Creating A Mentorship Program At Your Company

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If you’ve been following my blog, you know how important I believe mentorship to be for success and growth within any career path. If you have the ability to do so, one of the most valuable things you can do in any workplace is to create a mentorship program. A successful program has the ability to lead to higher employee satisfaction and allow for the development of new leadership skills. If carried out correctly, there is very little room for the mentorship program to have a negative impact. There are a few things that you’ll need to take care of in order to build a successful mentorship program:

 

Determine Your Program’s Objective

Before you try to pitch your idea for your mentorship program, you must first determine the goals and structure you see for the program. Your company may have different issues and needs to address, so be sure to figure out what you want to tackle. (A mentorship program for new hires would require a completely different setup than a mentorship program that is focused on grooming future company leaders.)

One of the major keys will be to make sure you work with the company culture. Formal work culture will require a more formal process and more relaxed scenes will require less structure. But no matter what the culture, you will need to determine how the mentor/mentee pairings will be established and determine a general outline of goals that should be accomplished through the partnership.

 

Marc Bombenon – Building a Mutually Beneficial Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Determine the Pairing Process

This will by and large be the most difficult (and vital) part of the process. There are a few different ways that you can structure the mentor & mentee relationship:

 

Group Mentoring: In this set-up, a number of employees work together to share information, provide advice, and work towards a goal of mutual professional growth. Most group mentoring programs have a “group leader” who facilitates the forward movement of the group.

 

Peer Mentoring: Peer mentoring is the pairing up of similar employees. In this scenario, individuals develop a relationship based on the transfer of knowledge, and create an environment rich with skills and continuous learning.

Marc Bombenon – Qualities to Look For in a Mentor

 

Flash Mentoring: This mentoring scenario would be a series of “one-time meetings or discussions” where those interested in being mentored can sit down and meet with different mentors. This situation puts less pressure on the mentor, but still allows for the mentee to get the information that they need.


 

For resources: Inc. & Management Mentors & Flash Mentoring

Qualities to Look For in a Mentor

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A mentor can truly be one of the most valuable assets in your professional life. No matter what level you are at in your career, one can always benefit from having someone more experienced and more connected in their corner. Mentors have been proven to help advance careers, support new ventures, and provide guidance every step along the way. When choosing a mentor, there are a few qualities that you should be looking for.

 

Experience

The entire purpose of building a mentor and mentee relationship, is to create a space where the mentee benefits from the mentor’s experience. Make sure that the mentor you choose has pertinent and appropriate experience, and that their career path or expertise aligns with your career goals.

 

Marc Bombenon – Accountability in Your Mentorship Relationship

Motivational Abilities

A mentor should have the ability to teach you how to be better and more productive. It’s important that you two have great professional chemistry and that they have the tools to motivate you when you’re feeling discouraged or unsure.

 

Network

This is HUGELY important. A good mentor will be able to get you connected with relevant professionals within your industry and beyond. A well connected mentor means you will be guaranteed great introductions, get access to career-relevant events, and be put into the line of sight of thought-leaders in your field.

 

Marc Bombenon – Creating A Mentorship Program At Your Company

Goal Oriented

As a mentee, you will undoubtedly have goals and aspirations of your own. But your mentor should have the ability to hone in on what you want to accomplish and create realistic step-by-step goals that will lead you down the correct path. A great mentor will help you stay focused and provide guidance when goals feel unattainable.

 

Clear Perspective

It’s very important that your mentor bring unbiased opinions to the table. The last thing that you need is someone who will always take your side in a moment of professional (or personal) conflict. You will need someone who is ready to listen to your side of the story and give you appropriate and realistic feedback; they need to be able to tell you when you are wrong.

To see the inspiration for this article, click here.

Building a Mutually Beneficial Mentor-Mentee Relationship

When entering the professional world, having a mentor can be very important. In fact,  a 2012 Dimensional Research survey revealed that mentorship was the number one request by millennials worldwide. 42% of millennials said that when it came time to enter the professional world, they wanted mentors.But can the mentor learn from their mentees as well? It turns out that the mentor-mentee relationship has become mutually beneficial.

To understand the ways the mentor-mentee relationship in changing in today’s society, we must look at how millennials are shifting their focus. While they are strongly enthusiastic about getting mentors, they don’t necessarily want to follow in their mentor’s shoes. It may seem at first pointless to mentor someone who isn’t doing exactly what you want to do. Perhaps this diversity in aspirations is what leads mentors to learn from mentees, too.

Marc Bombenon – Qualities to Look For in a Mentor

But there are more benefits to the mentor-mentee relationship than seeing someone choose their own experience. So what is it that makes mentoring a younger person such a good life experience? And how can we get the most out of the mentor-mentee relationship?

