More than 850 C-suite leaders recently participated in a survey by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) focused on exploring themes around the next generation of executive talent. Survey respondents ranked the following five considerations as the top ways their organisations can attract and retain next generation executive talent into the future.
Global business leaders prioritise development as the top attraction and retention objective across all sectors. “Leadership is the key component to growth and development. An executive talent pool has to be grown and mentored to move any mission forward,” stated a United States-based Division Head in the Pharmaceutical industry.
Gen X and Millennial talent represent significantly more diverse workforce than their Baby Boomer predecessors. They desire organisational cultures that are reflective of society and customers. While Gen X as a group may gravitate more to meritocratic cultures than Millennials, both groups place high value on collaboration and organisational cultures where everyone has a voice. Both Gen X and Millennial talent also understand the importance of diverse backgrounds and perspectives and how a climate that is conducive to that fosters innovation.
Today’s business leaders understand that in order to attract and retain top next generation talent, their organisational cultures must not only espouse inclusivity, it must actually foster it. In the AESC survey, business leaders ranked ‘build diverse and inclusive culture’ as the second top way for their organisations to attract and retain next generation talent. The next generation of executive talent views diversity and inclusion differently than their predecessors.
They have a more holistic viewpoint that includes gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, but also cognitive diversity, placing great value on differing backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Gen X, and even more so for Millennials, value the unique identities based on the collection of experiences of individuals.
“Diversity of thinking will be core to sustaining the growth and performance of the business,” commented a Chief Marketing Officer in the Logistics sector in the United Kingdom.
Next generation talent values difference and constructive conflict. They want to be challenged and understand that constantly being challenged fosters creativity and leads to breakthroughs. When organisational leaders assess cultural fit for next generation talent, they will need to adjust assumed approaches, understand the value of constructive conflict, and be highly aware of unconscious bias.
It is not enough to talk organisational mission and values for next generation talent. Organisations must demonstrate they live those values, starting in the C-suite and proliferating throughout the organisation. Gen X’s no-nonsense approach and Millennials bent for social responsibility attract both groups to organisational cultures that are values- driven and authentic. Gen X is known for their sleuthing, penchant for research and skepticism. They will investigate a brand across channels and if your organisation does not present a message of transparency that is cohesive and believable, you will not win their trust.
Likewise, for Millennials, they will be looking for a reflection of their values and having that mirrored in a way that speaks to them authentically, and part of that authenticity is both “getting” and responsibly contributing to the world they live in. Next generation talent will see through any masquerading and will shun organisations that just focus on their bottom line without any focused thought or strategy on how they impact society.
Building a mission-driven culture ranked globally as the third top way organisations can attract and retain next generation executive talent. In order to do it, organisations will have to speak their language but also demonstrate – through action – how they are exuding those values.
Next generation executive talent is entrepreneurial and influenced greatly by startup culture. Some of today’s biggest new economy companies were founded by Gen X-ers, and Millennials are quickly following behind. Silicon Valley and Technology sector organisations have greatly influenced what Gen X and Millennial talent have come to expect from their employers and the brands they represent.
Next generation executive talent will not respond well to organisations or industries with cultures that feel stuck with old or outdated approaches. Business leaders surveyed ranked a focus on innovation among the top five ways their organisations can best attract and retain next generation talent.
“Though our company is global, in Japan, we are not global in mindset and innovation. Therefore, understanding challenges of the future and building local talent, as well as retaining that talent, is a priority,” commented an executive in Japan’s Technology sector.
Gen X and Millennial leaders understand that diversity and an inclusive culture greatly position organisations for innovation, and they will expect this. Organisations that want to attract and retain next generation talent will need to think carefully about how to diversify their organisations and build cultures that foster inclusivity and connect that directly with their ability to innovate in the marketplace.
Next generation leaders will be looking to streamline process. Both Gen X and Millennials have grown up with technology improving the way they live and work. They will expect organisations looking to attract and retain them to use technology and digital platforms smartly to connect globally dispersed teams, to quickly access performance analytics, and to improve internal efficiency so they can work faster and be more nimble. Leveraging technology was ranked by global C-suite executives in the top ten ways they can attract and retain nextgen talent. Unsurprisingly, it ranked in the top three among executives in the Technology sector.
For Gen X, there is perhaps nothing more they dislike in the workplace than having their time wasted, so they are consistently looking to eliminate unnecessary protocol and procedures, or finding ways to use technological solutions for routine or less strategic tasks that chip away their time. For Millennials, any lack of technological leverage will cloud their image of your organisation and leave an impression that the culture is behind the times and not relevant.
Next generation executive talent also understands how susceptible today’s organisations are to technological disruption and they will be most attracted to organisational cultures that constantly employ technological solutions to deliver better products and services for their customers, faster, more intuitively and on an increasingly personalised level.
Contact us for more information about how Morgan Young can help optimise your talent management strategies to help attract and retain next generation executives to prepare your organisation for the future.