Andreea has 20 years of experience in one of the Big Four companies, where she was an Audit Director and then Partner for more than 8 years. She has extensive experience in audits for global multinationals, project management, organizational structur...
27 September 2023
Today’s progressive business leaders understand the importance of crafting and implementing strategies that encompass adaptability, a culture of continuous learning and the empowering of next-generation leaders by encouraging critical thinking.
As tech icon Bill Gates noted, “Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent”. This begs the question: How can the C-suite effectively identify and develop the most crucial next-generation skills within their organisation?
First, a glance at the global workforce: According to Marissa Geist, Forbes Human Resources Council Member, Gen-X heads the boardroom, currently making up 62% of the world’s business leaders. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report of 2017 notes that more than 44% of Millennials are already in leadership positions now and Gen-Z makes up around 15% of the workforce in the USA and UK, expected to reach 31% by 2031.
In viewing how the C-suite can effectively identify and develop the most crucial next-generation skills within their organisation, Andreea Manta, Partner at Signium Austria and Romania notes that the challenges of C-suites in the adoption of next generation skills is somehow linked to the method of training used by those leaders.
“Traditional educators are not adept at teaching the soft skills vital for success today,” she says. “Where skills and capabilities developed by current leaders do not get applied on the job, the skills transfer gap appears, meaning what is learned is rarely applied.
“This is why the way forward lies in the personal learning cloud– the rapidly-growing online courses, interactive platforms and digital tools from both legacy providers and start-ups. The personal learning cloud is transforming leadership development by making it easy and affordable to get personalized, socialized, contextualized and trackable learning experiences.”
The best of each generation
To stay ahead of the curve, today’s executive business leaders need to identify and develop those crucial skills within their organization, based on what each group brings to the table.
This will require CEOs and their teams to understand the precise skills and values inherent in the generational sectors and create frameworks that enable employees to give their best with ease.
Top 3 skills per age group
Generation X (Born 1962-1980)
Adaptability: GenXers are known for their flexibility and resilience in the face of change, making them valuable in navigating evolving business landscapes.
Experience and expertise: With extensive industry experience and expertise, GenX brings valuable insights and mentorship to younger colleagues.
Problem solving: This group tends to comprise many problem solvers, able to draw on experience to find practical solutions.
Millennials (Born 1981-1996):
Tech-savvy: Millennials bring digital fluency and an innate understanding of emerging technologies to the workplace.
Collaboration: They thrive in team environments and value collaboration, fostering a dynamic and inclusive workplace culture.
Entrepreneurial Spirit: Many Millennials are entrepreneurial, offering innovative thinking and a willingness to take calculated risks. Embracing change is vital for this group as they lead companies through uncertain times, including managing remote and hybrid workers.
Generation Z (Born 1997-2012):
Digital natives: GenZ is the first generation to grow up in a fully digital world, giving them a deep understanding of online platforms and social media, which provides huge value for marketing and e-commerce initiatives.
Creativity and innovation: Fresh ideas, creativity and a desire for innovation is often what this group brings to the workplace.
Remote work proficiency: Having experienced online learning and remote education, GenZ is adept at tools and practices that enable this. The hybrid/remote concept is also in line with the group’s high value placed in both work-life balance and continued learning, often online.
Business leaders who combine the strengths of these defined generations by bridging the age gap with knowledge-based solutions and encourage constant questioning of ideas that refines them, enabling the implementation of design thinking, will encourage success.
An important part of measuring success and growth in the combination of ideas is for leaders to conduct regular assessments of the current skill set of their workforce and identify gaps between existing skills and those needed for future growth.
For this to work effectively, organizations that foster a culture where continuous learning is valued can take certain steps to engage employees, including:
Promoting self-directed learning through resources like online courses and training programs
Partnering with learning institutions to create custom training programs
Establish internship and apprenticeship programs to attract and develop talent
Embrace technology and automation that streamlines operations and frees up human resources for more strategic tasks
Constantly develop digital literacy skills among employees to adapt to technological changes and opportunities
Equally important in today’s workplace – and tomorrow’s success – is the development of soft skills, now seen as the “power skills”. They include good communication abilities, high emotional intelligence and adaptability. By cultivating critical thinking and problem-solving as part of an organization’s culture, opportunities for cross-functional teams to tackle real-world challenges are created.
In conclusion, all of the suggested initiatives should appeal to a diverse workforce; one that not only draws the best out of long-time work experience, but also the innovation and talent of people from different backgrounds and perspectives.
As leaders continue to monitor and encourage differences that add value, they will be leading by example and driving teams through the learnings brought by harnessing new tools such as AI-driven analytics for data-informed decisions, virtual collaboration platforms for global teamwork, and real-time communication apps for efficient interactions.
The workforce of the present is a springboard for the success of the future, providing the promotion of transparency, ethics, inclusivity and agility; thereby enabling leaders to adapt swiftly to changing landscapes.
The future of leadership now hinges on a proactive approach to skills development, a culture of adaptability, inclusivity, technological acumen, and a deep commitment to fostering connections and work-life balance. By addressing these key aspects, CEOs and executive leaders can empower next-generation leaders and ensure the long-term success of their organizations.
This is no easy time to be leading diverse teams – but it is an exhilarating era, when the possibilities of accessing and embracing the next generation of skills can bring together more knowledge and innovation than ever before.