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Of course, it feels rewarding to help another person. But there are more benefits to the mentor-mentee relationship than the satisfaction of lending a helping hand. Mentoring a younger person also gives a mentor insight into the mindset of the younger work force. This allows the professionals in higher up positions to understand more about millennials who are entering the workforce. It also gives the mentor connections to the mentee’s friends and peers. This network of people provides many viable candidates for professions that need to be filled. Companies and individuals will need to hire these young professionals in the next 10 to 15 years in order to stay relevant.

Marc Bombenon – 3 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

One of the most important things to remember when maintaining a mentor-mentee relationship is to keep it professional. Make sure that the friendship does not become one similar to a parent and child. It is important to set expectations and remain constructive. And of course, stay open to learning new information and skills from your mentee.

The younger crop of professionals can also help out their mentors figure out new aspects of the professional world that may be stumping them. For example, millennials are a great source of information on how to manage social media. In the information age, technology is constantly creating new jobs and new professional angles that are necessary to take. A mentor is an enormously helpful person in a young professional’s life. But in an ever changing professional world, mentees can help mentors get ahead in the professional world, too.

How to Find the Perfect Mentor

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Much like finding a friend, finding a mentor isn’t something that you blatantly ask for and then receive. It takes time, relationship building and trust – a reason why many mentorship searches fizzle out before they even truly begin. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t give up on making friends just because it’s “hard.” Instead, you find a new approach and rely on the organic nature of human interaction.

If you want to find that perfect mentor, consider the following points:

Stop thinking of a mentor as a tool you have and instead, think of a mentor as a relationship you nurture. According to Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, “If someone has to ask [can you be my mentor], the answer is probably no.” Mentorship isn’t something you find hanging from the bottom branches of a tree. It’s even more unlikely a stranger will agree to be your mentor if they are a public figure. Take some time actually getting to know people and evaluate your role as a mentee. It isn’t all about what you can take. Find people you know and admire in your office or who you’ve come into contact with at some point in your career. Attend those extracurricular functions and volunteer for difficult projects. You’re bound to run into someone you can look up to.

Marc Bombenon – Creating A Mentorship Program At Your Company

Sometimes, it’s even better to think outside the box. Depending on the skills and qualities you admire, your mentor may not be in your career field. For example, if you’re a young entrepreneur with a tech startup looking for guidance, another successful businessperson or marketing director can offer significant insight even if they aren’t in the tech industry. The act of building a business, marketing it, and nurturing it contains immense knowledge that any beginner can use.

If you have no idea what type of mentor you’re looking for, take a step back and flesh out your needs. Pick a mentor who shares your values or believes in a similar mission. Someone who’s optimistic, straightforward, and encouraging would be your best bet. While you could opt for the bitter, jaded professional with 30+ years experience under their belt, this mentor may not be the best fit for you. Make sure you and your mentor have mutual respect.

Marc Bombenon – 3 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

In most cases, the person you want to mentor you has a million other things they could be doing besides sharing their wealth of knowledge. Because of this, it’s important to be someone who is enjoyable to mentor. Much like you would ask your mentor to be kind, understanding, and reasonable, you have to be the same. Be great at what you do, ask for more responsibility, and give credit where credit is due. Also put yourself in your mentor’s position. If you were them, would you want to mentor you?

The road to finding a mentor isn’t straight and narrow. There are many avenues and exciting ways to connect with someone who can help you when you need it most. Just remember, mentorship is always a two-way street.

3 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

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We all know that reading is essential, yet sometimes, the busier we get, the more responsibilities we obtain, and the longer our work days become, we find it difficult to actually sit down and take some time to read a good book. Perhaps if we alter the way we think about reading, and acknowledge its true value, we can come to understand how reading is truly an investment towards our professional development.

With that said, here are 3 books every professional should read to increase productivity, efficiency, creativity, and problem solving.

How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

If your professional background is in sales or public relations, this is an excellent read. Now, keep in mind, this book was written in the 1930s and lot has changed since then. However, with over 15 million copies sold to date, How to Win Friends and Influence People remains as relevant as ever. According to Dale Carnegie, “Financial success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” Even Warren Buffet has praised Carnegie’s work as “the most successful self-help book of all time.”

Marc Bombenon – Qualities to Look For in a Mentor

#GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso

Who says young women don’t make great business leaders. Sophia Amoruso recounts her story as a college dropout, lost and directionless, she began selling vintage clothes in the lobby of an art school. She eventually built this small eBay shop into the multi-million dollar company Nasty Gal. According to Vanity Fair, “Rather than present a get-rich-quick manual or a list of business tips, Amoruso teaches the innovative and entrepreneurial among us to play to our strengths, learn from our mistakes, and know when to break a few of the traditional rules.”

