The changing face of technology leadership

For technology executives, learning how to best engage with millennial talent is critical

Just as no two fingerprints are the same, every new generation brings different learnings, attitudes and working styles to the workforce. For technology executives, investing in learning how to best engage with millennial talent is critical to achieving their and their organisations’ lofty innovation aspirations.

More millennials = more engagement

As millennials enter the Australian job market, employers have a responsibility to adapt their leadership tactics to inspire and motivate younger workers. This influx of millennial talent requires savvy tech leaders to take the time to understand the different needs of this generation and prioritise engagement to secure and retain the best tech talent.

If leaders fail to adapt to what their employees require, they won’t be able to retain top tier talent. It’s important for senior leaders to be able to adapt their leadership-style with what young employees are inspired and driven by.

Fads will come and go, but forward-thinking tech leaders will be able to predict effectively the skills and trends to ensure their employees are eager to stay. It’s been well-documented that the millennial workforce appreciates a work hard/play hard culture, more so than in previous generations.

In response, businesses must take learnings such as these and adapt. Constantly seeking to understand the changing preferences of millennials will allow decision makers to develop them into the tech leaders of the future.

It might just be small changes to ways of working such as encouraging work-from-home days, but these actions demonstrate the employer prioritising  the changing needs of their workforce, and thus will ensure that the top tier tech talent remain loyal to you and your organisation.  

Embracing digital is all about culture

As more millennials enter the workforce, embracing a purpose-led approach is needed to inspire digital transformation across industries. This sort of approach is more engaging because it aids employees in understanding why they are there and how they are contributing.

Being a purpose-led organisation is something that businesses should be passionate about. Regardless of level, employees should be made to feel their work is meaningful and has impact beyond financial results, in order to engage and truly relate to young talent.

One of the greatest business benefits brought by millennials to the workforce is the volume and quality of new ideas and visions.  In this age of digital, developing a culture that encourages innovation, rather than hindering it, is key. Being risk-averse is not a viable long-term strategy for successful digital transformation, especially when taking risks is the most direct path to innovation.

As consumers continue to adopt digital throughout all aspects of their lives, businesses are recognising that digital transformation is not simply a buzzword, but rather a state of constant change, development and challenge. For tech leaders, this means promoting internal culture to drive experimentation and innovation – especially to maintain an edge against competitors.

Getting across the gap

Technology will never remain stagnant. Businesses should be consistently striving to improve and advance their technologies and in response, tech teams need to be ready to adapt to these changes.

A high level of learning agility, and cultural alignment need to be prioritised during the recruitment process. Great tech leaders will be the ones who are focused on supporting people through unique development and career opportunities – this might mean taking a few chances and making a few mistakes.

For businesses to succeed, hiring the best technologists is the obvious first step. But nowadays, it’s not about what skills employees currently have but rather about what they can learn. This increased prioritisation of learning and building on existing skills has never been so popular than it is currently with young talent.

Training has always been highly valued, and is a necessary tool to build a successful career. With new technologies entering businesses across industries, training and development are becoming increasingly demanded by employees. From AI to automation to the cloud, young and hungry millennials are eager to get their jaws into everything new and exciting,

Millennials are projected to make up a third of the workforce by 2020, and tech leaders need to understand what makes them tick. The business benefit is undeniable with young talent ready to push the boundaries, work hard and bring fresh ideas to the table. It’s now up to tech leaders to develop and inspire this talent to achieve the great outcomes that can come with millennial workers.

Simon Noonan is the chief information officer at Sportsbet.

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