12 Tips for Grooming IT Leaders

By next year, millennials will make up 50 percent of the American workforce. This generation of employees – born between the mid-1980s and the early 2000s – represent the future of your IT team. So, for effective succession planning, you should already be grooming tomorrow’s leaders.

In a recent Fortune study, 20 percent of millennials said they saw themselves in top leadership roles – some within an aggressive 10-year timespan. They’ve also shown that if you invest in them, they’ll be loyal to your company. More than 20 percent of those surveyed said they planned to stay with their employers for five to 10 years. But there were conditions attached to that planned longevity; namely, compensation, promotions, development, work/live balance and a sense of belonging to a community.

Here are 12 tips for empowering the next generation of IT leaders:

  1. Develop training programs that align with their needs. Millennials grew up with technology. It has to be an integral part of your approach in order for them to effectively process information.
  2. Make sure mobile devices are part of the picture. These tools provide immediate access to unlimited data, which meets millennials’ needs for instant gratification.
  3. Assign them discrete projects that can be completed quickly. Long-term assignments that require extensive analysis or revision may push them too far out of their comfort zone.
  4. Train them in patience and persistence. Help them foster personal accountability. Despite their eagerness and drive for instant results, they may need work on long-term goal setting and definition of organizational purpose.
  5. Bridge the gap between information and communication. While millennials are naturally adept at accessing information, they’re less used to disseminating it in a professional manner. For starters, guide them as they define and communicate project and organizational goals.
  6. Teach them to properly filter information. They tend to be indiscriminate media consumers. But in the workplace, they need to filter useful information from irrelevant distractions.
  7. Foster their social skills. Having learned practically everything online, millennials can be isolationists at work. Effectively interacting with colleagues can’t be all IMs, video chats and emails.
  8. Help them understand the value of teamwork. Again, this means face-to-face versus electronic dialoging. Be sure to assign your young superstars group projects and role-playing exercises.
  9. Teach them business meeting etiquette. More so than their predecessors, millennials may need to develop familiarity with how to act in group sessions and on conference calls.
  10. Offer continuous feedback. Use such tactics as retention interviews, surveys and other ongoing touchpoints to reassure them of their value to your organization.
  11. Talk to them about their career paths. This will help define the best route for them to realize their aspirations and keep them satisfied on the job.
  12. Don’t assume they want an open workspace. Despite many reports to the contrary, a significant number of millennials think excessive openness makes privacy and concentration difficult. Assess their individual needs. You may want to provide a combination of enclosed offices or rooms and open spaces.

As your IT workforce grows and changes with the times and you groom your future leaders, consider partnering with the staffing and workforce development experts at TRC Professional Solutions. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.