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Leadership Development Best practices to meet the needs of next generation leaders By Rayanne Thorne The nature of the workforce is changing – as baby boomers continue to retire; they are replaced by younger workers with new skillsets and different ideas about what they expect from their employers. Moreover, employees of any age continue to demand greater flexibility in how they work, spurring the prevalence of telecommuting policies and causing more companies to embrace a contingent workforce of part-time employees and independent contractors. At the same time, as more organizations extend their talent searches beyond their own borders, many companies find themselves with a growing global talent base. All of these factors have made performance management more complicated, especially in terms of succession planning and ensuring that high-potential employees receive the necessary support to become their company’s next great leaders. For greatest success, the company must look throughout its workforce and identify top performers across the enterprise, whether new or more experienced, in the office or working from home, or located anywhere across its multinational operations. As a result, the company will be able to improve the engagement and retention levels of their best talent, while ensuring they receive the training and development to become successful leaders. To ensure a robust and effective leadership development strategy, organizations must embrace the tools, processes and strategies that will help to identify top talent, determine where their skills will be most effective in the organization and provide the proper nurturing and development. Consider the following best practices that can help any organization meet the needs of the next generation of leaders: • Be open to change – Taking a traditional approach to leadership development will likely bring about the same results as before or, as employee needs and expectations continue to change, a decline in performance if those needs are not met. It is necessary to understand that building solid bench strength and grooming leaders is a long-term commitment requiring the ability to adapt to the changing needs of the workforce. • Embrace flexibility – Implementing formal and informal policies that promote work-life integration can lead to greater job satisfaction, increased loyalty and a more empowered and motivated workforce. In addition, offering freedom of device choice and social media usage are essential to helping younger workers be more effective in their roles. • Tap into what’s important – While looking at any workforce demographic as a whole can result in some generalizations, employee skills, capabilities, attitudes and preferences differ from region to region. By surveying the workforce of each location, the company can understand the needs of each group, see how they are being met and identify where there are opportunities to learn and grow. • Embrace collaboration – Teamwork and connectivity have emerged as some of the most important elements for employees of any age or level of experience to facilitate innovative ideas. As such, the organization should integrate collaborative technologies that give employees more flexibility and improve their ability to navigate across organizational siloes and boundaries. At the same time, establishing mentoring programs can help with knowledge sharing across generations, with baby boomer employees supporting the transfer of information to the next leaders. • Increase transparency – Providing insight into career and compensation decisions will help to increase employee involvement and enable employees to have more control over their careers. Moreover, with increased visibility into talent, the company can facilitate more productive performance discussions and ensure that development opportunities align with business priorities and personal goals. • Increase talent mobility – Giving employees the opportunity to experience other areas of the business, whether different divisions or countries, will help them embrace and adapt to diverse cultures. Rotational assignments or a formalized talent mobility program can help employees develop their leadership competencies and disciplinary expertise to advance their careers and add value to the business. • Take an integrated approach to talent management – The ability to manage the full spectrum of available resources requires a total talent approach that incorporates global and local requirements simultaneously. The best system is one that delivers visibility across the business while enabling organizations to better identify their high-potential employees and build a sustainable leadership pipeline. As workforce demographics and employee needs and expectations continue to evolve, organizations must rethink the way they prepare the next generation of talent for leadership positions. Since leadership development touches every element of talent management, including learning, performance management, compensation, succession planning and talent mobility, companies will benefit from implementing an integrated system to unify all of these complex data sets. When combined with the strategies above, such a system will enable a better understanding of the company’s top-performing employees and help define the processes for developing them into effective leaders. LE Rayanne Thorn is Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy at Technomedia. She is responsible for developing strategies, tactics, and programs that create interest, drive demand and recognition for Technomedia and its talent management suite of products, creating innovative product marketing strategies and identifying new markets and opportunities to meet aggressive growth goals. As an accomplished blogger, Thorne shares her thought leadership and industry expertise in the area of digital recruitment on Blogging4Jobs Visit www.technomedia.com 43 leadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 04.2014


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