Developing future leaders is essential but not without risks

Alex leads talent and development, with responsibility for group-wide talent acquisition, learning & development, talent and succession, inclusion and engagement. 
Electrocomponents has placed several colleagues on the Ivy House Programme.

Our future leaders need development now, in order to prepare them for future opportunities.

Across all industries, HR and Talent Directors are tackling the issue in their own, different ways.

As a speaker on the panel of the Ivy House Future Leader Challenges event, I was interested to hear the different (and similar) approaches that each company was taking. For example, Janet Tidmarsh from Sainsbury’s talked about moving away from formal programmes, towards individualized development for their future leaders.

While it’s a focus for all industries, we know there is no one size fits all approach to developing future leaders.

The work landscape is changing at an ever faster pace and we need to equip people to be more agile and adaptable.

At Electrocomponents, I am responsible for the Future Shapers programme – a 12 month experience that accelerates the development and career progression for a select group of employees, and provides an opportunity to build a cohort and community of peers across the company.

If we get this right, we expect great things.

Our biggest challenge is around the need to be future focused – building our future leaders so they are ready for bigger, broader roles, while also performing at their best today. 

For millennial’s and generation Z’s, they want to experience different roles, companies and industries. They are not looking for a job for life.

We as employers need to embrace their need for purpose.

We need to get comfortable with the fact that employees may leave. As they develop and broaden their mindset and skills, they may look for something different and want to move to a new role or a new company. 

As long as they leave for the right reasons and not simply for more money.

Sometimes there is a fear that you may lose people through development, but if you don’t invest in your people, you will lose them anyway.

Ivy House is an important part of our Future Shapers programme.   One of our attendees told me it has been a transformational experience – he said it was thought provoking; took him out of his comfort zone and made him think about himself as a leader and a human.

The Ivy House programme may not be right for everyone, but if you capture people at the right stage of their career, it is a valuable experience.

The future requires new and different paths to development and I feel we’re on the right road to develop the best leaders.

By Alex Holland, VP Group Talent and Development at Electrocomponents
19th June 2019

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