I would recommend every senior manager to mentor a junior staff member from generation Y or Z for very selfish reasons. You need to learn about new generations and technology they use. Frankly they are the future market and we have to start taking in consideration their views . We are facing now the 4th Industrial Revolution (according to World Economic Forum) that will change the way we work, some of the markets will disappear and new will emerge. Time to get ready.
I had a chance to work with a marketing intern. His direct manager was occupied for 2 weeks and I was given the task of introducing this young man into company procedures and culture. He helped me with putting together tenders and submissions for awards. It was a refreshing experience to have to explain my methods and reflect on them again. In addition I couldn’t procrastinate as I was a living example how the work should be done. I felt responsible. As a result I was much more productive and efficient.
Learning happened both ways. I learnt how to convert YouTube songs into mp3. Yes, you can do it (for those who didn’t know you can do it). Yes, I wasn’t aware that it’s possible, even though I consider myself tech savvy (for those who knew about this and rolled their eyes). I had to give very honest and direct feedback and recognize the effort. I had to stop presuming that some things are obvious. Not for everyone. He learnt how to develop strong awards submission (his contribution won the company 3rd place in E-Learning Awards), how to admit that he didn’t know how to start the project, how to ask for help and even how to use a binding machine! Win Win.
If you are still not convinced that mentoring a younger employee is a good idea here are some of the benefits:
- Access to technology. They will possibly use technology and social media on daily basis (in their sleep even). It’s natural for them, they can introduce you to loads of new apps (Audible for example), websites and concepts. They might even help you in moving from iPhone to Samsung. Ask what books they read, what music they listen to. It can be very inspirational and you will expand your own world.
- Feeling good. In the same time you can offer to help new generation in adapting to new environment such as workplace, help them to take the ownership of their actions, show them that they can’t control everyone around but they can control their reactions and make …. decisions. You will build their self confidence and push them out of their comfort zone. Mentoring someone proved to be extremely rewarding and increases your won job satisfaction. According to CIPD a supportive relationship with a mentor can be life changing. Would you not like to change someone’s life for better? Oh, yes you would.
- You will understand your customers. You will get an insight into new generation of customers’ likes and dislikes. You will understand how they operate and what they value. Where do you clash and how it could be bridged for the sake of your business. Don’t miss out. Your business needs customers.
- Life long learning. We absorb less information with age and we tend to create habits. Mentoring a younger person will challenge these old habits. You will have to as well improve your listening skills and be more open minded to continue the mentoring.
Please share your own experience and your stories comments. Let me know, if you agree and if you want to add anything. I’d love to hear from you!