Mentoring the Millennial Workforce
The millennial generation has been a hot topic in recent years, and with good reason. They are the most diverse group of people in the history of America. With so much diversity, it’s not surprising that millennials have made some “waves” while entering the workforce.
Millennials became the largest generation in the United States workforce in 2016, and by 2017 there were 56 million millennials working or looking for work. With the increase in millennials joining the workforce, there has also been a shift in the traditional corporate culture.
One of the biggest shifts is the increased need for career development opportunities, like mentoring.
Why is Mentoring for Millennials Important?
Millennials have high expectations for themselves and high expectations for their employers. They have seen the impact that mentoring has had on today’s leaders. These are the same leaders whom millennials are looking to replace in the future.
Millennials know that to become effective leaders, they will need to match the skills and experience of their predecessors. But as I said, they have high expectations, and matching those abilities isn’t enough. They want to exceed them.
Millennials aren’t unrealistic, though. They know that they need help to make that happen. That is why mentoring is so important to them.
What Do Millennials Want?
Millennials want mentoring, but it’s not just a “millennial thing.” Mentoring has been around for thousands of years, and every generation has taken advantage of it. What differs for millennials is how they want to be mentored.
Traditional mentoring is the most well-known form. If you aren’t familiar with traditional mentoring, it is when a senior-level employee is chosen as the mentor and a junior-level employee takes the role of mentee. A mentoring relationship ensues, and the mentee can reach career goals and gain knowledge.
Sounds great, right? Most employees think so. However, millennials aren’t gravitating to the traditional mentoring programs because they don’t work for their specific needs.
Millennials are looking for a more modern type of mentoring. With modern mentoring, millennials can achieve their goals in ways that are better suited for how they already live their lives. Having that level of comfort in the program and the mentoring relationship allows them to be more successful.
Types of modern mentoring that are attracting millennials include reverse mentoring, group mentoring, and flash mentoring. These programs are very different and lend themselves better to the diverse needs of the millennial generation.
Reverse mentoring gives millennials the opportunity to build their confidence in the mentor role that would traditionally be held by a senior member of the team. This confidence empowers them to take their own leadership development to the next level.
Group mentoring gives millennials the opportunity to collaborate and receive tons of feedback. As 88% of millennials would rather a collaborative workspace over a competitive one, group mentoring is a perfect fit for this generation. It also gives them the chance to receive feedback from not only leadership, but also their peers.
Flash mentoring creates an “on-demand” experience for millennials. Through the short-term relationships, they can choose the mentor that best fts their needs and gain knowledge about a specific issue quickly. This allows them to take control of their learning and create a sense of autonomy.
While these modern types of mentoring cater more to the millennial generation, they are not exclusive to them. You will find that everyone in your organization can benefit from participating. You will also find that your return on investment will be greater.
Mentoring Millennials will Boost Your Bottom Line
As the millennial workforce continues to grow, it is important to be open to making the changes that will allow the greatest success for everyone. It’s not just about giving the millennials what they need through mentoring, but also ensuring that your organization is gaining a return.
Just like any other initiative that you put in place, these mentoring programs are business strategies, and with any business strategy you need to be concerned about your ROI.
Boosting your bottom line is going to ensure that you can continue to offer these crucial career-development opportunities to your millennials. Through research, I have found there are three ways you can achieve ROI from mentoring your millennial workforce: attracting top talent, increasing retention rates, and boosting employee engagement.
To attract the millennial talent you desire, you must be willing to offer the nontraditional benefits, like mentoring, that set you apart from other organizations. Millennials are actively looking for this type of career-development opportunity when they are choosing their employer.
A new hire can cost an organization 1.5 times an employee’s salary. That is a significant number as millennial retention rates continue to decline. If you plan to increase these retention rates,you need to offer mentoring options from day one.
It’s been said that millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace. Whether this is true or not, it is up to the organization to make the necessary changes to build a workplace that millennials can thrive in. You will need to step out of your comfort zone to boost millennial employee engagement. This is where those modern types of mentoring will really benefit you.
Katie Mouton is a mother, millennial, and marketing guru with Insala, a company that can help to develop your talent, engage your employees, and grow your business. She currently focuses on the talent-development sector as the digital marketing specialist. www.insala.com