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Retaining future leaders a key priority for the year ahead

If you believe the popular media, we're on the cusp of a leadership shortage. With a large

portion of the Australian workforce sailing towards retirement—including a lot of senior personnel—businesses are turning their attention to developing the next generation of leaders.

But with a mobile workforce and uncertain economic times, the tricky part, it seems, is getting these shining lights to stick around long enough for your organization to enjoy their leadership potential. Where you see potential in an up-and-comer, recruiters and headhunters are likely to see it too.

So what kind of retention strategy can help you hang onto these talented individuals? Promotion and career advancement is the obvious strategy: businesses who invest in ongoing training and leadership-development programs can keep their future leaders nourished intellectually while, at the same time, building employee engagement.

An effective retention strategy gives your future leaders a clear roadmap of future opportunities—and how to get there.

But thinking more broadly, it's unlikely there is a one-size-fits-all solution to retaining future leaders. Businesses must think carefully about what motivates their employees to stay loyal—young guns may be driven by the smell of cold hard cash while, for those with a few more years behind them, feeling supported and getting a nod from the boss for a job well done my be just as effective.

Businesses may be best served by a multi-pronged retention strategy to keep their future leaders engaged. Transparent remuneration processes, effective leadership-development programs, and reward and recognition schemes may be a good starting point.

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