Women, Mentoring and Age Diversity

Part of a series of blogs on Age Diversity or Generational diversity in the workplace. White papers from several sources are available on the topic.

This is the sixth in a series of six blogs on Age Diversity and the Four Generations in the Workplace (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials)and how to work with the different perspectives of members of these groups, in the context of a large, formal mentoring program. The series starts here and is summarized in our white paper.

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In October, LinkedIn published a study which related mentoring by and for women and related this to the four generations in today’s workplace.  This is a topic we have given much thought to and on the same page you can download our white paper, you can also download Age: A 21st Century Diversity Imperative, from the Sloan Center for Aging & Work at Boston College, as well as Generational Diversity in the Workplace, Practical Advice for Government Managers, from the IBM Center for The Business of Government.

The LinkedIn study of 1,000 women found them in agreement that having a mentor was critical for career advancement.  But the study also found significant differences in mentoring experiences by demographic group.

Many firms, noting the Millennials’ desire for feedback, have instituted mentoring programs for new hires (on-boarding mentoring).  LinkedIn found that 51% of Millennial women surveyed had been mentored by a woman.  By contrast, among the Baby Boomer women, 34% had never been mentored by a woman and 67% said no one had ever asked them to be a mentor. Generation X fell in the middle, with 43% having had a female mentor.

The low participation by Baby Boomer women in prior mentoring programs, creates a speed bump for talent managers implementing mentoring programs.  Without prior experience, it is unlikely that these baby boomer women will know how to be effective Mentors. 

Many formal corporate mentor programs fail because they lack structure. We have a variety of tools on our website which can help mentor program administrators avoid these problems. Click here for accessWisdomShare®, our Mentor Program software, has an automated tool which follows up with mentor program participants, reminding them of the next task in the process.  This provides the structure which greatly increases the chances of the corporate mentoring program exceeding its stated goals.

We encourage you to think strategically about your pipeline of talent, and how mentoring can help. Our team is available to help you develop the plan – for setting goals, for soliciting participation and for finding sponsorship within your organization.



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