Today’s volatile, complex, and uncertain economic environment has flattened traditional corporate hierarchies. Businesses are placing increasing value on employees who can take the initiative to make pivotal decisions that align with corporate strategy. More than ever, companies are expanding traditional C-Suite leadership training to ensure more employees have the leadership, technical and interpersonal skills to help them succeed.
Yet, 40% of organizations have no leadership training program or succession plan. What’s the cost of this leadership oversight? Public companies have shown losses of up to $1.8 billion in shareholder value while hunting for leadership replacements. More unfortunate is that much of the costs and upheavals could have been avoided.
Yet, good leadership training can make a significant impact on ROI. The brokerage firm Pershing, for example, reduced its incident response time by 50 percent in the first year after restructuring its service desk to IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) guidelines. Also, Lean Six Sigma goes beyond efficiency by helping organizations build a culture of trust and empowers employees to become problem solvers.
Preparing for the Baby Boomer Exit
The lack of leadership and development training becomes more alarming when you consider that the number of Baby Boomers retiring is climbing higher than it has in decades. Their exodus opens the door for Millennials to step into these vacant leadership roles. As the largest living generation in the U.S. today, by 2025, more Millennials than Boomers will be in leadership positions across all industries.
The Case for Strong Leadership Training
In addition to the talent gap left behind as Baby Boomers retire, businesses today also need their teams trained to lead far more digitally complex challenges than their predecessors did. Today’s companies grapple with digital transformation projects, including cloud technology and cybersecurity issues, often comprising vendors and external partners. Today’s leaders need technical and leadership training that prepares their teams to orchestrate cross-functional collaborative solutions
Tailor Leadership and Development Training to Engage Workers
Organizations seeking to close this training gap through leadership and development training must do so to engage workers in a congruent way with their core values. For example, leadership training, in essence, must recognize that Millennials are more interested in training that helps them grow professionally as individuals while moving them closer to their goal of building camaraderie and for the greater good of society.
A PwC global study on Millennials identified some of the vital distinctions that we can use to ensure training opportunities attract and retain Millennials while ensuring they have the skills to drive transformational growth.
- Work-Life Balance
Millennials expect work to be meaningful and fulfilling and are unwilling to sacrifice monetary compensation for lack of work-life balance. Millennials want flexible working arrangements and would instead rewards be based on results rather than the number of hours worked.
- Make a Positive Impact on the World
Millennials place a high value on society and customer satisfaction and want to be inspired by a company’s mission. The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z survey found that they “want a better planet, a fairer system, a kinder humanity—and they’re ready to help make that happen.” Fifty-six percent would consider leaving an employer that didn’t have their expected values.
- Online, Anytime, Anywhere
As a digital-first generation, Millennials value instant access to information and expect their training opportunities to be delivered digitally, with the flexibility they need to incorporate learning around their schedule and lifestyle. The PwC survey also found that Millennials value the opportunity to work with strong coaches and mentors and would place a high value on mentorship programs.
- Flat Corporate Structure
Leadership skills emphasize collaboration and teamwork, viewing leadership roles as opportunities to lead a project or a campaign rather than a department. They favor creating internal specialist roles rather than specific manager roles.
- Cross-Functional Training
A flatter organizational chart means that Millennials expect department silos to be broken down, giving way to the need for cross-functional training for competency for different specialist roles. Organizations need to consider their leadership and development programs to be continuous experiences.
Priming the Next Wave of Leadership
Today’s workers value learning as a critical aspect of career development and the opportunity to have good mentors in place. Leadership training and personal development programs allow organizations to prepare employees with needed skills for new responsibilities and serve as a holistic strategy to ensure continued growth.