Skip to main content

Posted April 29, 2019


As a small business owner or manager, you’ve probably already made a considerable investment recruiting and onboarding new talentNow, in order to return that investment, you must shift your focus to retaining talent. This is especially true if you employ millennials, the notorious, job-hopping generationSo how do you retain your millennial employees? Turning a job into a compelling career path can be as simple as offering a variety of modern mentoring opportunities. 


Why Mentoring Is Crucial to Retaining Millennials 

According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 43 percent of millennials envision leaving their jobs within two years; only 28 percent seek to stay beyond 5 years. The same survey from two years earlier found that 63 percent of millennials say their leadership skills are not being fully developed. Millennials intending to stay with their organization for more than five years were found to be twice as likely to have a mentor (68 percent), than not (32 percent).  

As Deloitte points out, “younger workers need positive reasons to stay with their employers; they need to be offered the realistic prospect that by staying loyal they will, in the long run, be materially better off—and as individuals, develop faster and more fully than if they left.” 


Beyond Traditional Mentoring: Micro and Reverse Mentoring 

Traditional mentoring will never go out of style. Someone who has been with your business for twenty-five years has a wealth of knowledge. That individual needs to be willing to share their expertise with millennial colleaguesBut there are new, modern mentoring practices that could do wonders for your employee retention. Here’s the latest on two modern types of mentoring—micro and reverse—from Forbes: 


Micro Mentoring 

Micro mentoring is a perfect fit for our digital age. According to millennial workplace expert Lindsey Pollak, “Micro mentoring is smaller, more informal opportunities for mentoring. Social media creates opportunities for more micro mentoring, in that you can reach out via Twitter or LinkedIn to someone with more experience or expertise in a certain area.” 

With micro mentoring, a millennial may have multiple mentors over a short time frame as they reach out to different resources for guidance with onboarding, team development, or working with a new manager. Think casual and informal.  


Reverse Mentoring 

Mentoring doesn’t necessarily mean an older employee mentoring a younger employee. Mentoring is all about sharing expertise. Millennial employees have a lot to offer their Gen X and baby boomer colleagues—especially when it comes to adopting new technologies. Enter reverse mentoring. 

Techopedia defines reverse mentoring as an initiative where younger employees mentor older employees on topics like technology, social media, and current trends.  

According to Forbes, the benefits of reverse mentoring are twofold: “[older employees] are able to stay on the pulse of trends that are most important to the elusive millennial, while the younger participant feels more connected and invested because they are contributing to the improvement of their company at the highest level.”  

For example, if your company adopts a new technology (like GPS remote asset tracking or WEX’s ClearView Snap) consider having a millennial employee reversementor one of your older employeesAnd don’t lose sight of why mentoring is so effective: because both sides of the relationship have an opportunity to learn and grow.