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Why is a dynamic shift in Leadership necessary in today’s economy and labor market? Specifically how will tomorrow’s leader become what the next generation needs? What exactly is so important about responding now? Here we discover why you need the millennials, identify what they can do for you and how you can attract their abundant talent to you.

Demographic Shift

Currently we sit upon the precipice of a tidal shift in how our organizations look and operate. Baby boomers (born 1946 – 1964), the largest demographic in recent history with 78 million strong, had an incredibly significant influence on the workforce of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Strength in numbers continues to be personified in the Boomer Demographic, as they ease into retirement or encore careers over the next 5 years. As the economy improves many Boomers are maximizing their pensions and retirement accounts and moving on.

Mature workers dominate (60% of most public sector entities, slightly less in the private industry) the current landscape of most workforces and it’s those who are mature “heavy” that will be especially effected. If we are looking for the generation behind the boomers to salvage a lack of planning, forget it. There are simply not enough in sheer numbers to fill nearly all the boomer vacated roles. (GEN X, born 1965-1985) Generation X only has 36 million persons while Boomers are 78 million strong. Take that difference in size and add 17 million more jobs being added to the economy over the next 5 years and one can easily see there will be a major talent shortage, not just in the public sector but the entire national workforce.

Believe it or not our saving grace is the Millennial Generation. Millennials, (1986-2006) are the next largest generational cohort, with 77 million persons.

 The Principles Remain and the Approach Continues to Change:

 5 Challenges and Changes Expected 

Yet in the challenges and change become exponential for corporations as they determine how to maintain operations, client relationships and leadership in a state of massive flux; a rapid change caused by new technology and new workforce structures, mass turnover of top level positions, development of new leaders and shifting of current culture to attract new talent, with new value sets.

  • Social media and crowd sourcing have been adopted as recruiting tools for their wide reach and minimal costs. Long gone are the days of “posting and praying” for quality candidates. Savvy talent acquisition and management methods will be required along with adept abilities in relationship management, career marketing and identifying passive talent. Most importantly will be a renewed focus on alignment of passion, skills and mission.
  • Cultural and Personality fit will begin to have greater importance as Leaders begin to recognize the revenue and market share resulting from relationships, personality and trust, the use of pre-hire personality-based assessment tools will certainly increase as a result. The difference maker in a market bloated with choices continues to be a culture of customer service. Personality assessments allow for identification of a natural disposition of your employment candidates, the differentiating characteristic that could prove to be the quality hire you desire or avoid the costly bad hire you don’t! Many assessments even offer benchmarking capabilities that considers organizational culture, geographic region and organizational values.  Using a benchmark expedites the screening process and doubles as a tool to ensure that the candidates with the highest qualifications and maximum cultural fit will be given an interview. Consequently the organization saves a tremendous amount of money and secures their highly valuable investment, the NEW HIRE.  (contact me for a sample P-60, Personality Assessment)
  • Succession Planning with a focus on capture of institutional knowledge and not just person replacement, will take priority as organizations lose most of their upper-level management due to retirement. Only 45% of corporations have formal succession planning in place. Most are the large fortune 500 organizations, where a large workforce dictates a great deal of formality and structure. However, the greatest concern lies with the smaller organizations where one or only a few people in the organization actually know how the company is run. This quarter to quarter, survival mode must shift to one of long term and conscious planning to yield continuance, let alone continuance of success.
  • Leadership development will take precedence, as many of the formal and informal leaders of organizations retire. Leadership principles and the relationship based approach of boomers is un-natural to the transaction-based approach of GEN X and Gen Y- (Millennials) and therefore will require a great deal of development in leadership theory, principles and practices.
  • Cultures will be redefined, as many companies seek to become the kind of workforce that will attract the next generation of talent. Top leaders will be replaced and with them a new set of values and ways of being, redefining the culture. The shift will be most significant for those coming from a traditional workforce model. Others, who are currently stakeholder oriented, with a flatter hierarchy and more collaborative workforce model, will require less change in perspective.

Attracting the Millennials

Stop resisting, you need them… and we all know early adopters are typically best poised to benefit the most! Sheer numbers dictate the need, however well beyond that are the benefits of incredible technical skills, flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions and being civically minded; this group wants to make a big difference in the world!

What the Millennials want:

  • To make a difference and be in roles to create impact (leadership)

The Shift:

Does your work model allow new, entry level staff to have an impact and be groomed for leadership? Do you have internal career map models that demonstrate upward mobility opportunities to continue to challenge and retain your best and brightest talent?

  1. To have work life balance, flexible scheduling and flexible work conditions

The Shift: Traditional work structures with core work hours and little flexibility will struggle to attract Millennials. This group can and will work remotely and accomplish assignments quickly. The processes will require trust, transparent expectations and targeted goal setting.

2. To have recognition and respect

The Shift: The “Pay your dues” mentality is lost on this generation. Boomers and Leaders who enforce this mindset will lose out on millennial talent if they do not adapt to a servant leadership model vs. a command and control model of leadership, which typically amounts to, “I’m your boss, that’s why” reasoning. It’s a manager or leaders’ role to maximize the potential of an individual’s talent and align that with the mission of the organization. We reduce any potential of having the whole person engaged by not respecting what they have to offer, when they have it to offer. Rather than operate from a limiting and controlling mentality of “pay your dues, take on the mundane assignments and eventually, you will be recognized and move up”, Millennials want an impact now and will have no problem jumping from job to job until they find that opportunity.

I invite you to make the shift and grab the early adopter benefits of ensuring your culture and leadership attract a new generation of talent.

Ryan McShane
HR Evolution, LLC
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Ryan McShane is the President/CEO of HR Evolution, LLC a consulting firm specializing in Human Resources, Leadership Development and Career Transitions Consulting. Prior to that, Ryan worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, learning the various cultural norms, principles and practices of each sector and applying that learning to create High Performance Leaders and Organizations today throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania. Ryan is also the immediate past president for the largest Local SHRM Chapter in the state of Maryland, Chesapeake Human Resource Association, (CHRA). Ryan’s professional affiliations include serving on the Board of Chesapeake Human Resource Association (CHRA), Board member and Membership Director of Hunt Valley Business Forum, a founding member of Conscious Capitalism- Central Maryland, a Member of York, PA’s local SHRM chapter, a Member of UMBC’s Instructional Systems Development (ISD) Advisory Board, and a former Member of the Boomer Council, an advisory council focusing on civic engagement and mature workforce strategies. Ryan is passionate about creating and leveraging existing tools and systems to enable both individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential through greater awareness and a conscious approach to workforce management, honoring all stakeholders, wherein equal consideration is given to People, Planet and Profit.