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This demographic cohort has specific characteristics which make them different from other generational groups – they are unique and hence stand out in the overall population. They are unlikely to respond to traditional corporate mentorship and counseling.
Not the type to sit down and listen
They are not the type to sit down and listen quietly to advice and guidance doled out by seniors – they prefer discussion, engagement and involvement in their mentoring program. It is only by understanding what millennials expect from and desire from organizations and bosses that effective mentorship programs can be designed and implemented.
How do you become an ideal mentor, an advisor or a role model for employees in the future of work? This segment – probably the largest in today’s workforce – believe that mentoring is the best route to career enhancement but they desire creative mentorship that is different from existing mentorship models.
The following suggestions will help you mentor your workers of the future in an effective and beneficial manner.
- Forget the old manner of mentorship totally. Traditional programs were a one way technique where workers were evaluated as per set rules – today’s young workforce demand faster, more effective programs that they help in creating. Millennials are more connected to the younger workers and customers and are better able to design mentorship programs that work.
- Involve senior managers in key positions in the mentorship program. They add weight and ensure that the programs are carried out. It also helps to link mentorships to financial or performance goals so senior people commit to participating.
- Treat millennials as “reverse mentors”. Linking young workers to key senior personnel means an exchange of ideas between the two on what’s happening at the top and what goes on at the ground level. The two learn from each other basis their own individual experiences and ideas.
- Get tech savvy, utilize social media. Millennials live on the internet, on social media. Use this channel to offer advice and guidance.
- Encourage external mentorship. Millennials are not tied to a single employer. They work for diverse organizations. Facilitate mentorship for them outside your organization – it helps build trust and loyalty. Millennials prefer to learn from multiple mentors across divisions, levels, areas of competence and expertise.
- Get millennials involved in the mentorship program. Listen to them, their ideas, thoughts and feelings. Keep an open mind – do not try to dictate and expect they will accept and follow. Formulate programs keeping their needs, expectations and suggestions in mind.
- Give feedback because millennials demand it. Be prompt and fast about it. This helps streamline your program to become more effective.
- Be transparent and open about the mentorship – do not have a hidden agenda or you will get caught out by this extremely intelligent cohort of workers.
- Celebrate small successes and wins. And enjoy the mentor-mentee relationship – it will make it stronger.
- Put a time limit to mentorship programs. End it before it becomes a burden to either mentor or mentee.