When seeking advice on next-generation talent, we decided the best place to start would be talking to our very own. AESC recently had a discussion with 30 of the top young professionals in executive search across the globe—from Warsaw to Washington D.C., São Paolo to Shanghai— and asked them what clients should do to develop next-generation talent within their own organizations. Here’s what they said were the best ways to deliver your young leaders and our advice on how to implement it:


next generation talent

1. Focused Development on Next Generation Leaders

Targeted training for next-generation talent is the top suggestion to developing your own future leaders according to next-generation search consultants, and for good reason. Millennials say they prefer development training ahead of any other work benefits—including monetary benefits and additional vacation. But, it’s also important how you train them. According to a report by AESC member Spencer Stuart, only 25% of training programs will make impactful behavioral changes in employees. They determined the key to successful programs is making them honed specifically to the needs of the young professionals while taking into consideration the context, their future potential in the organization, and the overall team. 


2. Empowering Top Talent:


Once your next-gen leaders have learned skills and best practices, it’s important to give them the independence to utilize and grow those skills. Application is one best way to ensure your next-generation talent is prepared to take the reins when the time comes in your organization’s succession plan. At their own places of work, next-generation executive search consultants say that having companies and mentors that challenged them was key to their own success. Executive search is a field that requires a lot of on-the-job learning and having a company that “challenged me and pushed me into deeper water than I felt comfortable in” was key in their own success according to one next-generation search consultants.


3. Creating more diverse and inclusive leadership


Gen Xers, and Millennials in particular, grew up in the most diverse generations in history, not only racially and economically, but also in terms of beliefs and ways of thinking. They value organizations who reflect this internally. Companies can also benefit from having more diverse, inclusive workplaces. As one of our next generation consultants said about their own industry, “everything moves fast now and we need to be creative—we need diversity for that. We need to keep thinking of new ways to serve our clients and that’s where diversity really plays a role—diverse teams, diverse ways of thinking.”


4. Provide international and cross-cultural opportunities


The Digital Age has created an interconnected world and provided corporations the opportunity to expand more easily than ever. Giving next-generation talent the opportunity to work abroad can be key in their development as a future leader in a global organization’s succession plan. Millennials and Gen Xers are already comfortable with learning from other cultures after spending their formative years during the rise of social media where one can connect with anyone in the world simply with the click of the mouse. Working in different cultures can help them hone their leadership skills prepare them to think about the organization more broadly when they return home and ascend into an executive role.


5. Include Next Generation Talent in decision making


One issue causing retention problems for organizations globally is young talent does not always believe there is a future for them at their current organizations. According to the Conference Board, fewer than 25 percent of millennials think they will be able to move to a higher leadership role. To show them they have a future at your organization and ensure it will not falter with the passing of the baton, establish a strong succession plan, and include next-generation talent in future planning decisions. Having next-gen leaders who understand the company’s mission and that has a say in the direction it’s headed, they are more apt to stay and continue on the legacy of the firm long after the Baby Boomer generation has left.


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