As a global executive search software provider, we have seen both search firms and in-house teams change their approach to how they engage and assess high potential talent. Emerging leaders can too often be generalized, based on prevailing generational stereotypes. How many studies have been published on Millennials, for example, that shape what we think about someone of that generation? These misconceptions of high potentials often tie back to the fact that they are young and lack the experience of their predecessors.Search teams can effectively evaluate an emerging leader’s potential and ability to be successful for a role through research into past projects and analyzing a hybrid of competencies through different perspectives.
Common data points we have seen our clients track when assessing talent include:As highlighted in this chart, some leadership competencies are common across generations, whereas others stand out as more unique to emerging leaders. While learning agility and critical thinking may be core attributes sought in today’s and tomorrow’s leaders, tomorrow’s executives will lead entirely digital businesses and, as a result, they will be required to lead at a much faster pace of change than in the past. Lateral thinking and collaboration are attributes that can allow tomorrow’s leaders to flourish amidst such high stakes.
Key drivers we see next-generation leaders are looking for in new opportunities:
- Benefits (outside of basic comp/bonus)
- Latest Technology
- Professional Development
- Personal Touch
- Continuous Evaluations/Feedback
- Creative Freedom
- Development/Training Programs
- Work/life Balance
- Ability to Work Remote
- Educational Incentives/Reimbursements
These drivers can make a big difference when it comes to recruiting next-generation leaders. It can also make the difference when it comes to actually retaining them within a company.
Engaging with Emerging Leaders
Another trend we are seeing is executive search firms and internal talent teams are placing a larger emphasis on how they engage with emerging leaders. To effectively engage emerging talent, the message must be in-line with their interests, needs, and ideas, so finding out what resonates with them is crucial to making and retaining a placement.
Connecting with talent can be done through various channels, such as social media and email marketing. Make sure the message is authentic and presents an accurate image of the company culture, whether it is your own or your clients. Another effective tool is sharing case-studies and tips, showcasing talent you have successfully placed. These stories are sure to provide a greater return of interest from the next-generation of leaders (especially when shared on social media).
As always, it is important to keep in mind that while you are assessing emerging leaders, they are assessing you back. Give an educational, authentic interview experience. The more challenging the better.