Empowering Millennials Through Leadership Development

Recognizing millennials’ desire for career opportunities and mobility, Epicor Software has embarked on an internal mobility initiative.

Just as important as recognizing that a talented workforce is the lifeblood of any good company is the ability to drive effective strategies to attract, develop and retain high-quality talent.

Like many technology companies, Epicor Software is keen to attract and retain millennials. These digital natives have grown up immersed in technology — critical for a company such as Epicor, where we design industry-specific software to fit the needs of our manufacturing, distribution, retail and service industry customers that must also appeal to this new generation of buyers. To attract and retain employees who bring new perspectives, we’ve implemented specific digital strategies for talent acquisition, training and leadership development.

In its Millennials at Work report, PriceWaterhouseCooper says career progression is the top priority for millennials who expect to rise rapidly through an organization. In fact, 52 percent said this was the biggest draw in an employer.

With 3,800 employees and operations in 150 countries worldwide, we have great breadth and depth of talent at Epicor. Recognizing millennials’ hunger for career opportunities and mobility, we have embarked on an internal mobility initiative to inventory and catalog our talent worldwide, develop a pipeline of internal candidates via interest and skills match, and introduce a new platform to publicize open positions to internal candidates. With these new tools in place, nearly a third of positions are now filled from internal candidates.

According to the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development, 70 percent of learning is experiential. With our internal mobility program, employees can learn more about the business by experiencing different roles and utilizing various skill sets.

We applied this experiential aspect to our training and development efforts as well. In fact, we’ve revamped our learning organization to make way for an innovative learning approach that is more interactive and available on demand. This new approach supports the continuous development of skills and training opportunities for employee growth, along with workplace efficiency.

We’ve also adopted a microlearning approach where we provide employees with access to on-demand video clips that are 30 to 40 seconds in length — quick and easily digestible content to guide them through task execution so they can learn without committing large blocks of time at once. For example, a manager can view a short video that shows how to enter goals in our performance management system. This approach appeals to digital natives, who are conditioned to connect with the world 24/7 to get the information they need.

We’re also leveraging mobile technologies to make training portable so employees can upskill anytime, anywhere. Additionally, Epicor’s LMS is integrated with a social platform, opening up the opportunities for collaboration learning.

Finally, we will be launching our first social-enabled course in the next quarter with the goal of enabling new hires to share learning, stay connected and participate in discussion groups focused on course topics with their peers.

Retention is also a large component of our talent strategy. We want our employees to feel valued and recognized, as this is an important aspect in supporting engagement and motivation. Social media has all of us — millennials in particular — conditioned to instant recognition. To support this, we’ve rolled out a global recognition and rewards program that enables employees to send recognition to peers and direct reports.

The world and the workplace continues to be shaped by the influence of millennials. They have different expectations of work than previous generations and organizations need to take heed – in the same way they have focused on the workforce needs of previous generations and the changing nature of work itself. We must be willing to adapt and embrace new ideas and approaches to nurture and support the growth of the organization.

Jignasha Amin Grooms is chief human resources officer at Epicor Software. She can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.