Today, HR professionals face the uphill battle of engaging and retaining the young professional demographic. In 2015, almost half of the United States workforce consisted of young professionals, a figure which is expected to increase to 57 percent by 2020. Subsequently, employers are ditching the traditional methods of mentorship to fit the younger generation and the ever-changing world of work.
Today’s young professionals are less concerned with money and more interested in being flexible and social—not only concerning technology, but with feedback and interaction. Organizations can appease these motivations through social rewards, such as a mentorship.
However, mentorships need to undergo a makeover to fit an evolving workplace and workforce. Young professionals are more likely to career-hop throughout their professional life, prompting the need for multiple mentors over the years.
Studies have shown that mentoring can help with advancement, which can be shown through higher pay, a promotion, a wider net of professional contacts, or even just greater knowledge of how to navigate an organization’s politics and processes.
Mentors don’t have to be hands-on overseers in today’s world. In the Forbes article Why Millennials Can’t Find Mentors and How We Can Fix That, Denise Restauri states that mentorships can focus on entrepreneurism, professional growth, career change and personal finance. These topics don’t have to be discussed in person. Online forums and social media platforms are now an alternative to more formal environments.
While technology and today’s youth have changed the game, communication remains the key to successful mentoring. Mentors and mentees should understand the goals of the mentorship, including what the mentee hopes to achieve and learn from the relationship. Mentees should ask the right questions to gauge how the mentorship will proceed and the expectations of both sides. At the onset, mentor and mentee should communicate how the mentor’s experience can help the mentee and what are the mentee’s goals career-wise.
As organizations prepare to welcome and accommodate young professionals, it’s vital for HR to recognize and retrofit mentorships to encourage mentors and mentees to get the best out of the experience. It’s also important to closely monitor organizational mentorship programs for problems. As the Wall Street Journal article When Mentoring Goes Bad explains, while mentorships are meant to be positive experiences, they can also fail “in all sorts of ways and sometimes spectacularly.”
Does your organization have a structured mentorship program? Have you experienced any changes in the program with the new, young workforce wave?
Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on August 24 for #Nextchat: A Different Direction for Mentorship with SHRM Young Professional Council members Dan Cross and Jillian Caswell. We’ll chat about how young professionals are blowing up traditional methods of mentorship to fit today’s ever-changing world of work.
Q1. Let's start with the basics - what are the qualities of a good mentor?
Q2. What about the flip side - what are the qualities of a good mentee?
Q3. What expectations should a mentee have in a mentor relationship?
Q4. How do you think mentorship has changed over the last 5 years? 20 years?
Q5. How is technology changing traditional models for mentorship? How can it help (or hurt) mentor-mentee relationships?
Q6. How is mentorship etiquette changing and what rules should mentors and mentees follow now?
Q7. How does gender affect mentor relationships? Are there advantages or disadvantages to same-sex or opposite-sex mentoring?
Q8. What are the best practices for setting up a mentorship program within an organization?
If you missed this chat on 8/24, please click here to see the RECAP post with all the tweets.