YoPros: Agents of Innovation Happy at Work

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on young professionals based on a Mercer Study that found young employees have higher job satisfaction, but also more willing to leave.  As a young professional myself I can tell you that taking on new responsibilities and leadership roles that broaden my skill-set keeps me engaged and willing to go the extra mile. I agree with the study in that as long as developmental opportunities are available, young professionals will be highly satisfied employees.

So what keeps me motivated?  At MasterCard, I’ve had the pleasure of working with my colleagues across businesses, geographies, and demographics to launch the MasterCard young professionals Business Resource Group (BRG), also known as “YoPros”.  The mission of YoPros is to build a global network of young professionals to both inform MasterCard’s business strategy and create an environment that fosters information sharing and relationship building among young and seasoned professionals within the organization.

Earlier this year, us YoPros supported the First Annual Youth Summit where we all came together to collaborate and prioritize new products that took into account the needs of young people today – many of these ideas are now even being piloted within MasterCard Labs!  It’s very exciting that YoPros has made an impact internally by piloting new tools and technologies that are transforming the way we collaborate as an organization.

One of the keys to YoPros success is enabling an environment where young professionals can learn directly from senior management and network across different business groups.  To enable exposure to senior management, we’ve hosted a series of lunch sessions that foster innovative idea sharing between all levels of the organization, such as IT Transformation through new technologies and building digital brands through Facebook and Twitter.  We also launched a reverse mentoring program called ‘MConnections’ where young professionals can volunteer as mentors to managers of incoming college recruits to help the managers better understand the generational differences and how they can drive a more productive and effective workforce.

By working closely with MasterCard’s Philanthropy Group, we’ve also established a partnership with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) where YoPro members can volunteer to make a real impact in the classroom by sharing experiences in business, business plan coaching, and being competition judges.

Whether it’s participating in product brainstorming, contributing to a strategy discussion, or posting a blog on the intranet, MasterCard has enabled my YoPro colleagues and I several opportunities to share our perspectives and inform business strategy.  I’m encouraged by the progress the YoPros BRG has made within just one year, but how can we continue to grow?  What are the lessons learned from other organizations or other young professionals?