Lois Zachary, President of Leadership Development Services, LLC, is an international expert in mentoring and leadership development. Her best-selling books on mentoring (The Mentor's Guide, Creating a Mentoring Culture, and The Mentee's Guide) have become the primary resources of Fortune 500 companies, government, education, technology, health care, and nonprofit organizations.
Welcome to my blog. My goal, during our time together, is to offer some fresh thinking and creative strategies to help enhance your personal and organizational mentoring practices. So, let’s get started by taking a peek at some of trends that seem to be driving much of the resurgence and expansion of mentoring in the workplace today.
There is no fat! Over lunch on Friday a friend and I were chatting about some workplace changes we’ve observed over the last couple of months. She mentioned that her employer was anticipating still another 5,000 employee RIFs in the next 90 days. “Bummer,” I said, and she nodded, saying “there is no fat left.”
In this economy, being good is not good enough. Cutbacks affect a surprising number of individual contributors and good performers. When pushed to the wall, companies opt for retaining the really great performers. Expectations for them are higher than ever before. The price of losing them is dear.
The bottom line: When the workforce is cutback others take on additional responsibilities, often with little or no preparation, skills and training. Organizations need to invest more - not less - in their development to retain them. Mentoring relationships provide a just-in-time sounding board, a helpful source of trusted feedback, and a trusting relationship that promotes organizational loyalty, increased morale and reduced stress.
Millennials Are Antsy! Seventy-five percent of today’s Millennials say that they plan to leave their current jobs when the economy improves. For any employer this is a very scary statistic. Millennials (GenYs) have been raised to feel valuable and very optimistic and eager to take on increased responsibility and leadership. They want a seat at the table and when they aren’t offered one, become resentful. They believe that they can learn quickly, take on significant responsibility and make major contributions far sooner than their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts think they can. They are eager learners and want challenging assignments or they will move on.
The bottom line: Millennials seek mentors and look for jobs in companies that offer mentoring programs. It is one way they know that the organization is invested in their future development. They value mentors who acknowledge what they bring to the table and treat them as partners in the relationship. Since they are eager learners they look for multiple mentors who are are caring and supportive and will give them the candid feedback they crave.
Mentoring is a proven strategy for managing organizational knowledge, reenergizing Baby Boomers and adding connection and value to the organization. If your company doesn’t have a mentoring program right now you’d better get busy. You are going to need it to hold onto your employees, to develop them and raise the level trust in your organization!