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How to lead the leaders of the future

Corporate | Published 30/08/2019

Millennials – born between 1980 and 1994 – will make up 50% of the UK’s workforce by 2020, and it’s thought this will rise to 75% by 2025. They are tech-savvy, eager for new experiences, and thrive on short-term goals. But how can companies get the best out of their Millennial employees, and support them to be the CEOs, COOs and CFOs of the future?

Research has found that there’s a massive disconnect between this generation and Baby Boomers. This could lead to disengagement, retention issues, and a reduction in productivity, as well as stifling creativity and innovation.

Obviously tackling this threat is key to making sure a business can maximise productivity, quality, customer satisfaction, and profitability. So it pays to consider the characteristics and preferences that Millennials tend to display.

The way Jeff Dewing, CEO of Cloudfm sees it is that there are six key areas that should be focused upon to attract, retain and boost Millennial talent:


While tailored opportunities must be made available, it should be the employee who takes ownership of their own personal and professional development. Soft skills are an area worth focusing upon, especially those which will help Millennials build bridges with colleagues of different ages.


Transparency is key. To maximise their engagement, Millennials benefit from being able to learn and understand as much as possible about their employer and the place of their role within the bigger picture. In turn, Millennial leaders will take a transparent approach to communicating with their team, to keep them aware and fully engaged in business decisions.


Rather than the traditional ‘chain of command’ where information is sent from the top down, a flatter structure suits the Millennial generation. Working directly with senior leaders and sharing authority and decision-making with them, means both sides can learn and develop. Mentoring – and reverse mentoring – programmes, and secondments to other departments, also help with collaboration and the sharing of ideas.


Meaningful work is key to job satisfaction for Millennials, but that’s not to say the work is its own reward. What’s also important to them is a sense of achievement and a feeling that they are respected and valued, as well as career progression, so recognition of their accomplishments should include both praise and promotion.


With a flatter structure, staff are empowered to make decisions themselves, rather than having to pass proposals up the line and wait for sign-off.


Millennials don’t want to be wage slaves – work/life balance and the ability to manage work more flexibly to allow for family commitments are important to them. Also, flexible packages which offer meaningful benefits, such as profit-sharing, will please Millennials. And it’s just as important to support them in their personal life, so things like health and wellness services or useful discounts are a fantastic plus.

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