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The Promising Opportunities of Mentorship for Women

Mentors can teach us many things. Among those things include how to develop and enhance our professional lives. Each female can benefit from a mentor to teach her how to expand her network, accept herself, and access career satisfaction and success. Mentors can play a fundamental role in what career is chosen and the ultimate direction that is chosen in life. Studies have proven that women with mentors have increased opportunities for success than those who do not. The guidance, direction, and advice of a mentor is effective and can be life-changing for those that may not have been afforded such valuable opportunities in the past.

Personal Benefits

Mentorship, whether it occurs in or out of the workplace, has numerous personal benefits because she will have someone with greater knowledge and experience to turn to. She can be guided through solving a problem or critiquing her work. Mentorship can help an employee feel less isolated at work as well as encourage her to interact more with others, particularly new hires. Mentors can provide tips on career growth and introduce the employee to other professionals.  As the mentee matures within her career growth, a mentor may remain a valued adviser to the mentee.

Mentorship can help in defining career goals. To know where you’d like to go and to be successful; you need to know how to get there. Mentors have vast experience to help you to put a clear plan in action to get there. This vast experience also helps within navigating company policies and work politics. Mentors are valued individuals to turn to who will keep information private and confidential.

Employer Benefits

Employers directly benefit from their employees, including women, receiving mentorship. By offering a mentorship program as a component of your organization’s recruitment and onboarding process then you are sending the signal that the well-being and success of your employees is important and valued. By being invested in your employees’ personal and professional successes, you are conveying that you are willing to go the extra mile for them. An added benefit for employers is that a mentorship program allows new hires to integrate and engage within the organization more quickly, which makes the onboarding process more efficient and effective.

Mentoring empowers employees to reach their full personal and professional development as well as promotes their growth in a strategic and supportive manner, which leads to an increased return on investment per individual. Mentoring motivates and engages top-talent employees, which is important because it is your top talent that provides you with the means to build sustainable methods for talent. A targeted mentoring program that actively motivates and engages its most promising employees, which is an indispensable part of successful workforce planning and succession planning strategy is best.

Mentorship develops employee skills and qualities that remain valuable beyond the duration of the mentoring partnership. Employees in mentoring partnerships develop more competencies that they would like to acquire than those who are not. Mentorship develops leadership skills, teamwork, self-awareness, and the ability to compromise- all of which add value to your employees and your organization.

Formal mentorship programs can help with employee retention because top talent employees thrive at organizations in which they see themselves achieving their career goals and receiving the guidance that they need to grow as professionals and individuals. Mentoring is one of the best methods to confirm that your employees feel supported by your organization.

Mentoring partnerships help employees translate theory into practice as they apply their new knowledge immediately to assignments and projects. These partnerships facilitate direct opportunities for knowledge sharing, which enhances and taps into knowledge capital within an organization. It guarantees that your valuable organizational knowledge is not lost. An effective mentorship program brands your organization as the one who cares about its employees and helps your business continuously attract the best talent for the roles necessary.

How Does Mentorship Benefit Women?

Women oftentimes directly benefit the most from mentorship programs because it contributes most significantly to our employment retention. Oftentimes women indicate that the presence or absence of a supportive mentorship program is what ultimately drives their decision either to remain within their organization or to leave.

Mentorship can teach us to articulate our ambitions. An important factor to our success is that we do not permit our employers to believe that our performance speaks for itself. By doing so, then you are increasing the possibly to miss out on a promotion because you have not stated your ambition and desire for one. Without stating it, you may not be considered for one. Mentorship also breeds accountability through action because mentees learn to take responsibility for their action items and enjoy seeing them fulfilled.

It is also important for women to own their careers. By utilizing mentorship, sponsorship, and coaching we can learn to turn our weaknesses into strengths. Owning our careers is critical to our success. It is important for women to realize their ambitions, weaknesses, and strengths for mentorship to be most effective. Learn how to promote yourself well and understand the gaps within your skills and learn how to correct them. It is also important to expose yourself to different experiences in order not to get too comfortable and to continue to grow.

Mentoring partnerships can be life changing if they are done properly and lead to lifelong success.

