Today's businesses are anything but traditional. Consequently, executives are rethinking the best way to use mentorship. Reverse mentoring, where younger individuals advise their older associates, is becoming a serious craze. With good reason, the hottest mentors are millennials. Here's why:
1. Millennials are unsurpassed in number.
The millennial generation is the largest in America's history. Subsequently, millennials inevitably will have an enormous effect on the economy, driving business' production and service goals as they approach their spending prime. Having a millennial as a mentor ensures you understand what a huge percentage of your potential market wants, upping the odds of competitive sales and revenue gains. From another angle, the large number of millennials means that it's highly likely you'll have some Gen-Yers your workforce. Hearing out a millennial can open your eyes to how your leadership comes across to the younger generation that eventually will take over for you, thereby getting you to think more critically and creatively about how to motivate and retain your teams.
2. Millennials are completely comfortable operating on a global scale.
Millennials have been able to connect with different areas of the world with unprecedented ease, particularly because of technology. As a result, their perspective is broader, and they know how to network to access the resources they need. You thus can learn to look at your projects (and your business as a whole) with a more inclusive, thoughtful and innovative eye.
3. It's natural for millennials to question.
As global creatures, millennials have a seemingly endless supply of information and choices at their fingertips. This makes millennials feel and act somewhat entitled, but it also means that they're cautious. They want to know why given policies or products are the way they are. They also believe things can change. A mentor from the millennial generation thus can teach you to have clearer purpose for every business operation you implement. They can help you feel more comfortable adapting to new resources or methods according to market demands. Their think-before-you-do approach also can pay off big when you're trying to figure out what direction to take your company in or need to handle sensitive situations.
4. Millennials believe in inclusiveness.
Having the world as a playground has taught millennials that there is no "us" versus "them". They can break down barriers to diversity in your business, developing an atmosphere of acceptance. They can teach you to abandon the traditional business hierarchy in favor of treating each member of the company as an equal with a potentially innovative voice.
Reverse mentoring with a millennial might seem unconventional, but members of Gen Y have plenty to offer. Opening yourself to the process can be transformative, so if you want to rejuvenate your company, be smart and start a relationship with today's young adults.
Now, go ask your new prospective mentor to lunch.