All professionals, no matter the industry, utilize outside resources to fulfill specific needs. Whether employees are engaging with personal contacts, industry networking groups, the Internet or management leaders, there is always an underlying professional motivation – to achieve career growth and advancement by properly accessing available tools. These resources provide specific benefits and assist in addressing career challenges, uncovering new industry information, and enhancing personal skill sets, but often employees overlook and neglect the advantages that professional mentoring relationships have to offer.
A mentor can be defined as a source of career guidance and counseling. An untapped resource, mentor relationships have long existed, but in many organizations have yet to be fully incorporated as a critical component of successful career strategies. Establishing a solid mentor relationship has proven advantageous for both the organization and the individual, so consider the following benefits that mentors have to offer and encourage your staff to build their own relationships.
Open and honest communication – To avoid a tense working environment, straightforward dialogue among coworkers is often avoided. But if the majority of mentors reside outside the company walls, employees can feel comfortable being honest and frank about their experiences, struggles and concerns, and mentors can provide sincere feedback without becoming involved in office politics.
Network Expansion – Mentoring relationships aren’t solely focused on conversation. Often mentors open windows of opportunity by connecting mentees to their own professional networks. With new exposure, employees broaden their industry connections, bring recognition and awareness to the company brand, and provide the organization with additional connections and business contacts.
Outside perspectives – Relationships that are not directly involved within the heart of an organization help provide a clear point of view. As a sounding board for direction, mentors can support, counsel and provide clarification for employees from a third-party perspective.
Healthy workplace culture – With a fresh perspective, employees return to the job with a better insight and understanding of work-related issues and how they individually function within the overall goals of the company. This outlook inevitably benefits the organization at large by promoting a stronger commitment and increase in productivity levels.
Bridging the gap – Miscommunication is bound to occur in the workforce, and often happens between the generational gaps. With the communication, trust and insight that come from mentoring relationships, the gap of communication can be closed and replaced with an improved understanding among employees.
Have you experienced the benefits of serving as a mentor? Are you a young professional seeking career guidance and support? Tell us about your experiences.
For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.