A version of the post was first published on Careers in Government.

#WorkTrends Recap: Mentoring: Women Elevating Women

Success in business does not happen alone. Most successful people will tell you that mentorship has played a big part in their journey to the top. Mentorship, whether it occurs in or out of the workplace, has numerous personal benefits, especially for women.

This week on #WorkTrends, we were joined by Valerie Martinelli, previously of the Center for Economic & Policy Development, Inc. She discussed the pros of mentorship and how women in the workplace can develop a support system for elevating the cause of women in the workplace. Valerie also shared the widespread benefits of mentoring programs and how these are important programs for employers to institute into their culture.

Here are some other key points that she shared:

  • Mentors do not need to be older or wiser but the person must be able to give value
  • It should be a give and take relationship when it comes to mentoring
  • Being mentored takes guts. You have to be prepared for what your mentor is giving you.

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here: http://bit.ly/2jfF2Mf

You can also check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Didn’t make it to this week’s #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the podcast and chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). On Jan 18 I will be joined by Igloo Software CEO Dan Latendre to discuss key trends in the digital workplace.

Remember, the TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following our #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members; or check out our Google+ community. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

Photo Credit: Global Sports Mentoring Program Flickr via Compfight cc

#WorkTrends Preview: Mentoring: Women Elevating Women

Mentorship, whether it occurs in or out of the workplace, has numerous personal benefits, especially for women.

Our guest, Valerie Martinelli, previously of the Center for Economic & Policy Development, Inc., will be discussing the pros of mentorship and how women in the workplace can develop a support system for elevating the cause of women in the workplace. Ms. Martinelli will also discuss the widespread benefits of mentoring programs and how these are important programs for employers to institute into their culture. She will discuss her experience and how utilizing mentorship, sponsorship, and coaching can help us learn to turn our weaknesses into strengths and how owning our careers is critical to success.

Join guest Valerie Martinelli and host Meghan M. Biro on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 1pm EST when they discuss this important and timely topic.

Mentoring: Women Elevating Women

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Join Valerie and me on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, Jan 11 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.

Immediately following the podcast, the team invites the TalentCulture community over to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion. We encourage everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the benefits of mentoring?  #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q2: Why do women struggle with finding mentors?  #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q3: How can companies create and support mentoring in the workplace? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Don’t want to wait until next Wednesday to join the conversation? You don’t have to. I invite you to check out the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and our TalentCulture G+ community. Share your questions, ideas and opinions with our awesome community any time. See you there!

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

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Photo Credit: Ars Electronica Flickr via Compfight cc

#WorkTrends Recap: Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

Today’s #WorkTrends show addressed the risks and rewards of mentoring, identified some of the reasons mentoring is disappearing, and explored how to reintroduce these important business relationships.

There are a myriad of benefits to well-designed and well-executed mentoring relationships in the workplace. However, it appears that the practice of mentoring is starting to taper off and, in some cases, disappear altogether.

Along with our knowledgeable guests Jonathan Segal, a partner in Duane Morris’ Employment Group, and Sue Meisinger, a consultant and speaker on HR leadership issues, we also discussed:

  1. What exactly mentoring is (as well as what it isn’t)
  2. The importance of mentoring to the business as a whole
  3. How to maximize the value of cross-gender mentoring and minimize the potential legal risks

It was a lively #WorkTrends podcast and Twitter conversation. Participants had a lot to share about their thoughts and personal experiences with formal and informal mentoring relationships.

Want to learn more? Listen to the recording and check out the highlights below:

The TalentCulture #WorkTrends Show is all new on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT). Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Host Meghan M. Biro, as she talks with author and keynote speaker Ben Fanning about how to turn your current job into one you love.

Join our social communities and stay up-to-date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #WorkTrends Twitter stream, in our LinkedIn group and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

#WorkTrends Preview: Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

There are a myriad of benefits to well-designed and well-executed mentoring relationships in the workplace. However, it appears that the practice of mentoring is starting to taper off and, in some cases, disappear altogether. During this upcoming #WorkTrends conversation, we’ll discuss the risks and rewards of mentoring, identify some of the reasons mentoring is disappearing, and explore how to reintroduce these important business relationships.

