Re: Mentoring Programs #mentor
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Sure, Nancy. Please also share more about your context and company/work.
Generational Buddies is a voluntary program at Hallmark set up to create more of a co-mentorship. It is not your traditional mentorship-for-climbing-the-corporate-ladder program, though we have those too. Our program essentially facilitates the match-making of Millennials (and some younger Gen Xers) with Baby Boomer employees to talk about the differences between generations - whether it be lifestyle, technology use, product usage, or other topics. It's usually an unstructured setting where "buddies" meet over coffee/lunch and get to know one another and each other's generation a little better....aka: generational empathy. We prepared guidelines to set their expectations, suggested discussion topics, asked them to document their assumptions about the other generation before beginning, and suggested activites for the pairs to consider over a 4 week period. At the end of the 4 weeks, participants were asked to record what they learned. Several pairs continue on and others have been re-paired.
In addition to pairing up employees, we discussed hosting hands-on experience labs to demonstrate the physiological impacts of age - including vision and hearing impairment, and on the other hand the hyper-connectivity of "digital natives." This adjunct piece of the program was intended to build empathy and understanding toward our consumers (in addition to employees in different generations.) As we strive to serve our consumer's emotional connecting needs, we continually develop empathy exercises to "get into their world" as much as we can to inform our thinking while developing products and solutions. I haven't confirmed if those labs have taken place yet or not, but will follow-up since now I'M curious!
As you can see, this turned out to be a blend of co-mentoring and ethnography. We are discussing pairing up participants across other boundaries beyond generational differences, to cultural differences, lifestyle differences, etc. That may prove more difficult, but we believe the potential benefit is worth it.
Best of luck to you as you consider your approaches.
From: Nancy G. Faget
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:14 AM
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Mentoring Programs