Mentorship is a hot topic. If you want to have reading material for a full weekend, then just take a moment and google the word mentorship. Everyone has their take on it. Many articles suggest that mentorship should be mandatory within the workplace. They tout that this type of interaction will increase a company’s generational branding and that they’ll gain the approval of Millennial employees. All these facts are true. But, if companies are serious about mentorship then they need to be presented with a bit more detail.
Mentoring Millennials isn’t easy. We’re talking about a group of people who grew up in a lateral leadership structure, team-oriented school projects, and without the ideology of “paying one’s dues.”
If you’re creating a mentorship program that’s hierachical or based upon gender segregation, think again.
From an early age, Millennials have been bombarded with the idea that they could reach their dreams if they just believed in themselves. This included all genders, races, ages, creeds, and abilities.
Millennials are more than trophy kids with Disney Channel dreams. They are a generation that is determined to accomplish their goals and empower those around them to live out their purpose. As Martha Stewart says, “This is a good thing” and an even better thing for today’s workforce.
So, where should companies start?
Here are 4 tips for any business that is looking to create a dynamic mentorship program for Millennials on their team.
MENTORSHIP IS ABOUT TRANSPARENCY
If we never let our guard down and let others in, then they’ll never really know us. The same is true about mentorship. Many business leaders are asking mentees to put their best foot forward because they don’t really want to deal with their real issues. Millennials see through this facade and force mentors to drop their guard and interact with authenticity.
Millennials in the workplace want to know that when they enter into a conversation that they’re talking with people–not a persona.
If companies want to create environments that attract and retain Millennials, then they have to take the time to know them. This takes work and it takes time.
MENTORSHIP IS ABOUT BEING KNOWN. IT’S NOT A TASK LIST.
If companies are not willing to carve out space for understanding, then they’ll never be able to gain the trust or respect of their Millennial workers.
Mentorship is one of the most intimate and rewarding opportunities; however, transparency and trust must be at the core of any mentoring relationship.
If businesses want to create mentorship programs, then it has to be a two-way conversation. A script won’t work.
MENTORSHIP IS FOR SELF-DEVELOPMENT.
Mentorship is not a cloning process, but an environment purposed for character development.
Many companies view mentorship as a way to create carbon-copy. This perspective is not only wrong. It’s also highly damaging because it limits the ingenuity and innovation to only a few leaders within the company.
COPYING THE PAST WON’T AID YOUR COMPANY FOR THE FUTURE.
There’s nothing wrong with looking at those who have paved the way and learning from their creativity and leadership. But, Millennials want to work towards progress–not repeat the past or the present.
Millennials are looking for motivational speakers, intuitive therapists, hipster influencers, time-management consultants, and executive leaders who are willing to walk with them as they become the best version of themselves. In many ways, they’re looking for Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, Jill Konrath, and Eric Thomas all wrapped up in one person. This can seem like a huge undertaking. And in essence, it is a lot of work.
If business leaders are willing to lean in, listen, learn, and create spaces of authentic conversation, they’ll gain a high return on their investment.