Consider Mentoring Programs to Engage Millennial Call Center Employees
While most workplaces today have employees who span generations – from Baby Boomers near retirement age through Gen-X and to younger Millennials beginning their careers – the contact center has traditionally attracted younger workers. For many managers, this means managing workers who are largely millennial. This could have implications for managers, since management styles that worked for previous generations of employees may not work with today’s young people.
There is evidence that millennials have different motivations for work today. They value work-life balance more than previous generations, so managers would be wise to take steps to be more effective in leading millennial team members, according to a recent article by Rob Wormley writing for Shift Hub. This may include creating a formal or informal mentoring program.
“While the young employees entering the workforce of today are often tech-savvy and quick to learn, they still need someone with experience to lean on when navigating a new role,” he wrote. “In fact, the Harvard Business Review found that of 2,200 Millennials they polled, mentorship-related values ranked highest on what they desired from their professional lives.”
Today’s younger workers are looking for a boss who can help them navigate their career paths. The cut-throat management styles that motivated older workers (think “Wall Street”) will turn most younger workers off today and likely lead to high turnover among the contact center ranks. Unfortunately, most contact center managers are busy enough today that even informal mentoring on an occasional basis could be out of reach. In these cases, it might make sense to build a program that has more established contact center agents act as mentors to newer hires.
Wormley recommends that managers consider implementing group mentoring conducted in teams (or aided by technology platforms), and even virtual mentoring, in which young employees can collaborate with a remote, external mentor. There’s also the idea of two-way mentoring that benefits both the established agent and the newbie.
“Reverse mentoring, which pairs an entry-level employee with a management-level leader to train them on the things they know (like how to write a blog, sync mobile devices, etc.) is one way to encourage information sharing from both parties,” he wrote. “As a young employee shares what he/she knows, they feel like their skills and knowledge are valuable. At the same time, managers can share their perspectives and be a stronger mentor thanks to a relationship-based foundation.”
There is evidence, based on the HRB study and others, that millennials aren’t as motivated by money as previous generations. This is demonstrated by participants’ choices of “Being a good parent” and “Helping others in need” ranking much higher in importance for millennials than “Having a high-paying career.”
Letting millennial workers share ideas, take the lead occasionally on a project or organize special events (perhaps even a charity-based event) may go further than promising the best performer a bonus. When millennial workers feel that their job is inextricably entwined with their life goals, they’re going to offer their employer a higher level of job engagement.
Edited by Alicia Young