Being a workplace mentor for a millennial.

derski

Rookie
I've been tasked with helping a new hire get acclimated to a career that is customer-facing and requires a certain level of professional conduct and behavior. She's in her early 30's and exhibits a lot of the "millennial" traits. A little on me, I'm 44 and have been on this for 13 years, however first time mentoring someone transitioning from clinical/patient care to medical sales. That isn't so much the issue as the fact that she's very unpolished and unsophisticated. Some examples are: twirling her hair in front of customers, smacking her gum, and smacking her food and eating with her mouth open. Now as a parent of 3, it's easy for me to correct this behavior. But on this side of the coin it requires some delicate words and a little tact.

I would love to hear what some of you managers and/or past mentors suggest I handle this.


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Power Player

Bionic Poster
Has yet to be seen.


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I'm guessing you have a track record of wins though. Personally, I find that people take may advice when they see I have wins and they are new. I'd probably focus on sales tactics to start and let the annoying stuff slide.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
I've been tasked with helping a new hire get acclimated to a career that is customer-facing and requires a certain level of professional conduct and behavior. She's in her early 30's and exhibits a lot of the "millennial" traits. A little on me, I'm 44 and have been on this for 13 years, however first time mentoring someone transitioning from clinical/patient care to medical sales. That isn't so much the issue as the fact that she's very unpolished and unsophisticated. Some examples are: twirling her hair in front of customers, smacking her gum, and smacking her food and eating with her mouth open. Now as a parent of 3, it's easy for me to correct this behavior. But on this side of the coin it requires some delicate words and a little tact.

I would love to hear what some of you managers and/or past mentors suggest I handle this.


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Pardon my ignorance, but what is "medical sales"?

Is she tasked with leading billion dollar equipment deals for Medtronics? Pushing a little peace weed on the side out of a California dispensary? Or is this craft somewhere in between?
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
I've been tasked with helping a new hire get acclimated to a career that is customer-facing and requires a certain level of professional conduct and behavior. She's in her early 30's and exhibits a lot of the "millennial" traits. A little on me, I'm 44 and have been on this for 13 years, however first time mentoring someone transitioning from clinical/patient care to medical sales. That isn't so much the issue as the fact that she's very unpolished and unsophisticated. Some examples are: twirling her hair in front of customers, smacking her gum, and smacking her food and eating with her mouth open. Now as a parent of 3, it's easy for me to correct this behavior. But on this side of the coin it requires some delicate words and a little tact.

I would love to hear what some of you managers and/or past mentors suggest I handle this.
From my experience with women in pharmaceutical sales, I'm assuming she's very sexy. I'm also assuming that most of the people she's selling to are men. I'm guessing that at 44 years of age, you aren't as sexy as you once were (and I'm guessing you are a woman).

My advice. Let her work her charms on the pompous, egocentric male doctors just like you used to when you first started. She'll do fine, just like you did.
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
Remember that if a work-related comment on a public forum can be traced back to you, it can be used in discrimination lawsuits. If you are a male, situation will be worse. You have provided enough details that a determined lawyer can track down these comments, especially with today's search tools.
 

hollywood9826

Hall of Fame
From my experience with women in pharmaceutical sales, I'm assuming she's very sexy. I'm also assuming that most of the people she's selling to are men. I'm guessing that at 44 years of age, you aren't as sexy as you once were (and I'm guessing you are a woman).

My advice. Let her work her charms on the pompous, egocentric male doctors just like you used to when you first started. She'll do fine, just like you did.
I was assuming OP was a dude, and I was gonna tell to hit that while he has the chance.

But like you I was assuming she is either hot or at a minimum has some double deltas in which case everybody will buy everything from her anyway. Sales can be easy with a pair of double deltas,
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
Sleeping with a subordinate coworker is not a good idea
True: a professional, a father of 3, should budget for high-quality prostitutes, rather than scavenging through a garbage pile of nose-ringed neck-tattooed gum-popping pool of associates defecated onto them by their bosses.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
True: a professional, a father of 3, should budget for high-quality prostitutes, rather than scavenging through a garbage pile of nose-ringed neck-tattooed gum-popping pool of associates defecated onto them by their bosses.
Agree. Although the millennial versions now prefer to be called "sugar babies".
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
Agree. Although the millennial versions now prefer to be called "sugar babies".
For many services, in any given market, there is a wide range of segments. The “sugar babies” market you describe sounds like a marginal improvement over the in-house sourcing model commented on earlier in this thread.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
My management philosophy has been to hire good people, give them everything they need, and stay out of their way.

I've managed to avoid most of these situations by great diligence in the hiring process. Managing folks others have hired can be a bigger challenge.

One approach I use is to be the "good cop" finding a way to make another authority in the organization the "bad cop" who is requesting the improvement, with me (as the immediate supervisor) merely delivering the news and finding ways to help the employee improve their game. I lay a foundation for this approach by very seldom asking employees for anything that is not actually required from higher authorities in the organization, and by providing top cover for lots of stuff that the higher authorities want to require that is stupid (bureaucratic details usually.) I also work this approach for always being an advocate for those I directly supervise as it relates to performance reviews, bonuses, raises, time off, etc.

I am not naive enough to think this approach will work in all situations, but so far, I've managed to stay out of supervisory situations with employees when I can see such poor work ethic or major character issues that I'm gonna have to be the "bad cop." There are just so few ways to win in those situations and lots of ways to lose. Better to avoid them. And if I did get into one, I sure wouldn't post about it on the internet.
 
Tell her you are really counting on her. Your company needs her to manage this project and that you have this ahhsum feeling that she is going to accomplish company goals in nexlevl, gamechanging waze. You are amazed at how epic and ameazeng she is when she performs her tasks, and manages customer relations like a bawss.

Give her a trophy almost every week. Not literally a trophy. But yeah literally some sort of praise and cool bit of recognition each week. Do reviews constantly. Make sure the many strengths are bolded and The few weaknesses are tactfully enumerated in a small, thin font, possibly something vintage.

Tell her she is a major player on your team, and that even the most mundane tasks she does are important to the big picture of the company, the country, and democracy in general.

The hair twirling is cool and totes fine for office/cubicle time, but not for conference rooms. They like specific boundaries, and they will follow them if you make it engaging. They love stuff that's, like, engaging.

Give her a ton of time off, and a lot of life/werk balance.
Give her and her generation a ton of credit for all that is good in this country. This is important for her and for her journey. Millennials absolutely love the word JOURNEY. So don't stop. Believin'.

A spare Phone charger, A portable charger, gift cards to retail coffee and juice bars, and cool earbuds ... These are all examples of good little weekly trophies. They may or may not be tech savvy but they are tech dependent, and proud of it.

Oh, and remember, she is way more ahhsum than you and your generation....and she will run the company one day.
 
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