How to Tame Your Millennial : Mentorship and the Next Generation

Portrait of a confident, happy female business entrepreneur wearing fashionable suit on her way to the next consultant meeting

“They are the most threatening and exciting generation since the baby boomers brought about social revolution.”

This is what Time Magazine said about the millennial generation in 2013, and the hysteria hasn’t gone away. Everyone is talking about millennials like they’re a virus. By 2020, they’ll make up 51% of the U.S. workforce. If you’re involved in your company’s administration or human resources, it’s likely that you’ve already had a discussion about attracting and/or retaining young employees despite their “millennial” attributes.

You’re probably concerned that they won’t stick around and therefore aren’t engaging with the company in a way that will benefit you long-term. How do you maximize their potential and foster their careers in a way that benefits you both? How do you identify young employees who could be the next leaders of your company?

Here’s the good news about millennials: they’re not all bad. Many of them are searching for an employment opportunity that will give them purpose and security. By implementing mentorship programs or beefing up the mentoring system you already have in place, you can appeal to their values:

Structure : A good mentorship program should appeal to the millennial desire for feedback and structured advancement. The KNOX® platform allows participants to track their progress, keep up to date on deadlines, and provide qualitative and quantitative feedback.

Personalization : Not all millennials are created equal. No one likes to be treated like they’re a statistic; you probably feel the same way about your company. A worthwhile mentorship program is customizable to your business and your employees’ needs.

Technology : It’s here to stay. Embrace it. Use it. Give them a program that appeals to their phone addiction. If you’re system has been set up to benefit your company, it should be user-friendly to the older set who may be on the mentorship end.

Remote Work : 24% of employed people did at least some of their work at home in 2015. With the communicative potential of current technology, that number is sure to rise. Millennials grew up completing assignments online, so they’re comfortable with the physical distance, but maybe you aren’t? If you’re feeling a disconnect between your young employees working as far as another city or as close as their home office, a mentorship will help you to bridge that distance.

Work-Life Balance : Millenials rate time off as high on their list of priorities. Before you jump to say lazy, don’t we all want a little time off? Maybe they’re just the first to say it. Either way, a good mentorship program doesn’t have to mean a lot of extra time. Employers can build it into their training programs or existing hours. For a mentorship program to succeed, it can’t be a chore– both the mentor and mentee need to feel like their free time is respected.

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Kate Mason
kate.mason@ementorconnect.com

Kate Mason is a writer, historian, and stand-up comic living in New Orleans, LA. She is the Programming Coordinator for the New Orleans Film Society and an avid enthusiast of pop culture. She approaches mentoring challenges with a witty, creative mind.

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