Mentors are people you can look up to. Most commonly, they're someone who is successful at something and has experience in something you'd like to also be successful at. They provide advice and act as a trusted advisor.
More and more workplaces are incorporating mentorship programs, which match up employees seeking a mentor and mentee with someone that fits. A mentorship program can help your company in so many ways. It can encourage retention, enrich the work experience, expand networks and facilitate collaboration, and it keeps people accountable. And even more importantly, when executed correctly, mentor-mentee relationships can add value to both parties' lives. In fact, 90% of workers with a mentor report being happy at their jobs, according to CNBC.
Potential mentees should take advantage of these programs. Having a mentor can:
If you and your mentor have a positive relationship, they can connect you with other people who might be higher up in the organization or introduce you to people who could help with your success.
A mentor has a wealth of knowledge gained from valuable years in the industry. They can share that knowledge with you and give you insight you wouldn't otherwise know.
Believe it or not, people are willing to do this at no charge! It should be a symbiotic relationship, so you should be bringing value, too.
A mentor can guide you and hold you accountable. They can help you set goals and they can even help you reach them. Plus, studies show that having a mentor can translate to higher salaries and faster advancement, according to Harvard Business Review.
Of course, it benefits the mentee to have someone who can provide this value. But how does it help the mentor? Being a mentor can expand your network, add to your resume, give you leadership skills, provide new perspectives, and it could even help you receive recognition. If your mentee achieves success, that can be attributed in part to you.
So how can you start a mentorship program at work? It may behoove you to take the initiative. First, you can consult with the human resources department. They may be able to tell you if anyone else has brought this up or assist you in getting it started. You'll also want to start out by coming up with a plan of how the program will be structured.
From there, you'll want to seek out interest. You'll likely find that people will jump on this opportunity if given the chance. You can have these people sign up and provide some details on what they're looking for.
At this point, you can match people up and encourage them to schedule an initial meeting. You may even host an event like a happy hour to kickstart it and provide a networking opportunity. Mentors and mentees can continue to meet on their own, and you can also provide a schedule with specifics to encourage consistency. You might have a goal-setting meeting included early on. Finally, you'll want to assess the program's success with surveys and interviews. If people are happy with it and finding value, share that and continue to grow it!
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