Many seniors are still in the workplace, acting as valuable elder statesmen and women around the office. They’ve been there and done that, and the importance of this knowledge cannot be overstated. Beyond career know-how, seniors in the workplace have decades of lessons in getting stuff done — from working with difficult clients or coworkers to understanding the facets of a job.
Americans, for a variety of reasons, are retiring later, which has been a boon for many companies wishing to hold onto these knowledgeable employees. But the trend cannot continue forever. Soon, a large chunk of the population will be retiring, and a lot of knowledge will be going with it.
If you’re one of these seniors looking to retire, taking one of your younger coworkers under your wing beforehand is a win for everyone involved. Everyone — your company, the mentee, and yourself — benefits from strong mentorship within the company.
Benefit the Next Generation at Your Work
The most obvious beneficiary of mentorship is the mentored party. While younger employees are valuable for bringing new ideas and new energy into a company, they often lack experience. This is exactly what a senior employee can provide. Mentorship is shown to decrease the learning curve, meaning a new employee is up to speed on the specifics of their job faster. At the same time, this decreases workplace anxiety since the protégé is prepared for the job facing them.
Mentorship decreases the learning curve, meaning a new employee is up to speed faster.
This also improves employee engagement and strengthens company culture. These ultimately lead to happier employees and a lower turnover rate. Lower turnover rates save your company thousands of dollars since they don’t have to hire and train new employees. It also leads to more experienced employees since the current ones have longer company lifespans.
Finally, employees that receive mentorship are trusted more by their coworkers and superiors due to the greater visibility afforded to them by the mentorship. The more trusted the mentor is, the more trusted the mentee. This can lead to the mentee having more upward mobility than an unmentored employee.
Learn Something Yourself
The advantages aren’t only seen by the protégé, either. In fact, one study found that some mentors get more out of working with a younger coworker than the mentee! A new employee brings a fresh perspective to the company and the different aspects of the job. While you may know a great way of getting something done, they may figure out a new, better way, too. It’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to learn from your mentee.
One study found that some mentors get more out of working with a younger coworker than the mentee!
In a sense, the relationship should be of two mentors working together. This is especially true for taking advantage of new technology. Younger employees often have a greater understanding of the uses and benefits of cutting-edge technology or uses of the internet. From them, you can learn new and emerging trends, and how to use them to make you a more efficient worker.
By mentoring a coworker, you’ll be helping a coworker. Take this as an opportunity to reflect on your own processes and practices. With all your experience, you’ll have a new perspective on the things that have become routine to you. This can offer you a chance to fix or improve processes that have fallen under the radar due to reflexive familiarity. Think of it as a form of hands-on practice. By teaching skills that are important to the job, you’ll be demonstrating them, practicing and possibly improving these skills.
Leave Behind a Legacy
Perhaps the longest-lasting benefit of mentorship is the legacy you’ll leave behind.
Perhaps the longest-lasting benefit of mentorship is the legacy you’ll leave behind. If you’ve been chosen to mentor a younger coworker, you’re most likely a good employee. So, you’re probably leaving behind a good legacy at the company when you retire. But mentoring a young worker who grows under your stewardship is a living, breathing representation of your legacy. And protégés tend to remember mentors who helped and influenced them.
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If you’re getting closer to that retirement date, there are few other things that are as beneficial as taking part in a mentorship program at work. By taking a coworker under your wing, you’ll both reap the benefits of a synergetic work relationship. Not only will this make your company stronger in the short term, it’ll allow you to retire confident that your job has been left in good hands.