Seeking a mentor is not a new concept, and those who do are viewed as focused employees with clear, lofty career aspirations. For members of the workforce’s newest generation, who have been supported by their parents and society as a whole throughout their lives, seeking out a mentor is common. In the workplace, many will inherently turn to their managers and supervisors to provide the same advice, guidance and approval that they are accustomed to. Those of this “Millenial” generation (usually defined as those born between 1982 and the late-1990s) widely recognize their current status and are always looking towards the next step in their career. But employees of today’s generation are taking the mentorship relationship to a new level. And their unique attributes have much to do with how they view their employment.
A great strength of Millennials is the fact that they have grown up in a changing demographic society, where one in three classmates have been of a different racial, cultural or ethnic background. This diversity inherently gives Millennials a global outlook. Although most older workers’ interest may cross international borders, they are generally limited to what they have experienced first hand. Millennials, on the contrary, are interested in how their job or work environment ties into the rest of the world.
Thus, it is important for Millennials to use their backgrounds and step outside the initial boundaries of the workplace, making sure not to let their current role limit their exposure. They must step outside of their comfort zone to expand their knowledge base. For example, a Millennial with an interest in international affairs may do research on the history of workers compensation insurance. Understanding its European roots and its place in the Industrial Revolution, as well as its current role within the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, would demonstrate one’s ability to seek out a global perspective. This, in turn, could open the door for the opportunity to work on accounts with international exposures or in the international market.
Those of the Millennial generation also enjoy technology. Today’s society is accustomed to rapid changes. They do not yearn for days when things were simpler, but look forward with anticipation as to how things will be in the future. Those graduating college today have grown up with technology and can use this to help set them apart from mentees of the past. For example, a mentee can select a few hot topics within their industry, present them to their mentor and ask as to which one would be most valuable to the organization. Researching a new management or customer-tracking system or volunteering to conduct a lesson in video conferencing could help reduce expenses. This may be a topic that a mentor is not as comfortable with, so they should look for the opportunity to seek new ways the company can increase profits and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving, technology-dependent marketplace. As the insurance industry ages, entry-level employees with tech savvy will be increasingly cherished.