Sep 24, 2019
Here comes the list: The silent generation. Baby boomers. Gen X. Millennials. Generation Z. Much has been presented of the evidence that, for the first time, the labor force is composed of five different generations. The challenge: How do industry leaders mentor such an assorted range of personalities?
To start, understand that while the distinctions are significant, the similarities far exceed the differences. People share fundamental needs in the workplace – security, inclusion, and appreciation. Leaders must invest in workplace environments that speak to universal values while also developing respect for diversity.
A robust and inclusive culture builds connections through shared values and sets the basis for collaborative teamwork. It empowers employees to mentor each other informally by illustrating how work is addressed, how people treat each other, how new concepts are vetted and how change occurs.
With a strong culture in motion, mentoring can be tailored to specific individuals.
My mentorship posture is defined by who I am: a woman, a child of immigrants and a leader. I, too, had an entry-level position, and I have kids in the millennial and Gen Z age range. I lean on different parts of my own experience to manage my communications with mentees and colleagues of all generations. I have had many informal mentors and now I believe an essential part of my duty is to be that experienced and esteemed teacher. But that doesn’t appear identical to everyone in my company. So I adjust my method based on what a mentee needs. Boomers tend to be more content with a conventional flow – perhaps a monthly meeting. I’ve found that flexibility-loving millennials, on the other hand, often prefer 10 minutes of my time for a “micro-session” each week or so.
No matter the generation, listen first. Ask questions to help them verbalize what they need. Test generalizations. “I want a mentor” is not enough.
When you get to the heart of what a mentee needs, it’s usually not particular to age at all. It’s about their anxiety, ability or inclination for meaning. Millennials tend to be very collaborative whereas I’ve found Gen Z employees are strongly self-sufficient. For millennials, I’ll help them recognize other people or teams with whom they should network. For Gen Z, I focus on ways they can sharpen their aptitude individually and then inspire them to bestow what they learn with others.
Reverse mentoring, where a younger employee and an older employee help each other learn new ideas is also a comprehensive intergenerational technique. I invest in giving opportunities to nourish generations’ similarities, such as means to create Employee Resource Groups, like HP’s newly formed Working Mothers correspondence group or the Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Network, or to join in events to give back around a particular concern such as the environment or education.
A cohesive multigenerational workforce can seem like an impossibility; in truth, it offers unique benefits for companies with the vision and values required to obtain the benefits native to this specific kind of diversity. Mentoring toward different strengths is the key to achieving leadership success.
The silent generation. Baby boomers. Gen X. Millennials. Generation Z. Much has been made of the fact that, for the first time, the labour force is comprised of five generations. The challenge: How do business leaders mentor such a diverse range of people?
To start, recognize that while the differences are important, they are outweighed by the similarities. People share basic needs in the workplace – stability, inclusion and recognition. With a projected global talent shortage of 85.2 million by 2030, leaders must invest in workplace environments that address common values while also cultivating respect for differences.
A strong and inclusive culture creates bonds through shared values and establishes the foundation for a collaborative team. It enables employees to mentor each other informally by demonstrating how work is approached, how people treat each other, how new ideas are vetted and how change happens.
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