Demographic changes are quickly transforming the U.S. labor force. Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) have become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and they will grow by 30% over the next 5 years.
Surprisingly, 50% of Millennials are already in leadership positions, and 41% have four or more direct reports. But according to “Engaging Millennials through Leadership Development” a report by leadership training firm Virtuali Inc., companies are not adequately preparing these emerging leaders.
“Moving from an individual contributor to a team leader is one of the most difficult professional transitions a person can make,” explains Virtuali CEO Sean Graber. “Key leadership skills – communication, collaboration, and the ability to manage – are requisites for all employees, regardless of level.”
However, over 60% of survey respondents reported receiving 10 hours of leadership training or less over the past 12 months. They also reported that the “mix” of training activities was inadequate, with too much emphasis placed on e-Learning and not enough placed on “experience-based” activities, such as job rotations, special assignments, and externships.
The report also found that leadership development opportunities have a large impact on Millennials’ engagement. One survey respondent noted, “Being given the freedom to take on leadership roles is a major factor in my job satisfaction. When I am expected to stay within the boundaries of my job description, I lose motivation and my performance tends to suffer.”
The report outlines additional findings, including:
- 96% of Millennials believe it is important to be a leader in their career, and 95% believe it is important for companies to provide leadership development activities.
- 72% of Millennials already consider themselves to be leaders, despite the fact that only 48% report having a formal leadership role.
- Millennials value people-centric leadership. They rate communication, the ability to build relationships, and the ability to develop others as the most important leadership skills.
- The most prevalent leadership development activities included: self-assessments, coaching/mentorship, instructor-led classes, and e-Learning. The most desired activities included: coaching/mentorship, rotations/special assignments, and externships.