Mentoring: One Strategy, Multiple Benefits
According to December 2015 IBAO data, 24% of Ontario brokers were under 40. Today, only 20% of our membership is under 40 – the demographic is shrinking.
At our GTA Regional Meeting April 10th, we were joined by Dr. Karyn Gordon from dk Leadership for a session on next gen talent in the broker channel. How you attract and retain talent has become crucial in today’s environment. With all the competition from directs and disruptors, and given increasing consumer demands, we need more than a succession plan. We need real strategies to draw in younger talent and keep individuals engaged in meaningful careers.
What’s proving successful in larger companies like American Express and IBM is new hire, career and socialization development – mentorship programs that leverage the wisdom of Baby Boomers and Gen X and transfer knowledge in a cost effective/zero-cost way. Think of it as mutual mentoring. Older and younger employees guide one another based on what they bring to the table.
Boomers didn’t have access to technology the way Gen Y did, and would benefit from their wealth of knowledge and experience. On the other hand, Boomers grew up in middle-class affluence where work shifted to self-actualization and led to a strong belief in structural fairness and equal opportunity – responsible principles to possess. No generation is perfect, but each offers a skill set based on unique characteristics that can work to our advantage if leveraged appropriately.
While Dr. Gordon emphasized the importance of considering each generation’s point of view and assessing how it might lead to specific behaviours, she warned that parents remain the greatest influence over their children, able to sway stereotypical generational behaviours. Not everyone fits into a category – we must see each person as their own individual.
Incorporating mentorship programs into office culture bridges the generational gap and helps to manage expectations of new hires, management and the rest of the team. These programs teach practical skills and can be leveraged to improve recruitment and retention – vital activities that establish your brokerage as a modern, progress-oriented business. Different types of programs will suit different office cultures; Dr. Gordon suggests starting small and growing programs over time, designing initiatives based on your current team.
Thanks to Dr. Gordon for sharing her insight and to Travelers Canada for sponsoring our morning education session.