Why Millennials are Difficult to Mentor

Millennials or Gen Y are more difficult to mentor than employees and peers of the past. Since they're less motivated by money and more by their individual career experiences, they require a different mentoring style.
Getting Small Businesses Unstuck, Shafran Moltz Group
March 21, 2013

I dread mentoring millennials (Gen Y).  My business experience over the last 30 years has left me ill equipped to help them. They are not primarily motivated by financial rewards, but instead value flexibility to their work and learning environment. They don’t want to be tied down to one job for a long period of time or choose just a single career. Millennials gravitate toward “cool” companies since they are always sharing their activity through social media. They are just as involved in branding themselves than the company they currently work for. 

In an article for Businessweek.com, writer Marina Khidekel notes that Jeanne Meister, co-author of The 2020 Workplace, writes that the mentorship model for millennials has changed. In a quote from the article, Meister says, "today’s new mentorship models are more like Twitter conversations than the long-term relationships of days past. They’re short-term and quite informal. And they end before it becomes a chore for either party—like moving on from a just-OK date.” 

The lesson? Learn to mentor a millennial on their terms. Ask them what they need rather than the help you want to give them or what you think they need to learn to be successful. Let it be more of a reciprocal relationship and it will be more satisfying for both people. 



For more of the best insights from mentors at the Boomtown accelerator program, access our exclusive video series: Mentor Insights – On Your Schedule.


Read more Leadership Watch articles.

Photo: Getty Images 

Getting Small Businesses Unstuck, Shafran Moltz Group