Boomers, Gen. X, Millennials; the different generations in the workplace have been a hot topic for a number of years now. I include a training module on this in my mentor program kick-offs. The generational topic provides some interesting discussion on communication styles and how this might affect the mentoring relationship.
With 10,000 people turning 65 years old every day, the Baby Boomers have begun their march out of the workplace and into retirement. The Millennials, or Gen. Y, will soon be the majority of the U.S. employee population. Different sources define the exact years of this group. Some say it’s the people born between 1980 and 2000; others peg the cohort to be those born between 1977 and 1997. Either way, at 80 million and counting, they are quite the generational force.
What have been the observations about the Millenials?
- They have been raised by collaborative parents and expect to be included in decision-making processes.
- They are globally focused, cyber-literate and environmentally conscious.
- They assume success will come quickly. (A hangover from their childhood days when everyone got a trophy and was often told, “You are so special.”)
- They are confident and altruistic. A vast majority believe their age group has the potential to change the world for the better.
They love mentor programs!
- In addition, because of their constant access to information while growing up, they thrive on feedback. If their idea is bad, tell them why. Conversely, remember to have frequent conversations on their performance and what value they bring to your organization. Millennials want feedback in real time, not just one conversation at annual review time.
In their leaders, Millennials value openness, transparency and inclusion. Be a hands-on supervisor. Give them a warm welcome when they join your organization and have in place an effective on-boarding plan. Get them connected in your company as well as our greater Lansing community. The new Leadership Lansing program offered by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce received an enthusiastic response from Millennials who want to be connected and make a difference in
Having a mentor program in place gives Millennials another source of feedback and connection. For the past two years, I’ve collaborated with Toronto-based, best-selling author, Jennifer Britton, to develop our Mentor Roadmap™ workbooks and training materials. In providing a turn-key mentor program with support and accountability for our clients across North America, our clients have reported numerous positive results for the mentee, the mentor and the organization.
Mentor programs can be easy to customize, easy to implement, cost effective and require only a one-hour conversation per month. For the mentees (mostly Millennials), having an additional person in the organization talking to them about career paths and development goals reaps huge benefits in retention and employee engagement.
With their optimism and incredible tech talents, the Millenials have great potential to add tremendous value to our workplaces. Look for ways to harness that energy. Evaluate what development programs you have in place and see what needs updating. Look for new programs to add — an on-boarding plan or a mentor program. The Millennials offer a breath of fresh air to our workplaces. Be sure you are leveraging their potential to its fullest.
Susan Combs, MBA and Professional Certified Coach, works with coaching clients to create fresh starts, enhance their leadership skills and increase their confidence. She is an authorized licensee of The Fit Leader’s Program®. Susan provides one-on-one coaching, DiSC team-building training, and manages corporate mentor programs. She lives in Lansing with her 11-year-old son, Max, and their high-energy golden retriever puppy. Visit SusanCombsCoaching.com or MentorRoadmap.com for more information.