Leadership

Why Mentoring Matters

“Millennials.” The term alone can sometimes conjure an image of young people so glued to technology and demanding of workplace perks that they exude undeserved entitlement.

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Some senior finance leaders may struggle to see the most recent generation of college graduates being able to successfully fulfill the roles of competent future executives.

However, current research credits Millennials with similar aspirations and traits as previous generations, and stresses the importance of considering the rapid-change environment of the past century when assessing the true value of emerging youthful workers. If Millennials are to step into future financial leadership roles, today’s senior financial executives must consider that mass customization is imperative as the method of choice for tapping into the highly intelligent and creative potential of the generation.

By developing such an environment, finance leaders will be better able to attract professionals earlier in their careers, create a leadership pipeline, drive higher levels of retention, motivate Millennials intrinsically and engage them professionally.

Some of the recommendation outlined in a soon-to-be-released report by the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) and Robert Half include mentorship programs, enriched engagement incentives, continual learning advancements and other initiatives intended to stimulate ideas for creating an experiential atmosphere designed to nurture staff filled with Millennial workers. The report’s findings are based on an extensive review of existing literature and nine in-depth interviews, conducted between October and November 2015, with senior-level financial executives and subject matter experts.

Maggie Martensen, one of the executives interviewed for the report pointed out:

“Millennials bring a more extroverted, people-centric approach to finance. They’re more highly skilled at their age than previous generations, are able to leverage technology faster, and can navigate change faster. Millennials tend to not identify with a job. Baby Boomers’ identities are often critically tied to their job.”

A Traditionalist or Baby Boomer would typically stay loyal to one organization and follow a logical sequence in climbing the corporate ladder, also being more likely to conform to societal norms.

Millennials have an inherent dislike for conformity, which could be considered an advantage in today’s work climate. All employees are urged repeatedly to “think outside the box,” to be more creative, and to move away from rigid procedures.

“Gen Y [Millennials] is likely to equate job satisfaction with a positive work climate, flexibility, and the opportunity to learn and grow more than any prior generation. Compared with other generations, Gen Y tends to have less respect for rank and more respect for ability and accomplishment. It is likely to trade more pay for work it feels is meaningful at a company where it feels appreciated.”