The Value of Mentorship in Any Career
“Seek out a mentor,” you hear when you’re a student or just starting out. “Maybe a mentor could help,” you’re told when you’re facing your first leadership challenge. “It’s time to give back,” you’re counseled when you’ve built wisdom and experience.
Mentoring matters, and it can help you at any point in your career. Not everyone taps this valuable resource. A recent study asked more than 3,000 employees at companies nationwide about their experience with mentorship. Just more than half (56%) of respondents reported having a mentor, which means 44% had never had a professional mentor of any kind.
Career value of mentorship
A mentor gives you someone to look up to, to ask advice, and to count on for feedback in decision-making and performance. And the value of mentorship to career development is clear. Mentorship helps to:
- Advance knowledge. Both mentor and mentee can gain knowledge, learn new skills and develop perspective through a mentorship relationship.
- Build leadership skills. Mentorship can give you an opportunity to learn to oversee people and give guidance effectively, which can benefit you as you accrue responsibility while your career advances.
- Build your network. Whether you are the mentor or mentee, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people and grow your professional and personal network.
Formal vs. informal mentorship
A mentoring relationship can take many forms and is often shaped by both mentee and mentor. According to the study mentioned above, the average length of a mentorship is 3.3 years, and more than 80% of mentees say their mentor would identify the relationship as a formal mentorship. Informal memberships, though, are just as prevalent and valuable.
Seeking a mentor
If you are a mentee seeking a mentor, you’ll want a match -who will bring out the best in both of you. Potential sources include your workplace, membership organizations like DallasHR, your alumni network, and contacts you might meet through volunteer opportunities. Keep these in mind:
- Be clear on what you would like from the mentor-mentee relationship.
- Look for a mentor who has a passion for their specialty area, their career in HR, or for membership in an organization like DallasHR.
- Seek out a potential mentor who values ongoing learning and growth.
Serving as a mentor
When asked to be a mentor, it’s important you lay the foundation for a solid relationship with your mentee. In addition to having a supportive, positive outlook, you should be willing to invest time in-person, over the phone, and/or over email with your mentee. You should also be:
- Willing to share insights and advice
- A positive role model
- Responsive with your communication
Prior to meeting with your mentee for the first time, you might consider asking him or her for the top three things they would like to focus on. This allows your mentee to feel heard and to shape the relationship with you.
Mentorship opportunities with DallasHR
Mentorship is part of our strategy of engaging members, and so we offer several opportunities for mentoring.
Our Mentor Match program allows members serve as mentors in three categories: students taking classes to become HR professionals, . professionals new to the HR field, and new members joining DallasHR to help newbies get the most out of their membership.
If you have an interest in becoming a mentor, you must be a member of DallasHR. Reach out to email@example.com to be connected through our mentorship matching platform.
DallasHR is the third largest SHRM affiliate chapter in the nation. With more than 2,300 engaged HR professionals, the Chapter has been Advancing the Value of HR since 1939 through cutting-edge education, fun networking events and opportunities to share best practices with others in the field of HR. The Chapter powers The HRSouthwest Conference, one of the largest regional HR events in the U.S. hosting more than 2,400 attendees in Fort Worth annually. DallasHR events are held in both Dallas and Collin Counties. Visit us at dallashr.org to join or hrsouthwest.com to register and follow us at #DALLASHR, #HRSWC.