The next generation of Mentoring.
We at LEAD have been asking the question “What is mentorship” for the past two years. The two most common responses have overwhelmingly been along the lines of “a senior person offering younger people advice on their career/life based his/her own success” or “a person/friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors”.
After extensive research, surveying 1500 employees; millennials, women and minority groups in particular consistently raised the issue of lacking the right support to excel their career progression, believing that mentorship could be the key to their success.
The mentor moment
Simon Sinek in his “First Why and then Trust” video, discusses how people will trust the 16-year-old from down the road to babysit their children rather than a 32-year-old neighbor with 10 years’ experience in child care, who has only recently moved in. Why? Because they know their values, they are part of their community. Millennials wish for the same thing when it comes to mentoring, they want for connection or assistance from their own, trusted community/organization. People trust who they know. They do not wish to be partnered with an external mentor outside of their own internal network, nor do they wish to spend copious non-work hours at events hoping to meet a future mentor. They want to be able to build relationships with their own workplace community.
With many of us grew up with Google in the palm of our hands, on-demand movies and music streaming, the next generation of workers just want to click and connect; mentoring being no different. Under 35s no longer want to be paired with a buddy or go through a traditional mentoring program where they must wait 4-6 weeks before they have the chance to get in front of their mentor again. They want fast learning, authentic conversations over coffee, IM or a catch up in the communal kitchen. They want mentoring moments, not structured programs.