Collaboration will be a key leadership skill: How Millennials are transforming leadership and what businesses can do to prepare for it

Millennials are our future workforce. By 2025 Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the global workforce and are packed with innovative ideas on how to enhance the workplace – from flexible working to a strong company culture. According to a survey, 91% of them expressed a desire to lead. However, this generation’s perception of leadership is different from traditional leadership values.  

Research from The Duke of Edinburgh Award uncovered that only 10% of young people think discipline or dominance are desirable leadership traits. Alternatively, 58% of those young people say listening or empathy are the most important leadership traits. This shows there are clear expectations held by the young workforce surrounding leadership.  

As a result of this, we will start to see a shift in leadership style in the future, moving away from an egocentric and hierarchical management style. It will become a more collaborative process, employees will be active and valued contributors. Instead of the leader telling their teams what they need, it will become more of an open dialogue between management and employees.  

How Team Fit will help teamwork

Teamwork will become even more important, a study by IdeaPaint uncovered that 74% of Millennials prefer to collaborate in small groups and nearly 50% of Millennials believe that leadership is the empowerment of others. Our Team Fit tool will be able to help organisations with this larger emphasis on collaboration. The feature collates, maps and compares the skills of each member within a team via a user-friendly graph. It also allows an organisation to compare how collaborative each employee is. Using this tool helps businesses visually understand how a collaborative team and leader dynamic would work, as well as how collaborative their current employees are. With Millenials wanting a more collaborative leadership approach, this tool will help a leader to identify the strengths of each individual and encourage them to apply them on a regular basis to facilitate excellent overall performance.

It will be even more important for future leaders to listen to their teams and be aware of how they are feeling. This will require high emotional intelligence from these leaders, a key leadership skill according to Harvard Business Review and another attribute Team Fit measures.

Are Businesses prepared for this leadership change?

95% of businesses agreed that a new type of leadership is required to address the changes in organisational structures due to digitalisation. In the future, AI will automate a lot of menial tasks and there will be a greater focus on people and the unique abilities and soft skills they can contribute to the organisation. It will require high performing leaders to facilitate not only adopting this technology, but also assisting their employees in adapting to this new style of working.

Although it is acknowledged a new leadership style is needed by businesses and Millennials alike, only 37%  of organisations believe they have a strong digital leader in place today. How will businesses recruit leaders who have the skills to lead collaboratively and will transport the organisation into the digital age?  

What can organisations do to prepare?

At Cognisess aim to help successfully recruit future leaders in a variety of industries through their graduate schemes. Our clients include the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev to hotel giant, IHG. Our platform is designed to help identify those potential leaders who can transform organisations to operate more effectively in the digital age.

To achieve this we assess all the specific attributes an applicant will need in their industry, the job role and the culture and teams they will operate in. We also benchmark the successful factors that will be needed in the future by assessing the attributes of those current loyal and high performing leaders. This data includes career values, personality traits, emotional intelligence and cognitive abilities. Analysing current high performers not only helps to understand the qualities that make for a successful leader – but it also helps to inform which applicants to recruit to future proof a high performing future workforce.

Our expert team uses this data to construct a detailed job profile based on these collective characteristics. These become the benchmark to assess graduates and other diverse recruits on Cognisess Pro. Applicants complete a series of tailored cognitive, emotional and personality based assessments. The process results in targeted applicant recommendations, increasing the chance of successful hires. Recruiting the right talented graduates provides continuity and momentum for the organisation which can be confident it is future ready, with the right people coming through in those leadership roles.

For example, we accurately assess around 600 applicants a year for IHG’s Future Leaders graduate programme, with 90% of those hired retained over the past 2 years. Our analysis of the data over recent years has helped us observe how the previously hired graduates are successfully evolving and aligning to mirror this changing dynamic between a team and their leader, with a slight increase in the presence of collaborative skills with each annual cohort. Even the hires who saw themselves as less collaborative have a 75% chance of having more collaborative traits than they think, when we compare their self reported results with their assessment results. This shows conclusively that Millennials are naturally becoming more collaborative, regardless of whether they are aware of it – or not!

Using a People Analytics platform like Cognisess Pro allows businesses not only observe the change of skills within the workforce, but identify and recruit the kind of future leaders that have the skills set to allow their organisations to be future ready. Our Team Fit tool is becoming more vital in the changing leadership landscape – and with the line between how leaders and teams interact becoming increasingly blurred, it will be critical to recruit high performing and dynamic teams to underpin a successful organisation. If you would like to try Cognisess Pro, the most advanced People Analytics and Assessment Platform on the market today – contact us for a FREE demo today.

Future Leaders: How they will transform leadership and how to spot and recruit them

Cognisess takes a look at an emerging trend in People Analytics using data and insights gained from analysing some of our client’s high-profile, global graduate recruitment schemes.

It is predicted that 50% of roles today will not exist by 2025. We will need strong leaders to guide employees through today’s rapidly changing workplace. But what will a future leader look like? How can companies identify these leaders and what skills will they need?

