Why Banks & Law Firms Need to be Radical Mentors

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Here they come…

By 2020, more than half of the entire workforce population will be made up of millennials (usually considered to be born between 1980 and 1996) and Generation Z talent (those born after 1996). Considered to have significant influence on today’s trends and tech-innovation, millennials and Gen Z are ambitious, creative, communicative and incredibly internet-savvy. Not only are members of the Gen Z just about to enter the world’s workforce, but along with their predecessors, the multi-tasking millennials, we are looking at a new working generation for whom money is no longer the most effective motivator. Instead, millennials are looking for fresh opportunities, recognition for their work, better work/life balance, and regular communication - a shopping list that traditional industries may want to take a good look at if they want to hire (and retain) new talent.

Gen Z are primed to be the most entrepreneurial generation yet, with 58% saying they are ready to work nights and weekends to go the extra mile. Companies need not be concerned about a lazy taskforce; but with a generation so eager and willing to break barriers, it is also likely that companies need to create a more supportive and inclusive environment to look out for the new generation’s mental and physical health and aspirations.

Fresh faces, fresh problems

Take banking, for example - a notoriously competitive sector and tough to get accepted into. On top of that, experts predict many, many changes within the banking industry itself as it adapts to  unprecedented innovation and disruption. Accordingly, banking career structures need to evolve. Previously, traditional routes would see bankers following a linear path up the business hierarchy, but experts now believe that new employees will ‘have four or five ‘careers’ within the bank’. Needless to say, the banking sector is gradually implementing not only new technology to keep up with the times, but new innovations to equip people for a career of continual change and growth.

If we look at the legal sector, here too, we find the ‘quandary of legal training’: “no one is really willing to entrust a case to a new lawyer”. Again, prior experience may be limited, and fresh-faced hires have been known to find themselves in court underprepared and afraid to admit they may not know what an ‘indictment’ means.  It’s easy to imagine how many more dilemmas and questions may arise for a young millennial lawyer in her first couple of years on the job.

One way for these predicaments to be resolved is if there were a convenient way for experienced professionals to readily and wholeheartedly address all the buried questions that young personnel may find unanswered elsewhere. And not just on technical, but “soft” skills too.

For a modern-day example, at Boeing, engineers nearing retirement or who have reached certain levels within the company are paired up with younger employees as part of the organization’s technical mentoring program. This approach of combining discussion tools and experience is helping Boeing retain and develop young talent in a dynamic market, with benefits such as more efficient goal setting, and connecting mentors and mentees who are, in many aspects, different from each other and who may never normally meet via other business routes. This is a glimpse into just how much value mentorship programs can actually offer to many a business model, from education to legal, from banking to retail.

Or take it one step further

Companies are tackling this problem head-on with a truly-modern twist - a digital platform built by the team at Rungway. As a leading platform for workplace advice and insight, the app was rolled out to 70,000 women in the UK to encourage students at Sheffield High School for Girls to interact and probe like-minded professionals in their field of interest. A sixth form student interested in midwifery was able to quiz and ask advice from an alumna who was already years into her own midwifery career and able to articulate not only the highs and lows of the job, but also offer invaluable advice and tips for the student’s upcoming application and interviews. The trial has been so successful, that the app is being implemented in 24 other schools and academies.

What our team has essentially accomplished is to create a medium by which organizations of any sector can scale the reach of a mentoring program, completely catered to their own needs.

Our groundbreaking app creates a more transparent workplace culture by allowing anyone to post questions anonymously and securely, with replies and advice being offered from peers and leaders with relevant experience to pass on. It allows for mentoring in a unique, company-wide support system, crossing regions and departments, that simply can’t happen otherwise.

Reverting back to our aforementioned young, bright-eyed bankers - how would this play out for them? Remember that the near future may require young employees in the banking and accounting industries to adopt four or five “careers” within their field. Rungway’s ability to scale the power of sharing advice across entire organizations means that the young millennial and Gen Z banker can tap real-time wisdom and insight into the issues most pressing at that moment. They can sample multiple role models, build key relationships, and have conversations with decision makers in a way they never could access before. Simultaneously, old-timers will become attuned to issues that newcomers are facing in the field, as well as be looped into new challenges emerging around the business.

We are uncompromising when it comes to our anonymity function. For someone taking the first few steps in their legal career, potential embarrassment and fear of being ‘called out’ for admitting weakness is likely to be high. Rungway allows sensitive topics to be articulated freely, preserving a young professional’s external reputation because, as this experienced chief legal officer on Forbes Legal Council insists, “Your reputation is your currency”.  

Our mentoring app is designed to accelerate the learning curve like never before - an experienced vantage point from someone who’s ‘seen it all’ means you’re aiming towards discovering what took them years to pick up, in a matter of minutes, and utilizing that advice to drive your career forward.

Moreover, it instills a positive work environment and fosters true employee engagement as ideas and advice are thrown back and forth. Millennials aside, we’ve seen the platform herald good news for leaders across a wide array of sectors - helping build management capability faster by providing new leaders with a safe place to seek and share advice in a convenient and private way. Futureproof an organization: your fast-paced, rising millennial workforce will be much quicker to denounce what can be perceived as unnecessary hierarchy as archaic, restrictive and demotivating.

Thankfully, more and more of the world’s best companies are becoming acquainted with how our digital mentoring platform is so much more than a source of advice - it offers a new approach to cement trust, creativity and innovation within the employer-employee dynamic.

Want to know more about Rungway? Get in touch here.

 
Julie Chakraverty