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Women at Work: Mentorships help the next generation

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Millennial generation will overtake baby boomers as the largest generation in the workforce in 2015. And, 28 percent of Millennials are already in management roles.

In the past, mentorships or apprenticeships played a significant role in the training of the next generation of workers. Unfortunately, with the changing dynamics of the workplace, this practice of teaching and leading has faded away in most industries.

Here are three reasons mentorships should be a part of your business plan for your workforce.

Reduce Turnover

With the great recession over, 60 percent of employees plan to change jobs. A survey by Express Employment Professionals recently revealed that college graduates aren't expected to stay in their first job longer than one year. Emphasizing the importance of mentorships with your team will help keep your Millennial workers developing as they grow in their professional careers.

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A survey of young managers published in the Harvard Business Review found that mentorship was one of the highest-ranking items "important" to them. Unfortunately, it also ranked lowest in the number of employers who provided mentoring to their young leaders.

The impact of the lack of mentorships on turnover doesn't end there, however. A survey by Virtuali, a leadership training firm, found that 64 percent of Millennial leaders believed they were unprepared when entering their leadership role.

If young workers are placed into leadership roles without the training needed to be successful, they will inevitably negatively impact the team they are managing and any hiring decisions they make, leading to costly turnover.

Attract Top Talent

If Millennials are looking for mentorship opportunities or programs in the companies they want to work for, and are even willing to leave their current job to work for a business that offers such programs, what are you doing to attract the top young talent?

It's a competitive advantage for your business to invest in mentorship opportunities for your team and promote such programs when recruiting. Whether you're battling other businesses in your industry or your city, it's clear that having established mentorships for your employees will help you gain the attention of the most talented workers available.

Strategic and Effective Training

Imagine the impact ongoing teaching and guidance could have on a generation of workers that will eventually fill leadership roles at businesses across the country. Mentors can provide unique knowledge and understanding about the company and industry's history, the reasons behind the way things are done, and personal encouragement when an employee faces challenges and tough decisions.

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"The value of a mentor who can help cultivate leadership skills one-on-one in real-time, reduce the anxiety in taking big steps, and focus leaders on achieving their goals – is huge," said Ken Perlman, engagement leader at Kotter International, a leadership research and consulting firm.

If your company doesn't currently have some type of established mentorship program in place, it's time to seriously consider developing one. Statistics and research continue to show the value of mentorships, not only to your employees, but also to the long-term success of your business.

The mentorship program at the Rochester Express office provided much to our new employees. The one-on-one time provided a brief escape from reading the Procedures Manual or computer-based training. Along with the one-on-one time, our weekly phone calls with our regional offices allowed new employees to hear real-world situations and resolutions. It was very valuable for "newbies" to have a seasoned employee they could go to with questions about the world of recruiting.

As Millennials make up more and more of the workforce and leadership in business today, it's the responsibility of current leaders to implement ideas and programs, like mentorships, to keep their companies competitive and successful.

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