerial positions in their organizations, and with their current ages spanning 20 – 36, that won’t be changing any time soon.

Traditional succession planning relies on career paths that develop over decades, often resulting in tenured leaders with 20 or 30 years of organizational experience. If millennials were following these norms, then re-thinking leadership development wouldn’t be as urgent.

However, according to Forbes, the average millennial expects to stay at their job for only 3 years. Along the same lines, additional research suggests only 16% of millennials can see themselves staying with their current organization for 10 years.

That begs the question – how do you develop a strategic succession plan for your business around a generation “known” for their high turnover rates?

Below we share our “Top 3 Tips To Get Millennials To Stay At Your Business” to help you successfully and strategically plan for the future of your organization.

Strategic Succession Planning helps you to avoid costly disruptions and maximize the effectiveness of your business operations during your key personnel transitions.

If you’re interested in learning how a succession plan might benefit your business, check out our Strategic Succession Planning Service here or give us a call at 502.753.0970.

Top 3 Tips To Get Millennials To Stay At Your Business

1. Create Opportunities To “Level Up”

You might be wondering what causes so many young people to “job hop.” Is it laziness? Apathy? Disinterest?

While these suspicions are reasonable, they aren’t usually what drive millennials to seek new positions.

The Millennial Leadership Survey, conducted in 2015, discovered that 91% of millennials aspire to be leaders.

Millennials have been heralded for their ambition, passion and intelligence, and are one of the most highly educated, technologically savvy generations to date.

Stagnation in their career often conflicts with their eagerness to excel and rise through the ranks, which traditionally takes years to accomplish.

If your young leaders have to wait 5 years before their first promotion, it’s likely that they will be whisked away by another organization promising greater challenges and growth.

To combat this stagnation and increase retention, consider creating intermediate levels within the roles of your organization to allow for faster promotions and movement within the career path.

For example, instead of promoting from manager to vice president over 5 years, you could promote to new levels every 2-3 years. A possible path could move from manager to junior vice president to vice president to senior vice president.

If your organization is flatter, and does not have many layers of management, consider implementing a career path that includes levels within the job title itself.

For example, Designer 1, Designer II and Senior Designer.  Each level may require specific years of experience or license/certification.

The average millennial will appreciate the opportunity to “level up,” even if it primarily means a title change and slight compensation increase.

It might feel like you’re just adding unnecessary bureaucracy, but that’s not the case if the positions add value to your business and keep your young leaders invested.

2. Provide Performance Feedback Frequently

Through succession planning, employers seek to discover which of their employees have leadership potential. Performance evaluations are a great tool for identifying top talent within your existing team.

But, if 3 years is the average retention rate for millennials, then by their first annual performance review, they may already be browsing for new opportunities and considering other organizations.

Limiting performance feedback to an annual review means you risk losing your most promising future leaders before you have a chance to invite them into your long-term plans.

Providing more frequent feedback through monthly or quarterly performance conversations reminds your aspiring leaders that their work and future success have momentum.

This frequent feedback is especially important to millennials, who are generally more likely to be loyal to a company where their talents are developed and acknowledged.

Regular performance conversations also enable an ongoing discussion of the benchmarks that are being met and the development goals that need to be set. This typically results in a more accurate, comprehensive performance overview that will help you to identify the leaders in your organization.

By investing your time into frequent performance feedback, you increase the likelihood of fostering a talented team of promising leaders for your future business. Talk about returns!

3. Increase Leadership Development

It’s likely that you have a few high-potential young adult employees working for you right now.

Do you know who they are? Which leadership positions they could fill? If they’re even interested?

Through frequent performance discussions, these potential successors will become evident, but without proper preparation, even the most promising candidates might not be successful leaders.

Creating a leadership development program for your millennial successors will help them to engage in their current role, invest in the company’s mission, and prepare for their future responsibilities.

Quality leadership development programs will also identify and address competency gaps, which helps the organization to prepare for unexpected personnel changes. When a key position becomes vacant, you will already have a team of young professionals primed to step up and take the reins.

The leadership development program you create for your potential successors should be tailored to your organization’s particular needs and values. A sampling of beneficial topics might include:

  • Intrapersonal Skills: managing time, efficiency, & negative behavior
  • Interpersonal Skills: relationship development, attitude & outlook adjustments
  • Organizational Skills: strategic planning, leadership strengths & weaknesses

Proactively training your millennial leaders will help deepen their commitment to your business while simultaneously equipping the organization to navigate important personnel transitions.

Strategic Succession Planning

A solid succession plan can assist with business continuity, tap the potential for intellectual capital in the organization, and improve employee morale.

No matter the age of your current or future leadership team, developing a strategic succession plan will maximize the success of your business during key transitions.

Our Strategic Succession Planning Service helps your business to identify critical jobs, potential successors and skills gaps while providing employees with insight into available career goals.

If you’re interested in learning how a succession plan might benefit your business, check out our Strategic Succession Planning Service here or give us a call at 502.753.0970.

about the author: Integrity HR

    Integrity HR's human resources blog is filled with expert advice (and sassy commentary) on those everyday employment issues that give business owners and managers HR headaches. From tips on how to retain key employees to how to write your dress code policy, our blog has all the HR resources you need.

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