If the young are opting out of companies, how can we nurture new leaders for tomorrow?

Each week there is new research coming out which is showing in greater clarity that business leaders do need to stop and consider whether we are need to review how we communicate and develop the young. Yes, life is changing but it is pretty clear that if we want to see new leaders emerge the present statistics coming out are simply not good enough.

By Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director, EP

As I wrote previously if the figure that 80,000 students at University are being treated for anxiety and stress at such an early age, costing £40m per year, then there is a fundamental issue in the structure and process. Universities took the increase in fees but have they changed enough to provide the support needed to develop the young?

But here are a few more facts to be circulated this week:

·      New research conducted by job site Indeed has revealed that 98.1% of Brits are no longer in the same job that they were in five years ago.

·      The study, which surveyed more than 1,200 employees and jobseekers found that just 23% of jobseekers think that short-lived jobs could harm their career, while 40% of under-35s feel that short-term employment is actually boosting their careers.

·      This view was mirrored by 64% of employers, who did not feel job-hoppers impact their businesses negatively and are accepting that employees will be transient.

Some will argue that this is just the modern way but the counter is:

·      People are tribal and want to belong to a team, community, company

·      Does accepting transience go along with a lack of real investment and care in talent development? It is the old argument that we have all heard many times over – why invest when they are going to move on anyway?

·      Boards are complaining about the lack of new talent breaking through into leadership – is there a connection to the above?

Many argue that the rise of such trends and the GIG economy are a natural part of social evolution. The counter is that it is a result in the lack of real investment in talent and leadership development; that will have not doing enough. There are already many complaints by board directors of the dumbing down that has taken place of those that are coming through – that the skill and knowledge level of many in middle management has fallen and that behaviours/selfishness have grown.

We will argue that these trends are not healthy and that we do need to invest more into the development of talent. There are question marks over the education system but also over leadership development programmes? So much of it focuses on the development of skills rather than both the two factors, I would argue, are of more importance – behaviours and mind-set. Respect is rarely gained by just knowledge and skill but more by behaviour, empathy and by the mental approach of an individual.

This is something that we believe is important and at the heart of the work that we are doing in bring sports players into the workplace – to nurture talent in mind-set and behaviours.

We are championing the need to develop leadership development centres that are not run by the “system” but by proven industry experts and leaders – those who know what industry needs and wants – and with world class sports players working alongside young talent to nurture growth.

“Just 23% of jobseekers think that short-lived jobs could harm their career, while 40% of under-35s feel that short-term employment is actually boosting their careers.”

Does this work? Well, we have seen live examples in the past few months of how young people are inspired and motivated by talking to those that reached the highest levels in sport and industry. We have over 40 sporting players and Industry board directors that want to give back – to nurture the young – so surely this is an opportunity to create a framework that can benefit the young.

You may agree or not agree with this but one thing is for sure, we can’t keep turning a blind eye to the fact that change is needed.