The often-talked-about generation is starting to graduate university, and employers seem to be struggling with keeping young talent. What is it about Millennials that we do not understand? In 2020, they will make up 50% of the workforce, and five short years after that it will be almost 75%. Isn’t it about time we figure out what to do with them?
Millennials come from a generation of helicopter parents and have an almost unreasonable need for feedback. But, you can’t complain because we created that problem.
Millennials are no longer satisfied with a healthy pay cheque and benefits; instead they want their work to be personally fulfilling. Millennials crave the opportunity to make personal connections in their professional life and are constantly looking for mentorship opportunities.
The trouble that our generation is having is that as much as Millennials say they crave that mentor-mentee relationship, they just aren’t receptive to traditional styles of coaching.
So how do you mentor a Millennial?
Let them teach you. I am always asking my Social Media Manager how I can post a photo to Instagram, what filter should I use, or what she thinks of a new app. Giving a Millennial the opportunity to teach you something gives them some insight into the executive level of the business in a way that is not intimidating or overwhelming.
As always, there are plenty of times that she has come to me for advice in return and we have had plenty of “Employee Therapy” sessions, so this mentor-mentee relationship is mutually beneficial.
They love figuring things out as a team. If nothing else, Millennials are definitely well connected. They are in constant contact with each other and always moving forward on the newest social media trend. When is the last time you sent a Snapchat to one of your friends, or left an Instagram comment? They are always talking to each other in one-way or another.
They are a constant sounding board for one another, which is what makes group-mentoring opportunities so valuable. Giving Millennials the opportunity to work it out together is a great way to take some of the onus off of individual mentors and let them figure it out for a change. They’ll come back to you with what they’ve learned.
Not everything needs to be life-long. While Millennials appreciate all of the career guidance they can attain, it doesn’t need to be a long-term thing. Millennials are attention sponges, and one of the generations who excel in taking EVERYTHING in (whether you mean to give them that stone to carry or not).
It could be a manager, or a co-worker. In any job position, whether it’s long-term or short-term, they have the ability to learn from the feedback and experience of their senior associates.
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, the need for a constant stream of feedback and their attitude that success should come in a hurry isn’t really a surprise. But it’s not something that is completely unmanageable. Millennials have been driven to succeed by their parents since birth, and have been competing with each other for just as long, be it for spots in top academic programs or those all-too- competitive paid internships.
For a generation that grew up in one of the most uncertain times in North American history, it’s natural that they have a bit of anxiety when it comes to their future.
Gen X’er journalist Rick Newman described Millennials best as, “cynical, untrusting, and mercenary” because they have been told those are the traits needed to survive.
We, as their mentors, can combat those attitudes by providing them with professional coaches and role models who are inspired by the success of others and go through their professional life with integrity.
We all have the urge and motivation to learn and grow. Collaborating with a business coach or mentor is one of the best ways to make sure that you are reaching your peak potential. Take the anxiety out of your career path.
Sign me up for mentoring.