Mentoring Needs and Expectations of Generation-Y Human Resources Practitioners: Preparing the Next Wave of Strategic Business Partners

As organizations prepare for the arrival of GenY as the next generation of strategic business partners in our 21st century workplaces, questions ignite about GenY’s values and aspirations, and how we can engage them in our workplaces. At the forefront of organizational initiatives is mentorship which has resurged as a leading employee development tool. The purpose of this paper is to: examine the benefits of mentorship and the challenges and opportunities of GenY engagement in the workplace; present results from a study on mentoring needs and expectations of GenY HR practitioners; and; present a mentorship model built on collaboration and an action research framework. Surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with 452 participants generated robust data on the needs and expectations of GenY in the formative years of their careers. Results are presented in the following thematic areas: competency profile of effective mentors, framework for mentor-protégé working relationships, anticipated outcomes of mentoring, approaches to learning and development, e-mentoring, and protégés’ contributions to mentoring relationships. Findings reveal that mentoring is vital to development of the competencies for senior HR accountabilities and for understanding how HR fulfils strategic mandate. To achieve this mandate a five-phase mentoring model is proposed with an emphasis on sparking synergy between GenY’s personal values and organizational objectives. The need for mentorship programs with a strategic orientation is timely as HR continues to assert its leadership presence at the boardroom table and prepares the next generation of HR practitioners under whose leadership global communities will thrive.