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Benefits of Cross-Generational Mentoring
Cross-generational mentoring is defined as pairing individuals from different generations with the goal of mutual learning and growth. Through mentoring relationship where multiple generations share experiences, skills, and knowledge, employees are able to create a bridge. This bridge will eliminate both the generation gap and the skill gap that exists between these two groups.
When looking to implement a cross-generational mentoring program, it’s important to understand the benefits for everyone involved.
Here are the benefits of cross-generational mentoring.
The baby boomer generation is widely retiring, with an average of 5,900 new boomers leaving the workforce daily. While this is a slower rate than their predecessors, this generation is still steadily leaving their organizations. This means organizations need to help boomers share their knowledge with younger generations before they go.
Cross-generational mentoring can make this happen. Pairing a baby boomer with a member of a different generation promotes knowledge flow between them. This keeps the knowledge of the boomer in the organization when they retire.
Build a Succession Pipeline
As baby boomers continue to retire, organizations need to implement succession planning strategies to replace those leaders and executives. Cross-generational mentoring can make high-potential employees into mentees of leadership mentors. This pairing is ideal for grooming the succession pipeline to move into leadership positions one day.
Increase Employee Engagement and Boost Productivity
Studies show that Millennials and Generation Z are twice as likely to be unengaged at work than other generations. When employees are engaged, they produce higher-quality work. This means that employee engagement is important, as the younger workforce is growing steadily.
Mentoring can increase employee engagement and elicit better work out of employees. This is especially true with cross-generational mentoring, because the older generations are more engaged.
Pairing them with younger generations will transfer their engagement, creating a better company and boosting productivity within the organization.
Improve Employee Retention Rates
Mentoring in general is a great way to retain employees. 83% of employees that participate in a mentoring program say their experience influenced their desire to stay with their organization. This is especially true of millennials, as 79% say mentoring is crucial to their development.
Retention of employees, especially millennials, can be positively impacted with mentoring initiatives. Cross-generational mentoring further fulfills this need, because it provides more experienced mentors to guide and help younger mentees. It can also provide younger generations a change to talk to and mentor older generations, when the organization promotes reverse mentoring.
Develop Leadership Skills and Career Paths
Because of their tenure, older generations often hold more leadership positions. This means that cross-generational mentoring can enable leadership development in the younger generations. They will be exposed to experiences and skills many of their peers do not yet have. Younger generation mentees will also be able to discuss their ambitions and ideas with someone who has been in their shoes.
Similarly, cross-generational mentoring can help build career paths for all generations. When older generations are not ready to retire, but want a new career path, younger generations can recommend paths they might be unaware of. Older generations can return the favor by guiding the career development of their mentees.
Like traditional mentoring, cross-generational mentoring will open up a lot of networking opportunities for both parties. Everyone knows different people, and strategic meetings and events can help expand the networks of all generations. Internal networking is a vital part of career development.
Case Study: The Millennial Job-Hopper
We asked our Digital Marketing Specialist, Katie Mouton, to discuss how she thinks these benefits affect her generation, the millennials. Katie said, “I think these benefits really touch on what we are looking for from organizations. So many of us are seen as job-hoppers. If you look at my resume you would say the same about me."
“I’ve had 3 jobs in the past 4 years. The reason that I chose to leave each of those positions speaks directly to these benefits. I didn’t feel engaged. I wasn’t given an opportunity to help me gain knowledge. This caused me to feel like the organizations didn't care if they retained me. Being in a position where I couldn’t continue to grow my career pushed me to look for new opportunities."
“I believe that if there was a cross-generational mentoring program, I would have stayed with those organizations for more than a year.”
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