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Load… And Others Don’t – Jim Collins

What factors contribute to company longevity and growth? How do good, mediocre, or even bad companies prosper? Jim Collins takes a closer look at how good companies turn great and how business owners today can differentiate between which risks to endure and which to avoid.

These three professional development reads will definitely inspire you to put your best foot forward.

How Big Companies Lose Top Employees

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High turnover is never a good sign. High turnover is especially bad when companies begin to lose their best and brightest. LinkedIn recently conducted a study which indicated that 59% of employees seek new career opportunities at smaller establishments. While some top tier companies are wondering why their employees would seek a more intimate setting, and in some instances even a pay cut, the answer may be very clear. Here are 3 reasons your top talent is jumping ship for smaller boats.

1. Talented, experienced employees see through the hype.

After years in a particular industry or niche, most talented employees are going to understand that every day working at any company won’t be filled with sunshine and butterflies. If you’re trying to sell potential or new employees on how amazing it will be for them to work at your company without the slightest mention of daily grit and grind, you’re going to give off the impression that what you’re selling is “too good to be true.” And as our mothers always said, “if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.” Building an employee brand with honesty and transparency has become increasingly important to the modern day worker. Make sure that if you have a particularly large staff that your HR and Marketing teams are on the same page regarding employee brand.

Marc Bombenon – 3 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

2. Gone are the days of the typical 9-5 employee.

Although navigating the job market continues to prove difficult, sophisticated job seekers no longer find a typical 9 to 5 job appealing. They no longer want to simply clock in, stare at the dull grey walls of a cubicle, then clock out at 5. They seek thrill and meaning in their work. This isn’t to say employees necessarily want to work less hours, but more so, they want to truly feel as though they are part of a team. Instead of working “for” and employer, they’d rather work “with” them. Especially with the cost of education constantly rising, even recent graduates want to feel valued for their contributions.

3. Poor Office Culture.

Tying in both concepts of a strong employee brand and collaborative workforce, many employees are seeking companies that provide a fun and engaging office culture. If you think about it, most Americans spend more time at work than they do at home. Because of this, employees are jumping left and right at job opportunities that not only provide strong benefit packages but also perks. This is the main reason talented employees are neglecting corporate jobs for small startups. If a startup cannot offer comparable pay, they usually offer a number of perks ranging from company outings, free gear, unlimited product use, or top of the line technology.

In order to succeed, big business may have to rethink how they treat their top talent.

The Importance of Professional Mentorship

There is a common misconception that mentorship becomes unnecessary shortly after adolescence. In more ways than one, professionals can argue that mentorship can provide significant advantages and connections, as well as plant seeds for future growth. The process of mentorship is often veiled under the guise of “networking,” however, a network connection and a mentor play two very distinct roles. A mentor has the ability to enhance career development in others by sharing perspectives, insights, and experiences. While a network connection is simply another professional one knows in their respective industry, a mentor can foster a stronger relationship in which not only the minute benefits, but also the mentor. If you’re a tenured professional in your field, perhaps you should consider becoming a mentor. Here are a few ways mentors can benefit from and mentorship.

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As a mentor, you have the ability to take on leadership roles you may not otherwise be able to conduct. Perhaps that promotion you’ve been eager to get just hasn’t arrived. Or perhaps you’re simply as a stage in your career that lacks upward mobility and your day-to-day duties have become fairly stagnate. Becoming a mentor allows you to break the monotony, sharpen the leadership skills you’ve taken so long to build, and potentially make a huge impact on someone else’s life. In addition to re-energizing your routine, becoming a mentor will allow you crucial practice coaching in a professional environment. One of the biggest, most common challenges leaders face is how to effectively teach and train another. Mentoring helps you strike a balance between “know-it-all” and knowledgeable; instead of providing unsolicited advice, a minute is eager for guidance.

 

Marc Bombenon – Accountability in Your Mentorship Relationship

In addition to helping someone else by sharing your wealth of knowledge, becoming a mentor can improve your reputation in the industry. Helping others is a sign or true leadership and valued at all levels of an organization. Mentoring proves that you have the ability to work well with others, lead and coach when necessary, and more importantly, it shows that you aren’t fettered by unnecessary competition or desires to constantly best your colleagues. Mentors are often crucial resources and sought after for their immense pool of knowledge.

Think about if you’re in the market to become a mentor today!