Author: Joni Busby
They are the most capable, confident, creative, techno-savvy, multi-tasking generation yet born, but attracting and retaining these talented young workers is not an easy task. Ask anyone in HR.
Millennials (1984-2010) want a work-life balance and prefer a collaborative rather than competitive culture. They are accustomed to instant feedback and encouragement, which plays into how they expect to be treated in a work environment.
Millennials grew up in a digital age, and according to Inc. Founder and CEO Chad Halvorson, may not be adept at face-to-face communication or handling formal work situations. And perhaps because they value purpose over compensation, millennial workers are notorious for career-hopping if they don’t feel their current company is a good fit.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t want or need mentors!
How to Retain Millennial Talent
In a recent Deloitte survey, 63% of millennials say their employers are not fully developing their leadership skills. In the same survey, millennials said an ideal work week would include SIGNIFICANTLY MORE mentoring and coaching than they currently receive. And as Forbes posits, employers that fail to invest in capable millennials will likely lose them.
One solution is to use millennial attitudes, motivations and behaviors to foster the kind of committed investment young professionals are looking for.
If your formal mentoring program assigns mentors, consider giving millennials autonomy in choosing a mentor they see as a suitable coach – something they say they want.
Halvorson suggests that millennials’ tendency to be goal-focused is an opportunity to help millennials set goals for the future and follow up by giving them more responsibility on larger projects for a real shot at developing leadership skills.
What Millennials Want
The old model of occasional advice-over-coffee won’t work with this group. Especially if the counsel is along the lines of “talk, don’t text, grow a thicker skin, and don’t use emojis in your emails.”
Raconteur reports that a new and stronger model for modern mentoring includes the notion of sponsorship. More than mentorship, sponsors are influential colleagues who not only provide advice but help plan career growth. They also act as the younger colleague’s advocate when career opportunities arise.
Naturally Trading Places
Reverse mentoring is a concept gaining traction in a variety of industries because it helps older employees learn more about technology, social media and current cultural trends from younger colleagues.
It’s not just a way to close the gap of understanding between business leaders and millennials and transfer share critical digital skills from one group to the other. Reverse mentoring offers the sort of collaboration that naturally fosters meaningful relationships.
Win-Win in the Workplace
There are endless studies that make a strong business case for mentoring. The Wharton study (University of Pennsylvania), noted that people who mentored were promoted six times more often than people who didn’t. Mentees were promoted five times more often and retention in both groups was 20 percent higher after five years.
By 2020, millennials will comprise one-third of the workforce. For HR departments looking for effective ways to attract and retain this group, one-on-one, face-to-face mentoring programs may hold the key.
As Niël Steinmann, author of the book Crucial Mentoring Conversations says, “However you are involved in this role, be committed, make time and do it intentionally. Mentoring is a joy and a massive privilege.”
This article was written by Joni Busby at Intrnz.com. Visit the website to learn more about internship housing opportunities in New York City.