A millennial mentor? It's more likely than you think
- The New York Times reports on a new-old trend: Younger workers mentoring seasoned executives. Executives are reaching out to millennials for advice on marketing to, communicating with and understanding younger workers.
- Millennial mentorship programs are new versions of younger workers giving older employees advice, according to the Times. In such programs, which are part of a larger trend known as reverse mentoring, millennial professionals advise executives on developing products, gaining digital expertise and finding new markets catering to young consumers.
- Back in the 1990s, Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric Co., required his top senior managers to team up with young workers to find out how to navigate the internet, said the Times.
Executives turning to millennials for mentoring isn’t surprising, since that generation makes up the largest segment of today’s workforce and is causing a big digital transformation of the workplace. As organizations’ top decision-makers, high-level executives can learn much from millennials about recruiting, hiring, engaging and retaining the next generations of workers.
Millennials aren’t just tech-savvy. Many know the value of finding work-life balance, handling finances, saving for retirement, selecting benefits that suit their needs and moving on from their current employer for better career opportunities. If employers want to engage this age group, bosses will have to take the time to listen to them and understand their needs, as well as provide a meaningful work experience overall.
But bosses may be part of the problem for young workers. A recent EurekaFacts study found that millennials think boomer and GenX bosses are blocking their chances for advancement. Whether this view is real or perceived, reverse mentoring is a way for multiple generations to share valuable knowledge and demonstrate teamwork and mutual respect.