Cross Generational Mentoring: Help Your Team

Do you remember your first day at a new job? It may have felt similarly to that of a first day at school — often there’s that same combination of excitement, fear, and just plain newness because you don’t yet know the ropes and have a million questions…but you’re not sure whom to ask. And then there’s insider knowledge you don’t find in any handbook. As part of a good onboarding experience, it makes sense to pair new hires with experienced employees in a mentor program so recent hires can learn the ropes from a seasoned pro and have a better chance at success.

  • Go beyond the supervisor. The supervisor has quite a bit to do in terms of paperwork, training, and other details that go along with a new hire. You want to pair a new employee with a seasoned colleague — someone they feel more on the same level with. Most employees don’t want to ask a supervisor about how the building handles the holidays, if other employees steal from the fridge, or which higher-ups to avoid after a meeting goes poorly. A veteran employee can answer those questions and tell the new person how best to streamline their work so things get done efficiently.
  • Ask, don’t force. When putting together a mentoring program, don’t make the more experienced employees join up — you don’t want to create a situation in which the mentor views the mentee as an unwelcome burden they have to babysit. You want employees who see their role as a combination of colleague, teacher, and advocate and want to help the “new kid” slip more easily into his role.
  • Give adequate training and time. What do you want new hires to know that isn’t [clear] in the handbook? What sorts of situations might the mentor want to discuss with this person regarding upcoming projects or event, and how should he speak to the new person/what information do you want passed on? Let them go out to lunch during the first week as a check-in, and allow for the mentor and mentee to have some shared time to discuss anything that might come up.

Encourage the more seasoned employees to share their insights and methods with new hires, and you’ll see the latter group acclimate to your company sooner than he would have without a guide. For help setting up or revamping your own mentor-mentee program, reach out to the staffing experts at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks.