The makeup of the global workforce is undergoing a seismic shift. In four years Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1997, will account for nearly half the global workforce; indeed in some companies, they already constitute a majority.
Millennials view work as an integral part of their life, not a separate activity that needs to be ‘balanced’ by it. For that reason, they place a strong emphasis on finding work that’s personally fulfilling. They want their careers to afford them the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and connect to a larger purpose. That sense of purpose is a key factor in their job satisfaction; research suggests, they’re the most socially-conscious generation since the 1960’s.
Millennials want a road-map to success and they expect their employers to provide it. VANRATH HR have identified two kinds of mentoring that will help prepare your workforce’s Millennials for success, without requiring experienced staff to spend all their time coaching.
Reverse-mentoring is an initiative which involves older executives being mentored by their junior counterparts. A Millennial is matched to an executive and assigned to teach them new skills; this could involve using the latest technical innovations to connect with customers, for example. Reverse- mentoring is an effective means of providing junior employees with a window into the higher levels of the organization, and in turn when mentees retire, the younger generation has a better understanding of the business as a whole.
Inevitably, there are times when the older mentees give feedback or advice to their young associates, so in effect, the coaching becomes mutual. Younger workers will have the potential to benefit from an accelerated career track, as the mentoring arrangement raises their profile among senior executives of the firm.
Group mentoring is a less resource-intensive yet equally effective way of giving Millennials the feedback they crave. It can be led by a more senior manager or can be peer-to-peer, but in both cases, it allows employees to define mentoring in their own terms.
The benefit of group mentoring is alignment of skills. Mentees are able to align with mentors who not only excel in the area they’re looking to improve in, but also share a similar background. For example, a new millennial working-mother may not benefit from having a single male mentor as much as she would benefit from an older experienced working-mother who has been through similar life events.
Improving your company’s ability to provide employees with honest, timely, and useful coaching won’t benefit just your Millenial workforce. All employees want to feel valued, empowered, and engaged at work: this is a fundamental need, not a generational preference. Although Millennials openly discuss, even demand, more flexibility in their jobs, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists (also known as the “Silent Generation”) want it too, even if they are less vocal. In effect Millennials are championing a change that stands to benefits all generations.