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Mentoring for the Modern Day Workplace

Securing the right mentorship can benefit the next generation by passing on the wisdom of seasoned workers


Mentorship is the stuff of Hollywood movies, where a grizzled veteran takes an eager newcomer under a wing. The rookie gets shown the ropes in two hours and becomes the next hero.

But in the real workplace, mentorship isn’t so dramatic. It takes deliberate planning. It’s a process.

For many in the next generation, mentorship is key to gaining a foothold for their career and life. Here are ways that young employees can get ahead by strategically thinking about mentorship.

Engage in a matching program

Where do you start? For many, a university alma mater, your current workplace or a professional organization will help match a young person with a mentor that aligns with their interests, needs and personality. A beneficial mentor isn’t simply someone who is more experienced – it’s someone with the right experience. Get help from groups to find a match.

Make the outcomes measurable

Once a match is made, each side should decide on outcomes. Of course, not every interaction needs to tied to a metric. But it helps all parties to have a measurable goal in mind for the mentorship, such as helping secure a new job, learn a specific skill or make a certain number of introductions. At the end of the time period, the measurement standards can be assessed to show what helped, and what adjustments can be made to future goals.

Consider multiple mentors

After testing the waters with one mentor, you may find that more mentorship help is required than one person’s limited experience can offer. Have a conversation with your mentor about opening the door to more input, such as a personal board of directors. Consider how multiple mentors can provide different perspectives, new connections, specific skill sets or expertise in an area that you lack.

Seek sponsorship

Sometimes, mentorship is not enough. Sponsorship is a critical factor in helping talented, motivated individuals advance in the business world. Women in particular tend to be over-mentored and under-sponsored, as ManpowerGroup research shows. Beyond mentoring, it’s important to find influential individuals who can help others gets ahead.

In summary, mentorship needs to be a thought-out activity to help younger employees grow and advance. With the right planning, the arrangement can be beneficial to all.

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