Mentoring a two-way street

Written by
Changeboard Team

16 Apr 2013

16 Apr 2013 • by Changeboard Team

Gen Y employees

Traditionally, the act of partnering a fledgling professional with an experienced member of staff is often perceived as being for the benefit of the more junior employee. But generation Y professionals have just as much, if not more, to offer their senior colleagues. Although there is no substitute for experience, innovation often comes from the bottom up. And by encouraging younger employees to share the innate social, technical and communication abilities that they are likely to possess, we can help drive our organisations into the future and ensure ongoing growth and profitability.    

Skills for the 21st century

The success of any business depends on a HR team’s ability to effectively engage with existing and potential employees. But the mediums that we use to share information are changing, and so is the language that we use to communicate. The recent case of HMV’s Twitter account being hacked by a disgruntled former intern – and reports that the company’s marketing manager was ill equipped to control these actions – is a case in point.

Personnel with management responsibilities should, in theory, be able to lead by example and effectively carry out the tasks that they assign to others themselves. And in this fast moving digital age, tuning into the ideas of Gen Y talent may be the best way to keep ahead of the curve and nurture your own professional development.

Sharing skill sets

Like society as a whole, corporate culture relies on a blend of experiences, skill sets, ideas and perspectives to flourish. But whereas traditional management techniques concentrate on sharing expertise from the top down, forward thinking HR innovators are beginning to understand that each level of talent can bring something valuable to the table. As digital natives, Gen Y employees have a natural understanding of technology, which we should tap into to educate the ‘digital immigrants’ within our teams. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that demonstrating a genuine interest in the expertise of every employee has a positive effect on staff productively and retention. By valuing the capabilities of our people today, we can help safeguard our talent pipelines for the future.

The millennial generation are the future leaders of tomorrow. And we should remember that what they may lack in ‘years on the job’, they make up for in fresh ideas and contemporary skill sets. The benefits of mentoring are widely accepted when it comes to training and developing fresh young talent, but the transfer of knowledge works both ways. What can you and your peers learn from the younger generation?