Tue 2 Aug 2011
Posted by Alicia under C-Suite, Career Advice, Career Coaches, Career Development, Coaching, First Job, Gen Y, Job Interviewing Tips, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Millennials, Training & Development, twentysomethings
I want to first start out by thanking my colleague, Susan Whitcomb, a wonderful career coach and President of the Career Coach Academy for sending me this article in the Business Insider written by Vivian Giang titled: ”If You Want to Retain The Best Young Workers, Give Them A Mentor Instead of Cash Bonuses“. According to the article, in a recent annual Global CEO Survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 20-somethings, also known as Gen Y/Millennials rated training and development way above cash bonuses as their first choice in benefits.
The research that I did this past year validated the results from the survey. As I interviewed 20-somethings that had been working from one to five years, over 80% had either left a job or were aggressively looking for one. Why? All of them were shocked by the reality they faced when they started working. None of them were prepared for it and all of them wished they had known ahead of time so that perhaps they would have asked better questions during the interview to determine if there was a good fit. But even if they still had to take a job regardless of fit, they all felt that knowing would have helped with a better transition.
What was shock #1 for these Gen Yers? Having to report to bad bosses and/or not having mentors they could go to. In my new e-book, New @ Work: An Insider’s Survival Guide to a Crazy Workplace, I give new hires some probing questions to ask during an interview so they can determine if their prospective employer embraces mentoring and whether or not their next boss has “horrible boss” characteristics.
In my experience having worked as a corporate executive for over 25 years, I find that new hires don’t take enough advantage of the interview process. The interview provides a great opportunity to get to know important things about the organization and the person who will be your boss. Too often, young interviewees are so concerned about making a good impression that they either don’t ask a lot of questions or ask very predictable ones.
Interviewers have typically been through hundreds of interviews and usually have heard the same questions being asked over and over again. A way to stand out is to ask them questions that make them think, that get them out of their comfort zone. As long as you ask it in a non-threatening manner and from a place of curiosity, the interviewer will most likely remember you from the countless other interviews he or she has had. In today’s world, young interviewees need to find creative ways to get on the employers radar preferably before the interview but certainly during the interview.
As I was reading the Insider Edition article, I was noticing some of the comments that were posted. Many of them appeared to be from Gen Yers who disagreed with the survey results and rated cash bonuses over mentoring. Although this is understandable in today’s unstable economic times, I believe it ultimately backfires. It’s a case of being penny wise and pound foolish.
Having had mentors and being a mentor during my long career, I can attest to the huge benefits mentors provide. They are able to fastrack your career. They show you where the landmines are located, what to do and not do and how best to stand out and get noticed. Mentors provide a shortcut to becoming successful at work. Although that may not be as appealing as a cash bonus in the short term, I can vouch that it has much better financial benefits in the long term.
Mentoring has allowed me to make strategic moves in my career that have ultimately gotten me higher increases, better bonuses and more importantly, positioned me to become a high performer which is the cream of the talent crop in an organization. Cash bonuses could not have done that and eventually, those bonuses would probably shrink without a “Success GPS” that only a mentor can provide.
In my e-book I give some advice on how to find mentors in or outside an organization if someone finds him or herself working for a bad boss or an organization that doesn’t foster mentoring. Mentoring is that important to your career whether you are 20-something or 50-something.
When you have a good mentor, the cash will come. Without one, it’s a rocky road.