How Bacardi's New Program Turns Millennials into Leaders

By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, and they’re already taking over the employee population at liquor giant Bacardi. That’s why CEO Mike Dolan is working with Nim De Swardt, Bacardi’s Global Millennials Manager, to develop the Bacardi Rising Stars Program. The program plans to focus on common values shared by Millennials to propel their careers as self-starting, fearless leaders. The initiative will help them take on meaningful responsibility in five ways:

  1. Development-rich leadership. Most millennials are dissatisfied with the way they’re being managed. To fix this, the Rising Stars will be given live business projects to work on while having special access to insights and consulting from executive leaders.
  2. Millennial to millennial connection. Mentorship from higher-ups is important, but so is building community. To maintain a youthful spirit within Bacardi, the program will create an environment where Rising Stars can easily connect and work with other Millennials.
  3. A focus on being global. Millennials have been named the most globally connected generation to date, so the program will place a priority on including Rising Stars in their international projects.
  4. Heavy involvement by the CEO. Millennials want to be given direction and encouragement by their superiors. Dolan will work directly with DeSwardt to lay out a clear vision for disrupting Bacardi’s corporate structure and involve the Rising Stars in the process.
  5. Infusing intrapreneurship. Most Millennials envision quitting their jobs to work for themselves at some point in their career. DeSwardt plans to lead by example by treating the program like an intrapreneurial venture, and will encourage Rising Stars to be rebellious instigators of change.

Takeaway: To train Millennials for leadership while smoothing generational differences in the workplace, set up an internal program that prepares young workers for big projects and gives them the feedback they need to improve.


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