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How to retain your young stars
infographic by Oliver Munday

Young workers — the ones who are most likely to leave your company — value mentorship, coaching, and training more than they value money. Yet many businesses are failing to adequately fulfill those desires.

We discussed these findings in the Winter 2012 issue of Build. If the chart we published (shown again above) didn’t drive the point home, let us be clear: If you want to retain your rising stars, you need to set up a mentoring program in your workplace pronto. When you do, keep these three principles in mind.

1. Make the right match. All workers are not created equal. Their priorities and values are likely to differ, and you should keep this in mind when pairing mentors with mentees. In the Inc. article “How to Start a Mentoring Program,” Sarah Kessler (@SarahFKessler) highlights the values-based strategy that McGraw-Hill Education uses to match its mentors and mentees. “Women could choose their own goals —anything from work/life balance to specific industry acumen — and the company matched mentors and mentees based on who could best help achieve the goals,” she explains.

2. Establish structure. Mentoring consultancy Chronus suggests that it’s important to establish a program structure—including endpoints. “Entrepreneurs are advised to develop a clear exit strategy for their business to help them focus upon a tangible outcome,” reads an article on the company’s website. “Mentoring is similar in the sense that without defining a closure point, the mentoring process can wander aimlessly. As a mentoring connection progresses, work with the mentor and mentee to identify mileposts that indicate when mutually established goals have been reached. Establish a formal process that brings closure to the mentoring experience.”

3. Don’t get too abstract. The goals you set should have some connection to your company’s work, advises Linda Phillips-Jones at the Mentoring Group. Phillips-Jones cites the work of colleague Kathy Kram, who asserts that “mentoring efforts that aren’t linked to the goals of the organization will not be taken seriously and will fail.”



By the way, mentees aren’t the only ones who benefit from mentoring programs. University of Miami management professor Terri Scandura tells CBS News that mentors in the workplace are often more productive, better socialized, and less stressed. Mentors also benefit from developing a network of supporters and gaining the perspective of younger employees, Scandura says.

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