Do there seem to be an awful lot of twenty and thirtysomethings walking around your office these days? Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce—they passed Generation X in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
With so many Millennials in the workforce, developing their talent is important to every organization’s future. Here are a few tips on how to effectively mentor this unique generation.
Feed Their Need for Purpose
This generation is purpose driven—64 percent say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place, according to a study done by the Intelligence Group, a research firm. Their genuine desire to make a difference extends into the workplace. Millennials are itching to make a big impact at work, but they often need mentors to help them figure out where they can best benefit the company.
Often, Millennials are still starting at the bottom of the ladder and feel they can only make an impact at the top. It can be discouraging for them to feel they’re not making the difference thought they would. As a mentor, you can help them identify areas in your company where their energy will be valued and their contribution will stand out, helping them feel that they are working with purpose.
As digital natives, socializing is second nature to Millennials. They grew up in a world of constant connectedness, where they always had an outlet for their ideas and thoughts. Their social skills are an asset, but they might not know how to apply them in a corporate setting. Mentoring them in how to productively collaborate on projects and build collaboration—rather than competition—in the workplace is a good place to start. Encourage Millennials to get involved in projects where they have to collaborate with non-Millennials to make them stretch their social skills.
Help Them Grow
Millennials are often criticized for job-hopping—they’re three times more likely to have left a job in the last year than members of other generations, according to a Gallup survey. But to give them a little credit, many of their job moves come from a desire to learn and grow in a role. “They are not willing to stick around if they do not believe they are receiving any personal benefit or growth,” says Forbes contributor Jeff Fromm. Millennials want to feel as though they’re always moving forward in their careers and in their personal growth. The simple act of mentoring them can be all they need to feel they’re learning. In addition, you can encourage them to volunteer for new types of work to challenge themselves and to take advantage of any continuing education programs in your workplace.
What tips do you have for building a professional relationship with Millennials in your field? Please share them in the comment section.