Along with our knowledgeable guests Jonathan Segal, a partner in Duane Morris’ Employment Group, and Sue Meisinger, a consultant and speaker on HR leadership issues, some of the things we’ll discuss include:

  1. What exactly mentoring is (as well as what it isn’t)
  2. The importance of mentoring to the business as a whole
  3. How to maximize the value of cross-gender mentoring and minimize the potential legal risks

#WorkTrends Event: Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Tune in to our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, March 23 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Host Meghan M. Biro as she talks about where all the mentors have gone.

#WorkTrends on Twitter — Wednesday, March 23 — 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the benefits of traditional workplace mentors? #WorkTrends  (Tweet the question)

Q2: What are the benefits of reverse mentoring?#WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Q3: How can companies easily develop effective mentoring programs? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. Feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

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Mentorship and the Future of Work

The American workplace is changing at a revolutionary pace and when it comes to the future of work, mentorship will no doubt play an important role.

Half of the full-time workforce is projected to be remote employees working from home either full or part time by 2020. In addition, the average American worker now spends only 4.5 years at one job–and that number is even less for Millennials.

Simply put, there’s a new future of work coming…one that looks significantly different than even a decade ago. Studies show that close to 80 percent of college students and recent grads rank people and culture fit as a top priority, and career potential as a close second.

In that environment, nurturing, inspiring, and developing employees will be even more critical, and mentorship is a key part of the equation. Companies that think carefully about how to foster and create mentorship opportunities will be more likely to retain the very best talent, while letting go of employees that aren’t self-directed and motivated.

Here are a few ways mentorship is changing, and how you can endeavor to modify the thinking within your organization to help embrace the shift:

Be Open About Negotiating How a Mentorship will be Set Up

In the more traditional workplace, a manager or boss would assess where a potential employee might go with their career and provide mentorship accordingly, with a direction that the manager set.

But as Millennial and Generation Z employees navigate career paths that look much different than they did 10 or 20 years ago, they need more options, and they want to be heavily involved. Encouraging them to define their own future skill set and providing them a variety of ways of getting professional development and feedback is critical.

Develop and Welcome a Workflow for Mentorship that Goes in Both Directions

Traditional conceptions of mentorship included the experienced boss and inexperienced employees, whom the boss groomed for promotion. Mentorship was one direction, and the mentee was expected to listen and absorb the mentor’s expertise and experience. As employees are becoming entrepreneurial in nature, this is changing; hierarchies are breaking down, and expected timelines for promotion are shortening.

While it can be unnerving, there are plenty of reasons to welcome this. Brad Feld, who has been an entrepreneur and investor for 20+ years, sees that change as one of the most gratifying parts of his life

“When I reflect on my best mentors, they are very long term relationships where I hope they’ve now gotten as much from me as I’ve gotten from them. I call this “peer mentoring” and – while it can start as an equal relationship, it’s magical when it evolves from a mentor – mentee relationship.”

Embrace a Learning-by-Teaching Approach

The apprenticeship model has always been part of the workplace, but it’s even more critical in the changing environment of remote work and faster, more self-driven career development.

With younger employees expected to get up to speed even more quickly, and without traditional in-office training, one of the things that a smart company can focus on is encouraging a culture where there is more mentorship in smaller bites, and where the model for learning is also a model for teaching.

Rather than lengthy sessions a few times a year or when a crisis arrives, setting up a mini-class with a mentor, for example, can be an effective way to quickly engage employees. Once they’ve acquired the information, having them in turn engage in quick working sessions with their peers fosters a model of continuous learning, and bi-directional mentorship.

Encourage employees to embrace their whole identity, but draw clear lines

Part of the reason so many Millennials look for a work culture fit is that they have a different expectation than previous generations about what role work should play in their lives. Many Millennials are looking for a different kind of relationship, one where their whole identity is embraced, where they are seen and respected for both their work and individual pursuits and passions.

