ARTICLE 0 comments
04/13 2013

Do Millenials Shun One-On-One Mentoring?

Are millennials shunning the traditional one-on-one mentoring model in favor of developing a broad series of different types of mentors?   The answer appears to be “yes”, based on a recent article in Blomberg Businessweek.

Writing in the March 18 edition of the magazine, Marina Khidekel writes that for many millennials, being paired with a single mentor to guide their career development is as old-fashioned as a “three martini lunch”.  Embedded in this mindset is the idea that a young professional will serve in a wide variety of roles — in a wide variety of organizations — which necessitates a much more broad-based, mentoring “board of directors” who can serve different roles as needed through the course of one’s career.

In addition, many of the mentoring “relationships” that are developed by millennials are more likely to resemble a Twitter conversation or Facebook post, as opposed to the long-term, “deep” relationships that were the norm in the past.   These relationship tend to be short-termed and informal — and they also tend to end before the relationship becomes a “chore” to either mentor or mentee.

Citing numerous studies, Khidekel points-out that while structured, mandatory mentoring programs are still common in large companies, many firms are experimenting with other forms of mentoring.    Popular options include team mentoring or peer mentoring, where groups of like-minded individuals gather to share advice with each other.  So-called “reverse” mentoring involves pairing older workers with younger employees as away of ensuring that older employees remain up-to-date with emerging issues and new technology.   Finally, “speed mentoring” somewhat resembles speed dating — with mentees working in short bursts with a wide variety of mentors, each of whom can supply targeted career and functional/technical advice.

While it may be premature to declare the traditional model of mentoring “dead”, organizations are encouraged to note that millennials may not see such traditional arrangements as entirely satisfactory.   The article points out that millennials not only place less credence on the experience of their older counterparts, only 2% of millennial respondents in a recent survey indicated that a formal mentor was their greatest source of career guidance or support (spouses/partners and parents actually received much higher ratings).   Many millennials feels as though they can contribute at a high level now — so waiting in lines, or waiting for a promotion via the corporate hierarchy — can seem like a foreign concept to them.

Mentors have their own issues with millennial mentees, as well — ranging from providing feedback on the inappropriateness of texting or using a Smartphone during a conversation, and the importance of adhering to schedules and deadlines.  The most common gripe of mentors?    Waiting for days for millennials to respond to emails…

Organizations are encouraged to consider more formal mentoring arrangements for the early stages of career development (on-boarding new hires in a way to ensure they have broad exposure to the organization, for example), but then are also encouraged to incorporate other mentoring practices to meet the later career needs of millenials.  Such a hybrid approach is likely to do a better job of meeting the needs of both millennials and their mentors.

Social poster

delicious digg reddit technorati facebook twitter google yahoo wikio blinklist simpy spurl 


  • No documents for download.