Calling All Millennials: Uncle Sam Needs You!

March 31, 2016 Darci Hall

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit the South By Southwest Interactive Festival. Why? To call upon the best-of-the-best technologists to join government in solving the nation’s biggest problems. Recruiting top talent and attracting millennials to take over leadership positions, when baby boomers retire, is a top priority for every industry – including government.

As the “baby boomers” retire, it will be up to agencies to ensure they are attracting, recruiting and shaping millennial talent to become the next generation of leaders.

What does it mean to be a next generation leader, how can government agencies lure top talent and what can they do to make certain they are giving them the opportunities they need to stay?

Recently, I published two articles – Learning and Development for Tomorrow’s Federal Workforce and Identifying and Preparing the Next Generation of Federal Leaders – as part of my Federal workforce series in Training Magazine.

The “Silver Tsunami” is upon us and if government agencies don’t start to become experts, they will lose out on some of today’s top talent. Here are some key points to guarantee your agency doesn’t get left behind:

  • Collaboration, transparency and flexibility are needed to build an environment where the next generation of leaders will thrive. These qualities will also attract and retain the best and brightest talent. Finding ways to highlight how your agency is advancing in these areas will position your agency as transformative and appealing to millennials.
  • Agencies cannot be intimidated by different ideas; in fact, they need to start rewarding employees for thinking outside of the box, finding ways to make government agencies more efficient. Millennials will bring a new set of ideas that the public sector has never seen before, and agencies need to be prepared to embrace and analyze these ideas with open ears.
  • Millennials have grown up during a time of consistent sharing and collaboration and would thrive in a learning ecosystem similar to the social media channels that are familiar to them. These non-traditional training channels will allow users to post questions and give input to team members in real-time. This also means agencies will need to appoint community managers to guarantee the content shared is relevant and informative.
  • Ongoing employee education will soon be in the hands of the employee. New forms of training will be learner-selected, consumption-based and on-demand, and will give learners the opportunity to pick and choose the areas of training that interests them.
  • Data analytics will allow agencies to measure the true business impact of learning processes and tactics, rather than simply confirming the coursework was fulfilled. Agencies will soon deploy predictive analytics to analyze production levels and determine how employees are performing after receiving training, and in the end, this insight will shape future training.

Our country’s future leaders will continue to be a focus in the coming years and agencies need to start looking at how they can not only attract younger talent but ensure they succeed in the public sector.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and hope that you continue to follow my series in Training Magazine.

About the Author

Vice President, Learning Solutions, Xerox Learning Solutions

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