Ultimately, mentorship will not disappear (as some have suggested). Mentorship will most definitely play a role in the future of work; Millennials want mentorship and talk about it often. Mentorship will, however, continue to shift into a mutually-respectful agreement that evolves by way of negotiation between employers and employees about what is important and how an employee’s goals can align with company goals. The monolithic giants will fight it, and lose the battle, while smart, nimble companies will embrace the changes and create an environment where employees not only learn and grow, but stick around to help the company do the same.

This article was originally published on MillennialCEO  on 10/20/2015
photo credit: Learn via photopin (license)

Surviving the Gig Economy: When your Talent Pool Refuses to Stay Put

If the last decade has taught us something, it’s that we will live in a world that continues to disrupt. It is impacting how people behave, how they consume information and how business should operate, as a result.

The economy that, in years’ past, has been the fortress of stability, is now as predictable as tomorrow’s stock market. This has spawned a domino effect concurrent with the introduction of technologies that give rise to the fickle consumer, and now…. the ever growing nomadic workforce.

The one certainty we have today is change. Companies are changing because they have to.

Nothing is what it was supposed to be. Careers that should have been launched from years of hard work and education are now relegated to a series of opportunities indicative of a more entrepreneurial economy.

The Guardian says this

Today, more and more of us choose, instead, to make our living working gigs rather than full time. To the optimists, it promises a future of empowered entrepreneurs and boundless innovation. To the naysayers, it portends a dystopian future of disenfranchised workers hunting for their next wedge of piecework.

In our latest Blended Generation Think Tank, our panellists of Boomers, GenXers and Millennials agreed that loyalty to any one company does not exist today. It is, for all intents and purposes, a “false promise”.

With the number of Millennials now becoming an increasing majority in the work force, they want to make a difference. While money is initial motivator, it is merely table stakes. Here is how some of our Millennials put it:
millennials-for-unilever_1439255127970_block_13
For GenXers and Boomers, who have lived through this turmoil multiple times, Doug Haslam said it best:

I never thought of 3 years or job impermanence as a fear, but an expectation

For many companies, the expectation of large budgets, a stable workforce are no longer realities.

For our Millennials, here’s how they see their ‘careers’ progressing:

  • Earning every dollar  keeps you on your toes. You have to keep “being good” at what you’re doing to remain in the company. GenY refuses to be “this” vulnerable to any organization, and instead be more in control of their destiny.
  • The concept of rising through the ranks has become less about climbing the corporate ladder. It’s no longer linear  but a longer path that means more lateral movements over time.
  • Competing for work means picking up new skills with each new opportunity and becoming a jack-of-all-trades.
  • Continuous learning to remain relevant and marketable is now an expectation.
  • Working for any one company is not enough. This highly-networked generation will always explore “side-hustle” passion projects.

Startups realize the expectation of change is expected and embraced. People, in the new economy, will move from one opportunity to another.

There is this growing desire to have control over one’s fate. No longer does anyone want their destiny decided by a corporation, which has proven time and time again it ONLY looks after its own interests and that of its shareholders… at least, that is how the employee perceives it.

One thing that is clear: people are loyal to people NOT to corporations.

If you are a manager, your job is to support the company initiatives but you have a greater responsibility to the employees you manage. One of our wise Boomers said it best

Other than my commitment to help the company do what I can under the circumstances it is facing, the only commitment I have can make it is to the employee through coaching, managing, training and respecting and nurturing their abilities… One thing I tell those I manage: You will be better going out than coming in.

~Steve Dodd

What’s under a manager’s control is to create an environment that allows employees opportunities to contribute and feel part of “something” while they are there. The investment in talent means the following:

  • Lead by inspiration, not by job function or process.
  • Creativity and ideas should come from everywhere, and not dictated by job description.
  • Trust your employees. Have faith in their abilities. There is a reason they were hired.
  • Give employees a stake in the outcome. Give them ownership and recognize their successes and contributions informally and formally.
  • For Millennials, constant feedback is appreciated. It’s what they’re accustomed to and how they learn.
  • Find ways to take people outside what they are doing and comfortably stretch them into other areas.

In other words,

Put the people first. Develop them in ways that are meaningful for them.

Let’s face it, the new work environment cannot guarantee it can retain the best employees. However, developing an employee-centric culture allows a company to increase productivity, sustain awesome employees longer, and attract top talent in the process.