New Year, New You: How Mentoring Can Benefit Your CareerBy Dr. Felicia L. Townsend | January 20, 2020 << Back to Articles
Are you ready to boost your career this year? Considering January is National Mentoring Month, it’s a great opportunity to utilize a tried and true professional growth tool: mentoring. Professional mentoring connects an experienced person (the mentor) with another (the mentee) to work together and enhance the mentee’s knowledge and skillset.
Establishing a professional mentorship with someone in the industry not only helps you make key connections, but encourages you to learn new skills and tackle your career goals in a mindful way. Choosing to become a mentor can also make an impact on your career by supporting the industry and promoting diversity and inclusion by ensuring everyone has access to career advancing resources.
Studies show that mentoring can lead to career success in the form of promotions, raises, new opportunities, professional recognition and much more. In fact, mentees are promoted five times more often than those not in a program, and 78% of people benefit from having a mentor to help develop their leadership skills. Mentees can range from having little to no experience, extending up to senior leaders. Learning and developing your professional skillset is a lifelong journey, and there’s no specific age or requirement that needs to be met.
If you’re interested in finding a mentor, it’s important to identify the following:
- Top three skills you’d like to work on. Whether you’d like to improve your networking skills or master new sales tactics or become a stronger leader, you should have a solid understanding of the areas you’d like your mentor to help you enhance. After all, these skillsets will help determine which mentor is right for you, as a perfect mentor should excel in the areas you’d like to learn more about.
- Your preferred communication method. Some people prefer email, others like to connect one-on-one over a cup of coffee. Determine how you’d like to meet with your mentor and how often. If meeting in person is important to you, you should look at mentors located near you and be upfront about how often you’d prefer to meet once matched with a mentor.
- How much time you can commit. Mentoring isn’t just a side project, it requires time and effort from both parties involved. Ideally, it’s great to have a few hours each week to dedicate to speaking with your mentor, preparing topics and questions for discussion, and working on projects that contribute to your mentorship. However, everyone has different schedules so it’s critical to understand your time commitment from the very beginning and make sure that your mentor aligns with your needs.
Another key factor for a successful mentorship is to keep an open mind and take a proactive role. Remaining honest and upfront about expectations and where you’d like to be at the end of the mentorship or by a certain point in your career will not only help you keep track of your progress, but can also help your mentor provide you with the best tools and advice.
There are numerous professionals within the jansan industry who have a wealth of knowledge to give back to those just starting out. Joining a mentoring program to share your skillset, experiences, and wisdom is one of the best ways to ensure the industry continues to innovate and grow. With newer generations ready to enhance their portfolio and advance their careers, it’s a great time to become a mentor. In fact, six in 10 Millennials benefit from having someone to turn to for advice, or who helps develop their leadership skills.
Becoming a mentor can help you develop your own critical thinking skills and network. It can also improve your leadership skills and promote positive change. Although the workplace has changed over the years, universal challenges will always remain present. Experienced professionals can help new employees learn to think critically and solve problems quickly.
Organizations that utilize mentoring see higher levels of employee engagement, retention, and teamwork. Without mentors, young professionals may not have access to the tools required to advance in their career, potentially encouraging them to quit and seek different career paths. In an industry that has an average annual turnover rate of 200%, it’s critical to take steps toward improving retention and attracting new talent. Whether a business implements its own mentoring program or uses a public program, leaders can help their staff connect with one another and move up the corporate ladder.
Whether you’re interested in becoming a mentor, mentee, or both, the professional cleaning industry has a dedicated mentoring program through the ISSA Hygieia Network. The association is on a mission to advance and retain women in the industry, and one of its key initiatives is connecting industry members through mentoring. From front line supervisors to product developers to innovative CEOs, its mentoring program has hundreds of members and has facilitated numerous successful mentorships.
Live up to your New Year’s resolutions and join the ISSA Hygieia Network mentoring program today at http://mentoring.hygieianetwork.org.
About the Author.
Dr. Felicia L. Townsend is the program director for the ISSA Hygieia Network. She can be reached at [email protected].