For organizational success, it is important to actively encourage and nurture future leaders, through strategies that motivate them. With the advent of Industry 4.0, where machines are learning at a rapid pace and communicating with each other to make decisions with minimal human input, the traditional bureaucratic style of training needs to move on to a more growth-centric style.
There is also a growing acceptance of the fact that leadership development should not be restricted to a chosen few hierarchies. In the age of digital workplaces, employees across the board will be expected to make consequential decisions that align with the business objectives and work culture. This means that all employees need training in the right technical, communication and relationship skills, in addition to routine on-the-job training.
In fact, a Deloitte survey reveals that 6 in 10 millennials leave their jobs within just 2 years, citing the primary reason as their leadership skills not being developed by the company. Where better to seek the next generation of leaders than among the in-house talent, people who are already tuned into the company’s vision?
Identifying Future Leaders
Here are two primary ways to spot the leaders of tomorrow.
- Identifying Potential
The first step in maximizing employee potential is ensuring effective corporate training. The next step is to be able to use analytics to assess how each learner has benefitted from the training modules. When you have the means to make predictive assessments with the use of robust analytics, identifying employees with the right skills and potential to be future leaders becomes easier. Such tools also help by eliminating the possibility of human bias coloring leadership choices. In addition, when these analytics can be customized, based on the specific qualities or skills that an organization looks for in leaders, it can become a very powerful predictive tool.
For instance, you might want future leaders to handle change effectively for the company. This might include learning new skills, new technologies and more. Change and the need to learn are a reality of the intensely competitive corporate world today. Key learning analytics can pinpoint employees who make the most progress in learning, search for various types of relevant content, adding to their learning from the basic training modules.
- Identifying Achievers
Performance is a good indicator of leadership potential, but it is important to track an employee’s desire and aptitude to grow, nurture a long-term vision, help team members grow and possess effective communication skills to influence all levels of the organization.
Employees who are keen on developing such skills have true leadership potential. By tracking employee participation in training and development initiatives and evaluating other metrics, such as time taken to complete a training module, other associated content consumpted, how in-depth they went for a specific topic, etc., one can evaluate their ambition to perform at their best in a fast-paced business environment.
Training Initiatives Need to Align with Employee Aspirations
To nurture the leaders of tomorrow, it is important to create a learning environment that exposes potential leaders to areas outside their immediate job functions. In addition, identifying key industry trends and internal skill gaps need to be at the forefront of talent development initiatives, so as to prepare leaders to face the challenges of tomorrow.
To do that, content needs to be engaging and the mode of delivery needs to align with learner preferences. For instance, 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace today, while 49% want to learn at the point of need. While most modern organizations have already taken the digital route to train with the help of learning platforms, few are truly able to sync development opportunities with employee aspirations.
By tracking user preferences and past browsing and learning patterns, such platforms can suggest relevant content to employees, when and where they need it. This is in stark contrast to previous modes of learning, where the content was generalized, rather than personalized. In addition, when learning can happen when and where one wants it, without impacting productivity, it is a win-win situation for all concerned.
The role of talent development teams has never been easy. At the same time, the shelf life of skills has never been so short as it is today either. In this tightening labour market, businesses are already struggling to retain the best talent and fill in key positions to stay ahead of the curve. Is your L&D initiative equipped to nurture the leaders of tomorrow?
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