Why young workers make the best mentors

May 26, 2015, 6:15 PM UTC
Courtesy of Deutsch

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: Why is it important to have a mentor? is written by Kim Getty, president of Deutsch LA.

Throughout my career in advertising, mentorships have played an important role. Many of my mentors have helped me understand the needs and behaviors of clients from different backgrounds and across multiple generations. Having personally benefitted so much from mentorships, I have been inspired to support like-minded programs and mentor groups. Mentorships are excellent ways to help bridge the generational gap in business.

The workforce is becoming increasingly segmented and will only continue as Generation Z enters the workforce. There are substantial differences between Gen X, Y, and Z in terms of education, culture, and how they process information. Seasoned executives (40s and over) can use mentorships to help acclimate these younger employees in an unfamiliar corporate environment. Likewise, these same executives can benefit from exposure to new talent, and the innovation Gen Y and Z bring to the workforce. With the business landscape rapidly changing, it’s in everyones best interest to learn from one another or risk falling behind.

So what qualifies someone to be a mentor? First and foremost, a mentor doesn’t have to be someone older than you. And they don’t need to be in the c-suite or even in same line of work. For example, I teach at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, and I consider my students mentors. They help keep me up-to-date on evolving media habits and behaviors. Regardless of age, mentorships are great resources for career development and professional growth. Here are the four types of mentorships that are necessary for any professional:

You’re frustrated or fired up about something at work and you need someone in your shoes for a judgment-free perspective. This is the time to turn to a trusted colleague.

You’re a CEO in your late 50s and need a crash course in the latest tech trends, apps, and social platforms. Sometimes the 25-year-old tech guru can be just as valuable, if not more, than an industry expert who is set in their ways.

In the advertising industry in particular, perspective can be extremely beneficial. But sometimes you need that family member, trusted advisor, or close friend that can be transparent without getting sucked into the industry baggage. It’s essential to have access to unbiased advice.

I don’t believe that there’s a real division between our personal and our professional lives anymore–it’s one big mash-up. That’s why personal mentors are equally as important as professional ones. My very first boss has become my personal mentor, assisting me with everything from parenting to career development. I find him to be just as valuable as my professional mentors.

Supporting mentorships in your business isn’t just good for individual careers–the increased understanding and perspective is beneficial for the entire company.

Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: Why is it important to have a mentor?

5 things to know before becoming a mentor by Debby Hopkins, CEO at Citi Ventures.

Here’s one reason why you don’t need a mentor by Shiza Shahid, co-founder and ambassador of Malala Fund.

The do’s and don’ts of an effective mentor by Shannon Schuyler, leader of corporate responsibility at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Why you’re never too old to have a mentor by Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, national managing partner of corporate responsibility at KPMG.

How men can step up and help women get ahead at work by Gloria Cordes Larson, president of Bentley University.

When it comes to mentors, the more the merrier by Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Are you qualified to be a mentor? by Sarah Watson, chief strategy officer of BBH N.Y.

Is mentoring necessary for career advancement? by Teresa Briggs, vice chairman and west region managing partner at Deloitte.

Do all employees benefit from having a mentor? by Dawn Zier, president and CEO of Nutrisystem.

4 things your boss won’t tell you (but a mentor will) by Penny Herscher CEO of FirstRain.

What qualities make a good (and bad) mentor? by Karen Tegan Padir, president of application development at Progress Software.

Why mentoring is unlike any other professional relationship by Jenni Luke, CEO of Step Up.

Why you don’t need a mentor to be successful by Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy at Ernst & Young.

What qualities should you look for in a mentor? by Gay Gaddis, CEO and founder of T3.

4 things to consider before choosing a mentor by Camille Preston, founder of AIM Leadership.

The most important quality a mentor should have by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.

Why women are more likely to be mentors by Alyse Nelson, CEO and co-founder of Vital Voices Global Partnership.

3 reasons every employee needs a mentor by Sally Blount, Dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Why this AOL executive chooses her mentors — wisely by Allie Kline, CMO of AOL, Inc.

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