Your top talent choose you as their leader

Not the other way around

November 2016


Jacob Schaldemose Peterson

It is not hard to make your young talent leave you and your organisation, but here are some practical tips to make that process as smooth as possible.

First, you need to make it clear how the company works, how you work, and what the person has to change to fit in. Work is done in the office between 08:00 and 17:00. Make sure that the technology doesn’t work or that it is simply outdated. Show your employees that you do not have any confidence in the individual by micromanaging as much as possible. If the topic of “change” pops up, show them how long it takes to make decisions. Happily blame bureaucracy and politics.

Specifically for your top talent – the ones who are not actively searching for other jobs, but who the jobs find – following these steps will ensure a smooth separation process.

It's time to rethink and be proactive, because soon you have no choice but to hire them

The challenge for you as a leader and employer is that by the year 2025 some indications tell us that the workers included in what is widely referred to as Generation Y (born between 1982-2001) will be as high as 75% of the total workforce. So perhaps, it is time to rethink and be proactive, because soon you have no choice but to hire them. And let’s remember; rumours of the really smooth process spread at lightning speed due to an ever more connected global workforce. So do not worry. Once you have implemented it one time, the next run will be even cheaper and more efficient – that is, if you get that chance.

Four megatrends to keep an eye on

Megatrends are widespread revolutionary global forces that have large consequences for companies, economies, industries, communities and individuals. Generation Y is characterised by the technology revolution, a purpose-driven life, personalisation and by growing up with curling parents (oh yes, it is all your fault).


Generation Y grew up with accelerating technology which makes everything, including themselves, constantly available. They believe that one does not need to have a fixed workplace, and they feel attracted to work as a digital nomad. My workplace is where I am.

A higher purpose

Why should I do this? Give the employee a clear purpose and provide motivation along with illustrating the bigger picture. They want to make a real difference with a point of departure in their own sense of meaning. In more and more companies, we see hands-on corporate social responsibility popping up.


Do you want a red or blue ball? For your young talent, the question is obvious; they have always had plenty of space to make their own choices. They anticipate this to also be the case for career ways, reward models and for picking their own leader. Yes, you read it. At more and more companies, employees choose their own official leader. One-size-fits-all is dead.


For Generation Y, parents have been more present than in previous generations. The parents have let their own lives be guided by the interests of their children.

One could choose to see this relationship as a type of dictatorship, or as emerging types of collaboration between senior and junior people. Generation Y know that spending time with more experienced people accelerates their own journey towards mastery. So they crave being close to you and understand your logic and intuition for decision-making and running the business.

How can I change my behaviour to attract top talent to my team and organisation

  • The best way to learn more is to ask. Engage and collaborate with your talents
  • Keep an open mind for real conversations.
  • Quit corporate theatre
  • Use touchpoints. Listen, frame and advance – then include trust in the equation
  • Master quick feedback. And ask for it yourself
  • Give yourself the best conditions to excel in your leadership role. Whatever you think, you are never just a manager
  • Visualise individual co-workers’ role in and contribution to the bigger picture
  • Whenever needed and possible, try to work around “stupid” corporate rules to keep motivation high. Your talent are not loyal to the organisation, but to you as a leader

Leadership development

Implement is dedicated to help organisations create change with impact. In our LEAD practice – leadership, energy, assessment and development – we are a team of 60 professionals with a common guiding star: to improve business through people. We exist because we believe we can change those who change others.

We believe that people are the most important component of almost any change-related challenge. Attention to business – as well as behavioural – impact increases the likelihood of making real change stick. By integrating action and experience in the process, we ensure shared memories and real impact.

By the year of 2025 indications tell us that the workers included in Generation Y will be as high as 75% of the total workforce.