Succession planning has usually been considered to be about making sure a company runs smoothly through transition, but now, organizations are realizing it’s about so much more.
As is turns out, employees want to know what the plan is. In a recent study reported that 62% of employees said they would be “significantly more engaged” with a succession plan in place.
So not only do employees want succession planning, they thrive on it.
Just like any other part of your business, it’s critical to adjust to the newest generation to hit the work scene. Millennials are now the generation making up the largest percentage of the workforce so you don’t just need to be thinking about succession planning, you need to be thinking about millennial succession planning.
Follow our three tips to help get your millennial succession planning on point.
3 Tips for Effective Millennial Succession Planning
1. Identify the Right Leaders
Choosing the right employees to focus on during succession planning has always been a challenge, but with millennials it’s a whole new ball game.
Previously, finding the right interested party was the challenge. With millennials, leaders are facing the challenge of looking out into a sea of hands raised in the air, with everyone shouting “me, me, me!”
An astounding 91% of millennials aspire to be leaders. Which means you’ll be harder pressed to find a millennial who DOESN’T want to be a part of your succession plan, than one who does.
While this might seem like a phenomenal problem to have, the data is a little bit of a tease. This 91% may look like an oasis is a desert talent pool of talent, but these millennials can quickly turn into a mirage if you don’t handle them right.
Why? Because even though they’re interested, 66% don’t see themselves staying at your company for an extended period. Millennials want it all, but not if they have to wait around for it. Your challenge as a leader is to not only identify millennials who could make great potential leaders, but identify which ones are willing to stick around with the right incentives and development.
The best way to do this is to have honest, one-on-one conversations about the future and potential opportunities for growth. Be honest about your interest in them, they’ll feel like they’re a part of the inner circle, and they’ll appreciate being clued in.
2. Develop a Clear Plan
Where other generations may have thought waiting 5-7 years for a promotion was totally reasonable, to millennials, that’s a lifetime. In fact, they could have had 4 different jobs within that timespan, and many of them do.
You need to accelerate your leadership development plan to keep millennials interested. But you also can’t alienate other generations, or promote a 25 year old with no experience to the role of CEO.
So how do you play both sides of the fence?
One of the easiest ways is to break down larger promotions into smaller, but more frequent, role changes. Instead of waiting 7 years for a change, you may offer your millennial employees a “promotion” every 1-1.5 years, even if it mostly consists of a change in title.
The beauty of the matter is, millennials care more about development and flexibility than money. In fact, 45% of millennials actually prefer workplace flexibility over pay. They may end up at the exact same end salary with 4 small promotions as they would have with 1 large promotion, but they’ll be much happier.
A sense of continued development and success keeps millennials motivated, but you need to be clear about your plan.
Millennials aren’t going to stick around for 2 years to get “surprised” with a promotion. They want to know what’s coming, what the requirements are, and if they’re measuring on track to succeed.
However you break down your new leadership development track, make sure to clue your millennials in.
3. Stay Connected
Just like it’s critical to let your millennials in on the plan from the beginning, it’s important to stay connected to them throughout the process.
That means a lot more touch points than you have with other employees. If you usually only talk to your regular employees at half time, think of your millennials as needing every time out possible.
Find extra opportunities to spend with these special millennial candidates by:
- Incorporating more one-on-one sessions into your schedule
- Setting regular, standing coaching sessions
- Connecting your millennials with other leaders they can learn from
- Upping the regularity of your annual reviews
If investing more time in employee feedback sounds like a drag, just remember, the proof is in the pudding. According to a recent study, most millennials prefer feedback on a monthly basis. If you want players for your millennial succession planning program, you’d better give them what they want. Find time to invest in regularly connecting with these employees, they may be the future of your company after all.