Attempting to define a generation is virtually impossible, but there are many traits seemingly unique to millennials - digital natives, content creators, activists, volunteers. The list goes on. One thing is certain though: by 2025 they will make up 75% of the workforce around the globe. 

Millennials are certainly a vital part of the thriving technology sector. With the average age of employees in our industry between 28 and 31 years old, it is millennials’ ideas, approach and ethos that are often the biggest drivers for innovation. As a result, finding and nurturing the millennial talent which the sector sorely needs, is of upmost importance to me, and everyone at Salesforce. 

Employee engagement is key

However, keeping that talent pool engaged and loyal to a company isn’t an easy feat.  A recent survey showed that 71% of millennials are looking to switch companies within the next two years.

However, there are some simple steps that tech businesses can take to address these challenges. Formalising a mentoring scheme for millennial employees is one of the most effective. In fact, having a great mentor is a key factor in improving employee engagement across the board, but particularly among millennials. 

Of those surveyed, millennials who were intending to stay with their employer for at least five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%). The millennials I’ve had the opportunity to work with tell me that their mentoring programme has a significant impact on the pace and trajectory of their career development.

To me this makes a lot of sense: most tech workers in this age bracket are still in what I call the ‘heavy-learning’ part of their career. Mentoring at this stage can be particularly beneficial. Further, from what I’ve seen, it creates a very powerful tie to an organisation and by extension, to an industry.

Business benefits of mentoring

What many potential mentors overlook though is that mentoring doesn’t just benefit the mentee. Mentors too have a unique opportunity to gain insights which enhance their own careers. As digital natives in our mobile, connected world, the millennial generation has a genuinely unique perspective – just some ways they can help: 

  • Product innovation – millennials can offer great insights and ideas for your product roadmap, particularly if you’re looking to digitise your offerings. 
  • Company strategy – a fresh-thinking approach to the direction your organisation is taking, can lead you to rethink things, in quite startling ways. 
  • Giving back to the community -  millennials are renown for their drive to give back and make the world a better place. Something your entire company and the communities that you serve will hugely benefit from. 

Mentoring provides another way of harvesting and collaborating around this sought-after creativity. I’m currently mentoring a French millennial, and I can certainly say that her viewpoint has enabled me to look at some challenges from a different angle than I had done previously!

Mentoring in the tech industry

Many great companies in the tech sector offer mentoring and I hope that more will start in the near future. Together we’re building an even more innovative and successful industry, one that will inspire the next generation of tech leaders to deliver whole new levels of customer success. 

At Salesforce we deeply encourage mentoring at all levels across the business. If you'd like to find out about open opportunites, visit our careers pape and maybe you could join the #SalesforceOhana.

This article is an adaptation of an original article I published on LinkedIn