A number of baby boomers today are looking for new ways to work. They are trying to explore varied business responsibilities, opportunities and ways to give back to their organizations. As per Richard Ghilarducci, many of them are also considering avenues for working with younger employees. According to research, baby boomers like to work in teams and tend to be fond of collaborative learning. Mentoring provides businesses with a great opportunity to utilize baby boomers. However, to use this opportunity, companies must recognize that mentoring is a major piece of a strategic plan to ramp up recruiting, retaining and increasing the knowledge and skills of younger employees.
Richard Ghilarducci sheds light on why baby boomers must act as a mentor to young professionals
“Start now to identify and develop the next generation of leaders”, was the lead to an article in HR Magazine, printed way back in the February of 1999. The author of this article reported the results of research conducted by Development Dimensions International, which is a global workforce and leadership training, staffing and assessment firm. This research was carried out on “the approaching critical shortage of middle and top leaders in the next five years”, and urged businesses to plan for this looming crisis. The article also marked that “the U.S.’s large, older companies would see 40 to 50 % of their executives leave in the next five years — with not enough people prepared to replace them.” The time this research mentioned has already arrived. Over time, many other studies have also addressed this nationwide workforce challenge. Shortage of young leadership is among the prime challenges faced by most growing companies on the North Coast.
As boomers are steadily gearing up for retirement, many companies across public, private, and nonprofit sectors are now experiencing challenges due to insufficient attention to leadership development. As Richard Ghilarducci mentions, to address these challenges, it has become vital for boomers to groom the next-gen leadership.
Younger employees often have disenchantment with their companies. They tend to be confident in their abilities, but do not have the skills or time that can help them to succeed. Hence, it would be a good idea for businesses to use their more experienced baby boomers who can share their knowledge and expertise with younger employees. Boomers typically have deep knowledge, impressive networks, and broad-based business experience, which help younger professionals to acquire the skills-based knowledge necessary to succeed.
To be efficient and deliver appropriate results, mentoring has to be done strategically and creatively. One should try to make mentoring a strategic business imperative. There are studies that show that there is a positive correlation between a positive mentoring experience and an increase in productivity, employee retention as well as job satisfaction.
Proper mentoring however does require a good deal of time commitment on the part of both employees and the mentors. This mentoring would not work unless a business acknowledges the value of mentoring by strategically adjusting the other business responsibilities of the mentors. Modeling from the top also works well.