Those who were born between the years of 1977 and 1997 are today considered over half of the workforce in the world, and in many companies, they are the overwhelming majority indeed. Millennials have a very different way to look at work, as they no longer feel that is an aspect of life that must be balanced with the other activities that constitute their existence, instead they see their employment as an important part of who they are and thus they look for work that they find empowering and personally fulfilling. Having these types of expectations from their work doesn’t come by itself as they also expect their job to afford them the opportunity to meet new people, network and tap into a higher purpose. That last point is probably one of the most important factors that create a key difference between this generation and the ones that came before them and it is the main reason why we want to focus on this article here at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog.
One of the first things to keep in mind is the fact that while millennials have very high expectations of their employees, they also set very high standards for themselves, mostly because they are used to surviving such a competitive environment that hosts a large population of young professionals with relatively few good positions in the job market. These conditions also mean that unlike any other generation, they expect their companies to be part of their path to success and expect much from partnering with mentors, an opportunity that can be quite fulfilling for all parties involved and for the organization in which the relationship develops.
Letting go of the traditional mentoring models is a great starting point for partnerships today. Normally the human resources area of sets up these programs and then pair together young employees with senior executives. They agree upon periods of evaluation to check progress and pretty much leave everything on hands of the mentor who is not only responsible for producing results but also for setting up a method to gain such results. The problem with this programs is that they are very generic and do not take advantage of all the potential that is coming together from both sides of the table. Millennials want to be more involved with the entire process and be active participants in their own mentoring.
For this type of people, is it important to work alongside those individuals they admire and whose position in the company they want to occupy one day. This is why it is so important for companies to ensure their senior managers are deeply involved with the mentoring programs and that they ensure these leaders are engaged and willing to participate.
Reverse mentoring is another key aspect that comes into play when mentoring millennials in today’s workplace. We have mentioned in numerous occasions that successful mentorships should not be a one-way street, but instead work in a way that there is a mutually beneficial relationship with two sets of shoulders carrying the burden of responsibility and reaping the rewards that come along. Reverse mentoring identifies skills that are not so common in senior executives but that younger professionals possess, and create an environment in which a proper exchange of ideas can develop.
Group mentoring is another great tool at a company’s disposal that can open the floor up for some great opportunities for sharing information. Senior executives can be assigned to groups of individuals interested in mentoring, or even a pool of candidates can engage in some peer-to-peer mentorship in which the group as a whole identifies goals and clearly highlights areas of interest. One of the best advantages of this approach is the fact that is less resource demanding and it gives a lot of control to those involved over the decisions they want to make when it comes to their career and the direction in which they want to steer towards.
All of these approaches offer their own sets of benefits and can help those involved reach their goals at different rates and with different levels of success. The most important thing in these cases is being able to empower employees and make them feel like they are part of the process, give them a chance to participate and give back to a company that takes the time of set up mentoring opportunities and more important of all, allows them to improve upon their leadership skills, something that many consider the most beneficial aspect of mentoring. Millennials are people who understand the value of great leaders and who are adventurous enough to take on these roles personally and carry on with courage and drive towards fulfilling their roles at the workplace. We can sum up by saying that flexibility and trust are the most valuable assets a company can provide when it comes to mentoring for a younger generation of professionals.
* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com