Millennials Hate Traditional One-On-One Mentorship

Many companies, seeking to make transitions easier for new employees, have formal mentorship programs, assigning someone experienced to help them adapt to a new culture and job.

These days, most new hires are going to be members of the millennial generation. And a one to one mentorship arrangement with a senior person, especially when artificially arranged, is exactly wrong for the generation.

As Marina Khidekel at Bloomberg Businessweek points out, while senior people might have valuable advice, too often they just end up being a source of feedback from superiors who should just tell the employee what they want themselves. At some point, these mentor relationships end up being a chore for both parties, but the senior one is encouraged or required to mentor younger employees, and the new hire is reluctant to sour a relationship with someone that can help them advance in the future.

So it just persists with neither side getting anything out of it. The senior half feels unappreciated and put upon, and the younger one, just irritated.

Another part of it is that millennials often don't want to follow the path of senior people in the company. The economic environment they've grown up with has taught them that staying with one company for years is less likely and less safe.

They don't want to follow a defined roadmap, but make a leap. Younger employees prefer to be mentored in the way they interact with the world, in short informal and useful bursts from people they like and have independently formed a relationship with. It may be someone at a different company or a different industry.

The relationships are about asking questions, not patiently waiting for words of wisdom and scheduled monthly meetings.

After all, how much can a millennial rely on a mentor when their eventual goal is to be their boss or found something that disrupts their industry?

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