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The Undeniable Need for Effective Mentors

startup-photos.jpgRetaining top talent is one of HR's top wicked problems.

Roughly 55% of millennials are disengaged in their work, and this is causing them to move from job to job at a much faster rate than previous generations. In other words, you're losing your talent before you've unlocked their true value.

But what actions have you taken to combat this? Perhaps mentoring may be the hidden key to employee retention.

Millennials view their work as an integral part of their lives. No longer is it simply a day job that needs to be "balanced" with their actual lives. For this reason, they place a strong emphasis on finding work that is fulfilling and rewarding. Connecting to a larger purpose is the main focus of these young workers. 

So, how can you engage this success-seeking generation? Exactly how do you mentor your employees? 

Get senior executives or key business leaders involved

Millennials have rather high aspirations when it comes to their careers and feel as if they can make it to the top of their company faster than previous generations. For this reason, pair them with someone who they truly aspire to be. Set up monthly or quarterly 'one-on-ones' to have a recurring opportunity for your business leader to provide insight, big picture ideas, and advice for succeeding in the company. Have the two set clear goals for the young mentees to achieve before their next meeting. 

Your mentors may feel strapped for time and push back regarding this new task, but they will certainly gain their fair share of benefits from this new relationship. Not only will they be able to share their knowledge and gain confidence in their work, but will also re-energize their career. Along with this, they will be able to learn about other areas within the company and gain greater personal satisfaction. 

Reverse Mentoring - Manage up

This relationship is by no means one sided - millennials also have quite a bit of knowledge to offer in return. Not only are they quick to adapt to new surroundings, but they have a keen eye for technology and getting things done efficiently. By opening up the communicaton between your key business leaders and millenials, you create a channel to share fresh ideas and new ways of looking at old processes. 

For example, take it from Microsoft Norway's General Manager, Michael Jacobs, who regularly meets with his millennial counterpart to gain knowledge on topics ranging from new digital communications to workplace trends. On the flip side, his young mentor is able to gain valuable insights into what leadership truly means and also gets to share in the larger picture.

Get Digital

It's not always the case that you have enough manpower to mentor every person within your organization. Invest in building podcasts or quick videos offering advice from your top executives sharing insight into what the c-suite is up to. Your millenials will be grateful for the ability to learn on their own time and also have access to snippets of info when it's most convenient for them. Not to mention, this knowledge can be shared over and over again within your organization.

Don't be afraid to encourage your employees to seek mentorship wherever they find value, even if that is an outside professional. Simply having the inspiration available to fuel creative thinking, new ideas, and out-of-box process improvements will certainly benefit your company in the long run. A mentoring program can transform you culture by having your employees find a greater purpose and also feel connected with their coworkers.

[Download the Whitepaper] Managing People Risk: The Human Side of the Equation

Topics: Leadership / Strategy