Ellen Warden, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
WorkPlace Synergy, LLC
Millennials expect promotions and raises to come early and often. You knew that, of course. How do you satisfy their desire for career progression and still make it work to your firm’s benefit?
I consistently hear BV practice leaders complain about Millennials’ unrealistic timelines for being promoted. Your first impulse might be to pop your millennial’s balloon. Rethink that move. If you’re not asking, “how are we going to help these people get there?” you’re not doing your part in growing employees’ skills or improving your ability to attract, retain and develop top talent over the long term.
Yes, employees must take responsibility for their career development. However, it’s your job as well. Most millennials don’t expect handouts without working hard. They do expect you to guide them through a mutually agreed upon plan of action.
Good candidates want to progress and improve in their jobs. Good managers are continuously grooming employees for leadership roles. Here are a few things you can try:
- Commit to coaching, whether it comes from you or an enthusiastic mentor. Nothing builds trust, instills loyalty and helps millennials become valuable faster than effective coaching.
- Invest in opportunities for growth by funding formal education, arranging internal or external training, bringing in industry professionals for lunch-and-learn programs, and so forth.
- Show your employees the potential for career progression with a specific career plan that lays out timelines with milestones that could show up as performance hurdles, title increases and pay bumps. In thinking about a career path, don’t overlook horizontal or cross-functional growth, especially if your practice is small or has a flatter hierarchy. When young professionals see that potential, they are less likely to go looking elsewhere for opportunity.
- Improve communication by maintaining a feedback loop. Meet regularly with employees in an informal, one-on-one setting. Schedule a quarterly discussion of individual goals and performance. Tailor development plans to improve both hard and soft skills.
- Lead by example. Continuously model the leadership skills employees need to adopt: professionalism, transparency, empathy, positivity, integrity, commitment, and respect.
Rather than be irritated at millennials’ promotion expectations, use the opportunity to train up millennial leaders. As one millennial explained, video games taught this generation always to be trying to get to the next level. Equip your firm for the future and fill your leadership pipeline with those that want to move up.
Do you need help designing development plans for employees? Ellen Warden works with BV/LS practices around the country to help them align their HR solutions with long-term objectives. You can reach Ellen at WorkPlace Synergy.