There is and has been a lot of talk about the Baby Boomers over the past few years. How many of them will be leaving the workforce and what that means for the transition of businesses. We’ve talked about it, thought about it, blogged about it, and it is a big deal.
Today I’m thinking about the Boomers from a different angle. With all those people leaving the workforce, there’s going to be a huge demand for talent. People whose careers are coming of age during the next decade or so are going to have a vast number of opportunities to pick from. How are you going to keep those people? What are you going to do to engage them to the point that they just can’t see themselves somewhere else?
There may be a lot of ideas, but near the top of any list has to be this: Stop treating everyone the same. What I mean is this: figure who your future leaders are and then treat them differently than everybody else. Invest in their development in a way you don’t invest in everyone else’s. Prepare them to lead in a way you don’t prepare everyone else.
The idea is a little uncomfortable for some current business leaders. Is that unfair? Won’t the “non-future leaders” be jealous? Or feel bad about themselves? Certainly that’s a possibility, although how you handle it can make all that stuff go a little more smoothly. But the reality is that treating everyone the same will not convince your best people to stick around. You have to do something to set them apart.
What you and your business do may be different from what someone else does. Maybe you have a development program specifically targeted for your emerging leaders. Maybe your mentoring program accounts for it. Maybe it’s simply a matter of sitting those key employees down on a regular basis and talking about their vision for their future, what they see for themselves with your business, etc. Whatever it is, you have to set them apart or you’ll lose them.
What are you doing with your best & brightest? What message are you sending? Are you telling them that they’re just like everybody else? Or are you telling them about the bright future they have with your business?
What are you doing to stand apart?