Key skills all future leaders will need

Adaptability  

The workplace is ever changing. Leaders will need to embrace this change to thrive. It is not only technology that is driving this change. In the future, there will be a shift in leadership style, moving away from an egocentric and hierarchical management style to focus on nurturing employees to be active and valued contributors. Instead of the leader telling their teams what they need, it will become more of an open dialogue between management and employees. This will create an environment were people and development are at the heart of the workplace. As a talent management platform, we are excited about this prospect and look forward to welcoming more organisations onto our People Analytics software.

High Emotional Intelligence

AI can process data more efficiently than humans, but there are still skills we are stronger in. A Korn Ferry study found human talent is 2.33 times more valuable compared to assets like technology. A high emotional intelligence allows future leaders to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses as well as their teams. This means the manager can troubleshoot ways to improve themselves as well as their team – creating the strongest team possible.

This ability will be supported by AI. For example, although a manager can identify why a team may not be working well together, with Cognisess Team Fit they are able to view data on employees talents and see how dynamic the group is through a series of graphs. This data supports a leaders ‘gut feeling’ with physical results they can present to colleagues.

Comfortable with embracing and leading innovation

In the future, AI and humans will work together to optimise the workplace. A leader will need to understand the new challenges and opportunities this presents – for example data management and skill building. Managers need to be open to not only accepting new technology but also managing the relationship between employees and AI. There will be workers who aren’t as comfortable with the change as others – a high performing future leader will support these people to adapt and become confident with working with technology. This will create a united and technologically minded workforce.

To stay ahead of the curve, leaders will need to keep updated on the new tools and assessments that can enhance their organisation before their competitors. By signing up to our newsletter you will hear about our products, company updates and industry news without having to leave your inbox. Sign up on our blog page.

How diverse will future leaders need to be?

The number of women the workforce is increasing and companies are continuously trying to become more inclusive of gender, race and age. There are also a number of benefits to having a diverse workforce, according to McKinsey racially and ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%.

However, only 4% of CEOs worldwide are women according to Deloitte’s Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective. But the report also uncovered that businesses who have females in top leadership positions have almost double the number of women on their board. Gender diverse boards are also more likely to hire a female board chair or CEO. It seems that diversity has a multiplying effect, according to this Parliament UK report the female employment rate is at its highest since records began (71%). The current workforce is becoming more diverse than ever. In the future, females in today’s workforce will hopefully move into management positions, increasing diversity within leadership roles.


Equally, we will also need to recruit talent from all different walks of life regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, country of origin or educational background. Diversity of thinking and approach in the workplace is critical to ensure new ideas and solutions are free flowing. The danger of recruiting the same type of candidate from the same background is that you only ever get the same answers and consensus. Outside the box thinking really does come from outside of the box!

How are companies preparing for the future now?

The businesses who are adopting AI and People Analytics now are starting to get ahead of the curve. People Analytics help you to identify the attributes needed now and for the future to help develop a mobile and agile workforce for today and tomorrow.

At Cognisess we have supported a wide range of clients with their graduate programmes, from hotel giants (IHG) to the world’s largest brewer (AB InBev). These graduate programmes are developing the leadership talent of tomorrow. Although there will be universal leader traits for the future regardless of the sector (as discussed earlier on in this article), we also recognise that leaders may look different in every organisation depending on the sector or culture. For instance, a hotel manager needs to be able to work well under time pressure when solving customers queries in a fast paced hospitality environment. Whereas this would be an advantage as an AB InBev leader, but not essential.

What is the process?

Taking AB InBev’s graduate programme as an example, we initially assessed a current cohort of AB InBev’s top talent who are currently on the graduate scheme. Additionally, AB InBev wanted graduates who fitted into their strong company culture. The organisation’s most loyal employees also completed assessments on Cognisess Pro. The data collected included personality traits, emotional intelligence and cognitive abilities. The combined assessment results enabled Cognisess to uncover characteristics that correlate to success in the role and the company. Analysing their current high performers not only helps to understand the qualities that make them so successful – but informs which applicants to recruit to ensure a high performing future workforce.

Our expert team then constructed a detailed job profile based on the collected characteristics. This became the benchmark to assess the graduate recruits on Cognisess Pro. The applicants completed a series of cognitive, emotional and personality based assessments. The process resulted in targeted applicant recommendations, increasing the chance of successful hires for AB InBev. Recruiting these talented graduates who share the same values as the company and possess the qualities to lead will ensure a more efficient organisation, with the right people in those leadership roles.

Adapting to an ever-changing workforce, high emotional intelligence and being comfortable to embrace a new working relationship with AI are some of the universal traits a future leader will need. At Cognisess, we are supporting many leading companies to invest in identifying the attributes they need for future leadership and recruiting the best talent. Book a free demo of Cognisess Pro today to see how the most advanced People Analytics and AI Assessment Platform on the market today can help your organisation find the leaders of tomorrow.