• Quick Tips for Mentoring Millennials

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    May 29, 2013

    What are some traits of Millennials that might surface as your organization brings them on board as interns or new hires? Millennials tend to prefer high-touch relationships, have high exploratory drives, and are accustomed to being assessed as individuals. With this in mind, here are several tips for mentoring this generation of college students and graduates:

    • Push back, set boundaries, and check reality—Mentoring is not parenting, coaching, teaching, or supervising. It is, however, a little bit of all of these. It’s important to set clear boundaries and expectations so your Millennial mentee doesn’t confuse your role.
    • Provide constant feedback, not just affirmation—Feedback means saying “yes” when the answer is yes, and “no” when the answer is no. Mentors sometimes find it difficult to say something’s wrong. Don’t be afraid to provide negative feedback, but, when you do, be sure to offer a positive solution.
    • Collaborate and personalize contact—Millennials prefer high-touch relationships. Carve out time to work on something with your mentee, whether it’s a resume, a scientific problem, or a job-related question. This will strengthen your bond.
    • Focus interests on work—Encourage your mentee’s exploratory drive, but show how it can be connected to and channeled into exciting work. This is especially true in the tech domain, with regards to apps, social networking, and other offerings. The temptation is for a mentor to say, “That’s not how it’s done here.” That approach can suppress natural enthusiasm and creativity. Let your mentee’s enthusiasm flow, but not overflow.
    • Network the learning—Remember that, when Millennials graduate from college, they have had many years of being rewarded for their own homework, grades, and performance. They are rated as individuals. In the workplace, many things are networked and collaborative, and an individual’s fate is tied to other people. Open up your mentor/mentee relationship to your network so the learning comes from many sources and better reflects the dynamics of the workplace.

Quick Tips for Mentoring Millennials