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5 Ways To Mentor Millennials At The Workplace

mentor millennials at workLadies, stick with me here. I know this post is predominately business related, but we can all make a difference as a mentor; and, there is a small fashion element to it.

I have learned so much since my return to the professional world after almost 20 years away in education, and the best way to get caught up to speed is to attend meetings of other professionals. For me it is imperative for networking, as well as updates on current concerns to today’s business world. At a recent National Association of Women Business Owner’s (NAWBO) meeting, a table discussion turned to challenges with the new millennial workforce.

There are exceptions to every rule (and I hope my own adult children are the exceptions), but for the most part business owners are struggling with a weak work ethic, a lack of respect for authority, and concern more for themselves than for the success of a team or business when dealing with millennials. I am sad to say that I have been witness to this first-hand. I’ve noticed a blatant disregard for work hours and a lack of humility or respect when warned by authorities.

Also, let’s admit it. They have an unhealthy relationship with their phones. It’s almost an addiction, wouldn’t you say? Although it’s one I see adults of all ages guilty of. I recently saw a business owner ask an employee to put down the phone and work on their desktop and you would have thought an appendage was being severed.

I can report that after speaking with an intelligent and vibrant millennial that there was no full understanding of expectations in the workplace. The one reproved does not understand the concept of performing MORE, performing above what is expected in order to help the company (not to mention their own career) excel.

This is where we come in. They need mentorship like no other generation I have seen.

5 Ways To Mentor Millennials At The Workplace

  1. Work ethic. Diligence. Stress the importance of giving more than expected
  2. Remind them to be there. Put down the phone. Be seen when the boss is around
  3. Discuss the importance of working for the company’s success and not just their own.
  4. Talk to them (respectfully!) about watching their work wear. It’s important that too much skin is not visible in the workplace (it’s not happy hour) so that they can be seen making their stamp with the high quality of their work and not with their clothing.
  5. Encourage them. They are bright, fun, innovative and have so much to offer. They just need some direction with proper work place behavior and social graces.

I would like to ask all of you to be bold and loving with your advice to help your millennial colleagues out. I enjoy working with young people. I find that they keep me young. So I want to see them succeed for their sake and the sake of our business, as well.

Is there anything else you would add to this list? Please share. And thanks for being here!

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Saturday 16th of July 2016

I work with a pretty good set of young people in a work environment where people have flexible schedules of their own choosing and for the most part I think everybody is diligent. There is a lot of opportunity for technical growth in my area and not everyone takes advantage of the opportunity, I feel like that's their loss, it's not my place to be their naggy mother. If they come to me with questions or ask my opinion I go out of my way to help or teach them.

As the parent of Millennials I can see the impact of the 'everybody gets a trophy' atmosphere that pervaded the 1990s. The work world is a little tougher. I feel like most I've met are well educated and have really open attitudes and acceptance of others. Using my experience with my kids I know that telling them what I think they should do is a waste of breath, so I don't. If something comes up and I feel they would benefit from something I've learned about the problem I tell them. I don't get judgmental about whether they listen, something things can only be learned by trial and error.

We do state workplace rules explicitly. The kids are all familiar with workflows so knowing that something is a hard and fast rule is acceptable. Usually it's the foreign employees who miss those things. No smelly things in the microwave means no fish!

After my first couple of meetings greeted by a row of laptops on the table I doubled down on my own notetaking skills. Yes, I'm the old lady with the journal, two colors of markers, little boxes and stars next to important items. I learned to learn with handwriting and at this point I need to stay with that. If they learned to learn by typing all the way through meetings good for them.

I recommend Microsoft OneNote for electronic notes. It is tidier than all those scraps of paper in an envelope.

Overall I think the future of our country is in good hands. The Great Recession slowed a lot of these kids down, but they're picking up speed.


Wednesday 13th of July 2016

Oh boy, the phone thing. I absolutely cringe when I walk into a meeting and phones are lined up at each place like they are an invitee. The connection to a piece of equipment is stunning. To a person (I am the exception, but I am also the oldest one in my office), each one carries the phone everywhere, to the restroom, to get a cup of coffee from the break room, the connection is never broken. Even more irritating is the person walking around talking into thin air because they have the Bluetooth. Alas, adapt and look beyond it I guess. Just an unhealthy addiction. I work with many young women. Some have an amazing work ethic that belies their age. Others seem to leave the house determined to flaunt their youth and inexperience. Fortunately, we have a strict dress code where I work and compliance is mandatory. I work closely with several young women and have to say, they treat me as a peer and I have a great deal of respect for each of them. They do offer new ideas and yes, keep me feeling younger.

Prairie Poulet

Tuesday 12th of July 2016

As parents, we need to mentor our own millennials. Times change, but the importance of being earnest doesn't.


Tuesday 12th of July 2016

Great topic Pam! I'm afraid they'd need to remind me to put down my Phone! Mentoring is so rewarding!

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