Mentoring MattersFeb 16, 2021
We can’t do it alone! I often say – it takes a village! I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today with the mentorship of many that came before me. We know from research that formal mentoring programs are effective methods for developing leaders. They reinforce corporate values and provide development opportunities that are aligned with the needs of the organization. I participated data evaluation on the topic and it became clear to me that HR needs to be more formal in the support of mentoring programs.
Vice President Kamala Harris posted on FaceBook in 2017 “I've been a proud mentor to many women seeking public office, because I believe we need more women at all levels of government. Women have an equal stake in our future and should have an equal voice in our politics.” Her quote helps to solidify that in good mentoring relationship, both the mentor and mentee are winners.
The programs can be small, involving just a few people. The idea is to create a program that will allow top talent to engage with leaders and drive value forward. If formal programs do not exist, employees can fill the gap by creating their own informal networks and resources. This may work for some individuals, but does little to drive organizational success. Employees looking for their own mentor or advisory group will be focused on what is best for their own development and career growth, whether it is inside or outside of your organization.
The data from this study supports other data gathered by DDI. Its report Women as Mentors: Does She or Doesn’t She shows that 63 % of women never had a formal mentor. And it found that only 56% of organizations offered a formal mentoring program as a development opportunity.
A mentor relationship is a win-win for the mentor and mentee. Through scheduled connection and quick "hey, can I ask you something" conversations, both parties learn. The mentee gets an experienced view of a situation, including how to navigate the internal political climate of the organization. At the same time, the mentor learns what employees struggle with internally, and how the new workforce looks at situations. Idea can come from these dialogs that are taken to the boardroom and impact organizational value.
Resources are available that allow organizations of all size to embrace the value of mentorship. In a small organization, make connections with other companies that may have a similar employee population or product. Make connections in your industry - and allow mentors/mentees to connect via skype. Personal meeting can occur at annual conferences. In larger organizations, a formal program should be established that will provide training and expectations for both parties. To learn more about mentorship, The National Center for Mentoring has a number of resources to get started.
In our membership community, the cry for mentors was so great that we added it to the program. Our sample group of 10 mentors working with 10 mentees for 3 months is already proving to be a huge success! Learn more about that group by clicking here!
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