Millennials & Beyond: Developing Your High-Potential Employees For A Post Covid Reality

Millennials might be the high-potential employees your organization needs to move forward following the Pandemic. It’s time to stop fighting it and prepare for it instead.

There was a point where I questioned if there are any advantages to being a Millennial in today’s world. Stereotypes portrayed them as entitled, lazy, and idealistic.

But You need to understand one thing – YOU NEED THEM!

The next generation of high-potential employees

Despite that, Millennials, Gen-Y, Gen-X, and soon enough, Gen-Z will be running your companies and organizations before you know it.

Are you ready? Are you preparing these bright and shiny, high-potential employees to be your company’s future leaders?

Do you remember being 20-something? We all had big dreams of how life and our career would unfold.

For me, it was many years ago, but there was no question that I would lead a great organization and achieve great things.

Are you writing off high-potential employees?

I am 100% certain that my old bosses thought I was a cocky little pipsqueak, wanting more, excessively eager, and not wanting to pay my dues.

Sound familiar to the conversations happening at work today? (Read about getting your boss off your back)

Millennials through Gen Z’s have been declared the “ME” generation. The impatient generation.

But let’s be fair; the only reason Baby-Boomers weren’t connected to the Internet was that it was science fiction.

As far as entitlement goes, I wanted the corner office so bad my teeth ached.

Wanting is good. Wanting something pushes us to develop more, achieve more, and create more.

If there are people in your organization that want to develop, create and achieve more, ask yourself this: what are you doing to give them more? Are you preparing them to be the high-potential employees your organization needs?

Are you preparing them to LEAD your company?

Developing high-potential employees

Here are nine actions to engage, retain, and develop your high-potential employees to do more, regardless of the generation:

1. Make the case.

Educate everyone about the importance of developing your high-potential employees.

Action: Host a lunch and learn about the topics that are changing the work landscape to help everyone understand.

2. Recognize high-potential employees.

Let the high-potential employees know they are high-potential.

Tell them so they realize their long-term impact on the company.

Action: Have the CEO or a respected leader meet the high-potential employees over lunch.

3. Big picture.

Younger generations genuinely want to know the reasoning behind why things are the way they are at work.

This is not acting entitled.

Action: Everyone wants to make an impact; take the time to show them how their projects, responsibilities, and future roles tie into the big picture.

4. Provide a map.

People want to be fulfilled and challenged in their careers, so show them the available career path to keep them engaged.

Action: Ask your high-potential employees where they would like to be long-term, tell them exactly how they can get there to see the available options, and an organizational commitment to their goals.

5. Emphasize “soft” business skills.

Soft skills are critical to workplace success, such as business etiquette, writing, initiative, time management, and conflict management are all incredibly important—yet these things are not taught in college.

Action: Make “business etiquette,” a component of your development and training initiatives.

6. Provide experiences.

Encourage your high-potential people to take on new projects and responsibilities.

And give them assignments to stretch their potential.

Action: Allow your high-potential employees to shadow someone else in the company to gain exposure to different aspects of the business and encourage them to join industry and professional organizations.

(While you’re here, be sure to check out Increase Your Emotional Intelligence To Be a Better Leader)

7. Invest.

The long-term success of your organization lies entirely in the hands of your high-potential employees.

So don’t ignore investing in your most valuable asset: your people.

Action: Offer at least one training session per quarter, and institute lunch and learns or roundtables to build on what the training session covered.

8. Mentor.

Give your high-potential employees someone to look up to so they know and trust authority.

Action: Encourage a culture where casual coaching and conversations are an everyday occurrence up and down your organization’s hierarchies.

9. Feedback and recognition.

Younger team members should be confident, but this doesn’t mean they don’t want to improve. Tell them how they’re doing – and often- so they can learn, grow, and develop.

Encourage managers to be open, honest, and direct and share their management philosophy and style.

Action: Challenge your managers to sit down with direct reports once a month to deliver (and receive!) performance feedback.

So, are you ready to take action? Start developing your high-potential employees today. Your organization will thank you.

Did you like reading about how to develop high-potential employees, regardless of their generation? Here are a few more you won’t want to miss:

Six Tips to Partner With Your Boss
80% Of Projects Fail Because Of ‘People’ Issues … Here Are 6 Things You Can Do To Reduce That Risk
People Pleasing Leaders & Soup Sandwiches – 5 Messes You Make When You Try to Make Everyone Happy

This article was originally published in 2019. It was recently updated just for you!